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By midlandsmovies, Mar 17 2019 10:21AM



Midlands Spotlight - Leicester Horror Con


With stalls, guests, talks, screenings, cosplay and more, a new event heads to Leicester this summer covering all things strange, spooky and scary in the form of Leicester Horror Con 2019.


Taking place on Saturday 22nd June from 11am to 5pm the event will be held at the suitably historical and ghostly Guildhall in Leicester.


With five reported ghosts, the Guildhall is reputedly Leicester's most haunted building and has appeared on the television show Most Haunted.


One of the highlights of the convention is their "Dark Market". Here, the UK’s best horror traders will be in attendance selling artwork, posters, toys, comics, books, DVDs/Blu-Rays and more.


In addition, there will be guests, screenings and an evening event and the day will be a chance for attendees to meet fellow horror fans, buy merchandise from vendors and learn more about the genre everyone loves.


Leicester Horror Con is being organised by horror film fan Nathan Leverton who has run a number of events in Leicester which includes Leicester Comic Con in the city’s Silver Arcade and a Challenge Charity Boxing at the Morningside Arena.


A slight warning - it is likely material on display will not be suitable for minors and whilst Under 10s can go free, they must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.


For everyone else, the tickets re limited but provide attendees with a wristband that gains them entry to the "Dark Market" at The Guildhall, as well as screenings, talks and discounts at participating venues. Please note, it does not include entry to any evening shows at venues after the convention ends at 5pm.


Tickets are a suitably priced £6.66 and an be bought at Eventbrite here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-horror-con-2019-tickets-57705160689


For more information - and with updates on traders, timings and further guests then please check out the event's social media pages on the links below:


www.instagram.com/leicesterhorrorcon

www.facebook.com/LeicesterHorrorCon




By midlandsmovies, Sep 14 2017 11:14AM



Flickerama - A film festival, that's an actual festival!


Flickerama is taking film festivals to a whole new level, bringing the vibe of a summer outdoor festival and making it all about movies. Think a mini-Glastonbury that's all about film. 


Regional film fans will be able to enjoy films on a large outdoor Arena Screen or in the comfort of a specially designed indoor marquee with three fantastic film events taking place over one weekend.


Over 15th, 16th & 17th September you can head to Umberslade Farm Park, just 30 minutes from Birmingham and be "transported to a film paradise".


With three unique events over the three days, there are indoor and outdoor screenings (with rain protection!), 16 classic films, two Labyrinth Masquerade Balls, Harry Potter After Party with Alex Baker (Magic Radio/Kerrang), a Quidditch Tournament and more!


There will also be the Ghostbusters car, a Kids Make & Take Craft Tent, Kids & Adult Cosplay (win a private cinema screening!), a Back To The Future Exhibition, Film Poster Sale, Conjurer's Kitchen, Kids outdoor games.


And that's not all! Other attractions are the Big Grey circus performer, Film themed Mini-Golf, Forza 6 Hotlap Tournament, Minecraft Creative competition. Phew!

 

The organiser's claim there is "something for everyone" and boy are they right!


For further info please click here http://flickerama.co.uk and check the film screening listings below:


FLICKERAMA - LABYRINTH MASQUERADE BALL:

15th September - DOORS OPEN 7PM

7.30pm Themed cocktail reception

8.30pm Labyrinth (U)

10.30pm Labyrinth Masquerade Ball


FLICKERAMA - CULT AND COMIC DAY:

Saturday 16th September - DOORS OPEN 11.30AM

OUTDOOR SCREEN

12.15pm Guardians Of The Galaxy(12A)

2.45pm Edward Scissorhands (12A) 100 mins

5.15pm Ghostbusters (12A) 103 mins

8pm Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone (PG) 150 mins


INDOOR SCREEN

12.30 Adam West Tribute - Batman: The Movie 1966 (U) 103 mins

3pm Amaryllis (15) TBC mins

5:30pm Deadpool (15) 104 mins

7:15pm Adult cosplay competition

8:30pm The Room (18) 99 mins


FLICKERAMA - FAMILY FILM DAY:

Sunday 17th September - DOORS OPEN 11.30AM

OUTDOOR SCREEN

12.30pm Safety Last (U) 76 mins

2pm Frozen singalong (PG) 108 mins

4.15pm Kids cosplay competition

4.45pm The Goonies (12A) 113 mins

7pm Back to the Future (PG) 115 mins


INDOOR SCREEN

12.45pm The Lego Batman Movie (1h 45m)

3pm Matilda (PG) 94 mins

5pm Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (U) 96 mins

7.30pm Labyrinth (U) 98 mins

By midlandsmovies, Jun 5 2017 09:57AM



Editor Mike Sales decides to go “full cosplay” and leaves his post as Midlands Movies Editor to play Stormtrooper TK-421 in his third visit to one of Leicester’s most successful comic and film events of the year...


Could it be a hat-trick of successful events for Comic Con Leicester?


Well, at first glance it sure was. With a sold-out weekend of exciting entertainment ahead, CCL has grown year on year and organisers Gavin Lee-Pate and Richard Tewkesbury have set such high standards during the previous 2 years (see our 2015 and 2016 reports) that expectations were high.


But from the outset they showed why their event is one of the hottest tickets in town with a whole host of artists, stalls, film fans, cosplayers and shop stands included within the magnificent Athena venue. We said before, but will say again to those new, that this unique venue used to be the city’s Odeon cinema and its tiered balconies give this event a special cinematic flavour. It results in having much more character that is far removed from the huge impersonal arenas of larger Comic Cons.



So, what were the differences and highlights of this year? First up, I decided to experience going in my first ever full cosplay outfit to truly understand the nature of these events from a fan perspective. Kindly, film music composer, DJ and my very good friend Damon Baxter (aka the ‘Deadly Avenger’) suggested I get fully kitted in his professional Stormtrooper costume. www.deadlyavenger.co.uk


“It was made by the original guy from the 1977 moulds”, he had glee in telling me, “but you basically cannot move in it, stairs are almost a no-no and wear as little as possible underneath as you will sweat. A lot”.


The rumours of on-set fainting were soon too easy to understand as I stepped into a black ‘onesie’ before Damon helped strapped the plastic armour plating to my limbs. And yes, it does take 2 people to get dressed properly!


So, now it had been removed from the mannequin and was fully on my 6-foot frame we walked (waddled) round the corner to Leicester's Cultural Quarter to enter the show. Beforehand, Damon and I had broadcast two Facebook Live videos as we were also planning to handout some Star Wars related goodie bags throughout the day as a thank you to the attendees and our followers over the years.


Click here to see the first two Facebook live videos:

1. Mike & Damon on the floor (apologies for portrait issue)

2. Stormtrooper Mike about to enter



Once at the entrance , the organisers had arranged for a Jurassic Park jeep plus a great dinosaur model that actually moved when someone got inside it, which ‘welcomed’ the attendees to the event. Outside with the sun shining and the soaring John Williams score in the background, it was therefore made a pleasurable place to relax as well, when the event crowds became busy. And it gave a suitable area for socialising and photography too.




Now inside, me (in my outfit) felt right at home with a Star Wars droid display and full-size (!) Jabba the Hut model. This had a constant stream of fans lying next to him whilst giving their best Princess Leia reclining pose. Upstairs was a speeder bike and we both just had to have a go on that of course as well.





One of our first stops was with artist Ryan Button of RB Illustrations. His third time at the event too, his local film-inspired art (and images from our own MM event posters) have always gone down well with fans looking for a retro-infused poster, card or pin badge. http://rbillustration.com




Next to Ryan was Rob Hill Author who was promoting his book The Bad Movie Bible which celebrated the best of the worst films of all time. With 15 years in post-production working on films such as 28 Days Later, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the Harry Potter series Rob is well placed to understand what makes a movie bad.


Soon after we were working ourselves along the busy aisles to check the further talent on show. The outfit helped as people (mostly) got out of my way when seeing me – the Empire still flexing its might – but the lack of vision through the small green tinted lenses of the helmet was limiting to say the least.


After a few hours of experiencing the full delights – panels were announced through the day, body painting showed great artistry (and a lot of flesh!) and the retro gaming had queues of children trying to beat Pokemon experts – I decide to take a break from the main arena.




Once outside, the true spirit of the convention was obvious to see. Strangers chatted, people laughed and many photographs were taken. From elaborate Manga costumes to home-made outfits using tape and cardboard, it really didn’t matter what approach people had taken as everyone was relishing the variety of delights on show.




“Are you naked?” I ask one lady who came up to me to ask for a photo. “Mostly”, was her reply, “I’ve got body paint on as part of the Midlands Body Paint Project”. My helmet hid my blushing as we posed for a photo and off she went into the crowd. More seriously however, the body paint project was a true highlight, particularly the brave men and women who wait patiently as talented artists work on their full torsos and beyond. These creatives draw intricate designs which, this year, was mostly amazing Guardians of the Galaxy characters. On day 2, when out of the confines of my costume, I too got more photos with Yondu and Drax, both in an impressive array of multicoloured make-up. www.facebook.com/MidlandsBodypaintProject/




As mentioned, the Stromtrooper experience was great but I headed back to Comic Con on Day 2 in my ‘civvies’ where I was able to speak more freely to many of the excellent artists. Here I witnessed the great local talent and the following were just a small selection of the gifted creatives who attended.


First up, comic artist Chris Sides is the writer of the self-published Dark Matter anthologies and was promoting his soon-to-be-released new graphic novel Impossible, yet we strangely bonded most over our chats about the problems with the Batman V Superman film. www.chrissideswriter.com


Next to Chris (and throwing in his own disapproval of BvS) was writer and creator Jay Martin of YMJ. With a deep love of everything comics, sci-fi and fantasy from an early age it has led him to create stories of his own and he was here with his ALV and Domeinion comics. www.yeahwritejay.co.uk


Up next was Spike Baxter-Gale of Metamorphosis Arts which encompassed his love of all types of art, from photography and illustration to film. With canvases ranging from the Joker to FrankenFurter the simplistic designs were a popular choice amongst the crowd. www.metarts.uk. Attic Studios were once again in attendance also with their trio of artists Dan Harris, Kris Carter & Jim Bampfield. With a variety of styles between them. I was drawn to Harris’ work and even bought a superb postcard of retro icons of the 80s. A prize if you can name all of the below! www.atticstudios.website




Hometown girl and animation student Bianca of BBZ art had a superb portfolio of designs focused on visual development, characters and concepts for animation and storytelling. http://beebeezed.storenvy.com. Eat My Paint artist Lloyd Davies brought a lot of fun to his comic designs as he created beautiful images made solely in Microsoft Paint. His books, stickers and request table helped attract fans with his laugh out loud work. https://tapas.io/series/eatmypaint


Lauren Livesey is talented artist who is “in love with stars, women and dogs” and her fantastic astrological and fairy tale inspired images of strong women and fantasy figures made sure the magic was in full flow throughout the convention. www.laurenlivesey.co.uk. Finally, we also managed to swing by and chat to Phoebe Hancox who specialises in storyboards, characters, posters and prints. Her intricate line drawings had a dark gothic quality incorporating mysterious and sacred symbolism. phoebehancoxillustration.carbonmade.com




Phew! As I said, this was just a small selection we managed to involve ourselves in and there were dozens more talented individuals with an eclectic range of work on show. There was also plenty of stalls selling merchandise and food and it’s safe to say everyone who gave their time worked their hardest to make the community event successful.


Shops and stalls sold everything from retro toys to the obligatory Funko Pops and books. “Look, there’s a great Alien Anthology art book there”, I exclaimed to Damon. “Don’t talk to me about Alien. It’s dead to me now”, he jokes, still reeling from his recent disappointment about the latest instalment Covenant. He won’t let that damn flute go! Ha ha.



As the event came to a close we again ran into Gavin (one of the organisers) and he looked the calmest I’d ever seen him. A man of few words, he didn’t need to say much in order to show how happy he was with this year’s event. And as someone who ended up sweaty and unable to pee in a Stormtrooper costume, I couldn’t have been happier myself. It was an absolute pleasure to see the faces on those who came up to me to grab a photo, and from 5 to 50, the diverse range of joyful fans in attendance was testament to the professionalism and experience of this now faultless event.


Midlands Movies Mike


To see all the photos from the weekend please click here for the photo album


Check out the Facebook Live videos from Day 2:

DAY 2 Intro https://www.facebook.com/midlandsmovies/videos/2042242582676859/

Day 2 Comic Con: https://www.facebook.com/midlandsmovies/videos/2042257519342032/

Day 2 (part 2): https://www.facebook.com/midlandsmovies/videos/2042258836008567/








By midlandsmovies, Apr 2 2017 04:55PM



Midlands Movies Mike heads to The Warriors UK Conclave Event in Birmingham.


About ten to fifteen years ago I was in London one night with my good friend Ralph Sinclair when, after a heavy night out, we grabbed some dirty takeaway and headed back to his flat to see out the night. “Have you seen this?” he asked as he held up a DVD copy of The Warriors. “No”, I replied and he shoved it in the player.


Well, 90 minutes later and I had found one of my favourite cult films of all time. Maybe because we had staggered our own way back across London but Walter Hill’s 1979 classic will always have a special place in my heart.


And I’m not the only one by any means. The film is loved by fans all over the globe and is one of the few films (not yet) saddled with a “modern” remake or reboot. With this worldwide affection, it was therefore great to see that the cast were heading to the Midlands for a convention in Birmingham.


Organised by Victor Wright of UK Conclave, a local fan-group, the event was scheduled to start on April 1st and this was no joke.


So I decided to head down. And who should come with me? None other than the kind friend who introduced me to the film in the first place. Grabbing my partner in crime Ralph Sinclair, we met at Birmingham’s Bullring before navigating the short bus ride out to Edgbaston cricket stadium for the event.


The cricket ground was slightly a strange location but its large function rooms provided much space for the attendees and from the outset the fans gathered. Maybe cricket aficionados at the ground could taunt certain visitors with “Warwickshire – come out to play-ay!!” Joking aside, we got there early around 10am and after sorting tickets we entered the venue to see what was on offer.




Even though the doors had been open for a mere hour the friendly and helpful crew informed us that the Warriors jackets merchandise had already sold out. Already sold out? It was 10am! And as we walked in we could see why. The Warriors fans are obsessed and I’m proud to be one of them. It feels like you’re in an underground gang and like Ralph did to me all those years ago, you only show the film to those you trust and think would like it.


After a walk around we saw the main cast which included Michael Beck (Swan), Dorsey Wright (Cleon), David Harris (Cochise), Thomas Waites (Fox), Terence Michos (Vermin), Brian Tyler (Snow), Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Mercy) and Kondrad Sheehan (from The Punks – the roller-skating gang). I went to speak to the organiser Vic who was a difficult man to track down. Being the fan I am a decided to buy a t-shirt. The guy who sold me it was incredibly passionate about the event, explaining that fans from all over Europe had been here. I thanked him and later find out the man is none other than Vic himself!


So how did such an event come to be I asked?


“Well, I was at another convention and met Michael Beck. He kindly signed my collections of Warriors comics”, explains Vic. “We got chatting and stayed in touch and after years of planning various events myself, I spoke to him about the possibility of a get together in England. This was their first ever visit as a group and I was inspired by their recent reunion in Coney Island in 2015.”


The lines for signatures and photos were long but moved swiftly and those sold-out jackets were getting a pummelling from the stars’ pens. As we moved around the convention there were plenty of stalls, fans and cosplayers enjoying all the delights. From cupcakes to posters, the event even had a smattering of people getting the Warriors logo as a tattoo! We watched as one fan headed to http://www.bigwillstattoos.co.uk (based locally in Lichfield) to get the wings added to his back. A huge fan indeed!




The costumes were great and Vic had secured original Warriors vests used in the movie as well as a selection of original, foreign and alternative posters designed for the movie’s promotion, anniversaries and by fan artists as well. The crowd had their own costumes and not just Warriors wannabes too. We saw a Baseball Fury, a couple of folk from the Electric Eliminators (with appropriate yellow jacket and patches) and two brave folk as the purple waistcoat-wearing Boppers. One guy could have been in The Orphans with his green t-shirt and ripped blue jeans but I suspect that was just coincidence. With my hairline I suggested we should have got hold of a motorised cart and gone as the Turnbull ACs but our prep time was short.


What else was there? Well there was a full 2-day programme of sessions and although we couldn’t attend them all we decided to head across to an actor’s workshop hosted by Thomas Waites. The workshop was already underway when we arrived and we entered the room to find all the participants lying on the floor with the lights out. The room was the size of a leisure centre hall and we lay down with them to find out what it was all about. I thought it may have been a mix of tales from the set alongside helpful hints about staying focused, night-shooting and how to approach action. However, Thomas focused more on relaxation techniques and being “at one” with yourself. As the participants fed back their experience of his meditation technique, the “cult circle” he had created was certainly one of the weirder experiences of the day.


Funnily enough we later saw him practising the same meditation techniques at his signature stand. We noticed his head popping out from behind his desk as he lay on the floor with his eyes closed. Certainly an eccentric character, it should be noted that this is the actor who fell out so badly with the director he was booted off the film. He’s certainly calmer today, that’s for sure!


During a break, we returned to the stalls and Ralph decided to experience the “3-D Parrot” – a company that scans your body and creates a lifelike statuette of yourself. After stepping into what looked like a time-displacement chamber from Quantum Leap, Ralph returned to find a perfect model of himself captured in 3 dimensions. Taking a few weeks to render the model in sandstone, Ralph suggested that when he got his miniature model he could recreate a scene from Honey I Shrunk the Kids.




But the highlight of day 1 were the panel sessions. This first hour-long talk included Michael Back, Terry Michos and Brian Tyler with the audience getting to hear some behind-the-scenes trivia and stories not shared in public before.


Michael Beck explained how extras in the large conclave gathering scene were often bored by the constant waiting around and often failed to show up on later nights. Filming at 1am with long periods between set ups, the gangs looked different from night to night so to maintain consistency, the film company offered regulars the chance to win prizes through a raffle if they kept showing up. He added he wasn’t sure that any of them were actually handed out though! Beck continued by saying he enjoyed filming the fight scenes – especially the bathroom brawl – but the set-ups, as with all movies, were a little time-consuming.



Brian Tyler added that he was adamant there should be no sequel or reboot (which received a HUGE round of applause from the agreeing audience) and after asking what he thought his character would be doing after that night, he joked he would probably have to work in social services.


Beck said he thought Swan and Mercy would be surfers on the West Coast then went on to explain how he came to get the part. After training in London, Beck gave details about how that very un-New York City background meant he couldn’t get an audition for a role. He was described as that “British theatre guy” but the director then came across the film ‘Madman’ in which Beck starred with a little known actress (at the time) called Sigourney Weaver. This fruitful bit of luck then saw him securing the lead role for which he said he was eternally grateful for.




Further trivia included the fact that Mercy wore her hair over her eye during scenes after Beck caught the actress with a baseball bat in one of the scenes in the subway. And not just that, a further injury occurred when the actress then broke her arm. Now you know why she wears the coat in the second half of the film too!


The panel explained that the infamous clinking bottles by was conceived by David Patrick Kelly when the actor saw a man who hung out on the emergency stairs of his apartment block who often berated passer-bys “when he was loaded”. He would clink the bottles on his fingers and the actor believed it would fit perfectly as the Warriors’ villain taunted the film’s heroes.


Finally, Beck’s favourite scene was the subway car sequence when the prom guests get on. “A favourite part of any actor’s career is often when no words are said and that was a joy”.


Terry Michos’ favourite line was Vermin’s “How much longer we gotta wait? We might be here forever, I'm sick of waiting for trains!” and he said his favourite scene was filming with the Lizzies as he “got to spend the day kissing pretty ladies”. However, he hinted it was the “other guys” who got the real off-screen action. We didn’t dare probe further. He also explained his casting which, like Beck, was down to some luck as well after Tony Danza pulled out to film the 70s TV show Taxi. We’re so glad he did!


And with that we headed back to the main hall to chat to some of the locals fans of the film. We met AMK paintings who do cult canvases whilst Mark and John at Future Chronicles were doing Warriors-related photo sessions. An amazing photo-realistic painting of Swan was created by Martyn Rotherham of Square Orange Art and finally we talked writing with horror author Mark Cassell.





And so we departed yet fans were still enjoying everything including more panels, deleted scenes screenings, director’s cut shows, photo sessions and even some singing (!) throughout both days.


On the way home with our energy levels high we discussed Birmingham-based gang names (my best was The Brum Dingers whilst Ralph’s The Aston Villains clearly trumped that) and I can only add a big congratulations to the organisers for getting such a much-loved film and its stars over to the Midlands for people to enjoy.


Many regional fans of the film did indeed come out to play and Cyrus would be proud of the coming together of different people to enjoy the cult classic. Did they dig it? Definitely.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Nov 21 2016 08:26PM

It had been a few years since my last visit to the MCM Comic Con in Birmingham’s NEC arena and after a fantastic time at Leicester’s own independent convention (see here) I decided to see if the event was still as much fun as before.




With new writer Robb Sheppard in tow (@RedBezzle) we met at New Street station where there was already train carriages packed full of the weird and wonderful cosplayers on their way to the event.


As we entered through the snaking queues of people waiting in line for what was sure to be a jam-packed two days, Robb and I dropped off our bags and hit the throngs of comic, film, game and TV fans.





As always, there was an amazing mix of amateur and professionals with stars of film and TV offering a chat and photo and the long lines of eager fans showed that people of all ages couldn’t wait to meet their heroes. One such star was Sam Jones from Flash Gordon who unfortunately had large parts of his voice dubbed for the movie but you could chat to the very much alive Jones in the flesh. Flesh Gordon? No, that’s something entirely different.


Also in the star zone were sci-fi stars and regular convention attendees Chris Barrie (Rimmer) and Danny John Jules (Cat) from Red Dwarf and the sci-fi continued with the amazing Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not quite so famous was American motormouth and auctioneer Sean Kelly from TV’s cult Storage Hunters who is also making his debut in February at the Leicester Comedy Fest.




As we left the celebrity area, Robb and I could hear the (royal) rumblings of two wrestlers from Midlands based www.slamwrestling.co.uk who were diving and suplexing in and out of the ring.


Just near the violent pounding of the ring was the glamour modelling tent strictly for over 18s only. The glamour “Mansion” contained a number of erotic models who were happy to speak to their fans. Given the coy shyness of us Brits, it mostly consisted of groups of lads egging each other on to speak to the scantily clad ladies or a few folk who looked like this was their first time speaking to any woman. Either way, people were having fun and we ran into Anastasia Lux who we found out was also a part-time wrestler! Body slam!




After our access all areas trip around the naughtier side of the convention we returned to the standard stalls which had a mixture of shops, market places, comic artists and writers as well as special exhibits and there was a great display of the bizarre and beautiful. One of the first things to get our attention was the out of the world experience delivered by Sent Into Space. They offer people the chance to create your own space mission by sending up everything from family heirlooms to toys into space where they reach the edge of the atmosphere before falling safely back to earth. http://sentintospace.com


Another unique stall were the Animazombs who are a collection of soft animal toys with various zombie related problems. This great crowdfunded group have everything from Wilson the Giraffe whose insides come spilling out to Victor Rabbit who is part zombie and part carrot! One for the dark kids out there but great fun nonetheless! http://www.animazombs.com


Unit 13 Originals specialise in movie inspired products and t-shirts whilst Astutia Amacus produced monogrammed cups and unique hand crafted glass wear including Game of Thrones goblets! https://www.facebook.com/astutiaamacus/

As we continued to wander around, the over abundance of Deadpools and Harley Quinns was really quite astounding but the friendly folk at Crackerjack Cosplay stole the show with their Boba Fett inspired designs. Check these new faces on the block at www.facebook.com/crackerjackcosplay



My love for Burton’s Batman has been explored before on this blog and we came across two of my favourite costumes from the convention with spot-on recreations (and look-a-likes) of Michael Keaton’s Batman and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. Miaow! Then Robb came across what I thought was a soldier from 300 but he was unsure if it was actually a Marvin the Martian costume. Is this Sparta? The great outfit was in fact inspired by the original and over-the-top stylised Frank Miller comic design.





Mary Jane’s Originals had Robb drooling at the Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead) inspired leather waistcoat and the custom clothing company even allows people to design their own bespoke pieces.


Some great individual talent we came across included artist Nathan J Pegler who draws sci-fi landscapes in pastels whilst Kevin Heasman (Dynomo Doodles) focuses on book illustration, storyboards and more. https://kevinheasman.carbonmade.com Gianluca Bonomo was creating his own graphic novel CCTVYLLE which mixed nature with surveillance technology with great artwork. http://www.cctvylle.com/


A new Star Wars line of replica helmets caught our eye (along with the eye-watering prices) as the classic Vader helmet was showcased with the new DeathTrooper helmet from soon-to-be released Rogue One. Sticking with a glaxy far far away, the lovely folk at R S Prop Masters were raising money for mental health charities by raffling off a Stormtrooper helmet. They didn’t need any help from Sean Kelly as we donated a couple of quid for a great cause and the chance to win a shiny helmet (!)





The Empire-sized Star Wars presence continued as attendees were kept on their toes by roaming groups of Stromtroopers from the UK Garrison who were formed in 2000. As one of the foremost Star Wars costuming groups in the UK, they are also part of the constantly growing 501st Legion, itself the largest costuming organisation in the world. Find more info here www.ukgarrison.co.uk


From Leicester’s Comic Con was Jess Taylor and her Disney storyboard-inspired artwork and we picked up some “Peeps” stickers but strangely we were unable to locate (despite the map) our good friend The Retro Draughtsman. The owner Gavin lives in my block of flats in Leicester but despite multiple circuits we swear his stand wasn’t where the brochure listed it. Gone AWOL! From his pictures, he had another terrific stand showcasing his amazing technical drawings of retro toys so we hope you found him.


Continuing the great artists – what these shows are really about – was N T Productions who create 3-D busts of famous superhero and villains and they can even deliver them unpainted for those brave enough to give them their own paint job. www.nt-productions.com Haydn Gardner is a West Midlands artist with ASD who works with relationships with mental health with his superb acrylic collages. https://messymiscreation.com/


Neil Sambrook of Fly Comics showcased his Warr and Peace comic amongst other titles www.flycomics.co.uk and Nathan Webb of WE66 Illustration was drawing a stormtrooper right before out eyes! https://www.facebook.com/nathanwe66


Finally, Darrens Brick Art displayed a great set of LEGO inspired framed dioramas www.darrensbrickart.com whilst Childish Butt Vomit (Sajan Rai) had the best absent sign of the convention: “Artist on heroin break", which gave us many chuckles.




There was so much to see on Day 1 not even 6 full hours seemed to even scratch the surface in the huge auditorium. We saw a great Steampunk Winter Soldier, a Game of Thrones throne, some folk from the Aliens Marine Garrison and a spot-on Ghostbusters Kate McKinnon cosplayer near the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man head.



The event was rounded off by a day of reckoning from a very big Bane who was as scary as his movie’s inspiration and the only flaw was the photo which was ruined by the presence of my Sainsbury’s bag for life. Robb and I also handed out our own Midlands Movies flyers and a few special goodies to some of our favourite attendees and we hope those had a fantastic day and enjoyed their prizes.





And with that, we left the NEC having enjoyed the home-made costumes, the professional cosplayers, the stars of old and the upcoming talent from the region showing again the Midlands is the place to be for movie fans in the UK.


Midlands Movies Mike


Click here to see the full album of photos from MCM Comic Con in Birmingham



By midlandsmovies, Jun 9 2016 10:41PM

Click here for all photos of the 2016 event on the Midlands Movies Facebook page


Midlands Movies Mike takes a trip to the ever-expanding Comic Con Leicester at the Athena venue in the city’s cultural quarter. With a completely sold-out event, Mike braved the throngs of cosplayers and comic fans for the weekend where the wacky and wonderful sat side-by-side in a showcase of the region’s immense talent.


After last year’s fantastic event (read our report here) it was great to see the event back in the city and even bigger than before. Organisers Gavin-Lee Pate (http://www.theretrodraughtsman.co.uk) and Richard Twekesbury promised even more fun than last year and boy did they deliver.


Rocking up to the Athena venue (an art-deco building previously the Odeon cinema) the joy began with an amazing appearance from Ecto-1, the car from Ghostbusters. As accurate as you could possibly want, the vehicle was a fully kitted out replica with the sirens and the Ghostbusters theme playing in the background and from the amount of happy faces, this slice of the 80s went down great with old and young alike.


With no queues – better than last year – the organisers had staggered attendees and I entered the venue’s foyer and was greeted by a host of Cosplayers from comics, film, gaming and television. Some of the more impressive outfits included a number of authentic Stormtroopers, a couple of Predators (one of which had a Judge Dredd costume so Dredd-ator?) and one boy in a fully accurate Batman V Superman Dark Knight armour outfit – even with light-up eyes. More obscurely, a personal favourite was one guy in a Warriors leather jerkin – something he had made himself which was a cool nod to one of the most enjoyable gangs flicks on the early 80s.


As before, the old cinema lay-out meant that shops were mainly on the lower floor and stall-holders on the tiered balconies which made for a distinctive arrangement but one drawback was the stairs (especially for masked cosplayers) and the unfortunate temperature – again, the heavily costumed attendees would have been sweating like mad. I was, and I just was just dressed in a t-shirt!


So, who were the talent on show? Well, there was both a high quantity of creatives but more importantly and amazing quality and passion amongst them too.


Manga influenced comic studio, Tanra Studios were on hand both days to promote their new join-project Pandora and Nadia and Tara drew a host of commissions over the two days. Check out their work at www.tanrastudios.blogspot.co.uk or on Twitter @Tanra626


Kate Beaumont from www.cosmicmindcomics.tumblr.com were grateful for the water provided by what they called “blue shirts” (a spin on Star Trek and a kind nod to the organising volunteers on the day) and had a fantastic time selling their comic to new readers.


Local Leicester legend Rebecca Mansfield from the 2015 show was again in attendance with her dragon inspired art and prints www.rebeccamansfieldart.com and Dark Pond Creations’ Patrick Scattergood was there to promote his award nominated anthology series Flesh Tones https://sellfy.com/DarkPondCreations


With me being raised in a small town called Walderslade in Kent, it was an interesting chat with Maidstone-based writer Kit Cox who went to school a town over from where we grew up. Kit acknowledged my ‘Godzilla’ t-shirt and who entertained later in the day with a comedic speech on the history of Myths and Monsters. Very apt! www.kitcox.com


Midlands Movies event poster designer and Leicester’s premier artist to the local scene Ryan Button, was there selling fabulous prints of his 80s and sci-fi inspired art. From Transformers to Star Wars via Skeletor and Cybermen, Ryan of RB Illustrations had a steady flow to his stall. Also a storyboard artist for local filmmakers, contact Ryan for film-related commissions and order from his website at http://rbillustration.com


Freelance comic and cartoon artist Tara Washington had a range of fantasy and dream-like art www.Chosha-kurenai.deviantart.com and illustrator Alexandra McCarthy had post-con Twitter comments of “best stall there” with a selection of quirky cat art. Lots of awesome cats including one as a “cat-tamer”. http://1-in-100.co.uk. Jess Taylor was nearby and is an illustrator inspired by Disney concept and storyboard art and check out her amazing designs at http://jesstarts.tumblr.com/ whilst another 2015 alumni, animator Thomas Crook, was promoting his current cartoons.


Also from 2015’s con, David “We were wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts last year” Millgate was back and this time with his new comic “Jackboot & Ironheel” – soon to be available via Forbidden Planet. David even had his mum looking after his stall at one point and I purchased an amazing signed Kylo Ren poster print from the Blaby based artist who designs on a wide range of topics including Star Wars and 2000AD. Follow David on Twitter here https://twitter.com/DavidMillgate


Tom Hodge aka The Dude Designs is now back in Leicester after a stint in LA and his 80s VHS-style work has been used for Hobo With a Shotgun, The Innkeepers and Wolf Cop’s official artwork. As well as these wider releases, Tom hasn’t forgotten his roots after designing the poster for Leicester grindhouse feature The Wrong Floor by Roasted films (https://www.facebook.com/TheWrongFloor) and check out his huge selection of posters at his site http://thedudedesigns.com


Leo Gavin of Phisog is a self employed artist whose designs range from film prints to sketchbook doodles. Based in Staffordshire, Leo created this cartoon which I loved and he’s recently moved into digital art involving characters like Deadpool and Harley Quinn.


Artist Sandra Danborg showcased her art inspired by fantasy characters and fictional worlds and told me how she created her first graphic novel by drawing a page a day. She was worried that the final pages were a much better quality than the first but you wouldn’t be able to tell with her unique style and colouring process. www.memorylane.thecomicseries.com


Founded in 2012, Reckless Hero have moved from their t-shirt prints into publishing with their “The Last Sheriff” comic but now have a new book they were promoting called “The Falconer”. The group (Chris Imber, Chris Jenkins and Matthew King) have bonded over music and art for over a decade and are continuing to bring a vivid range of stories to life. Check them at www.recklesshero.com


Death Bugle’s hilarious comics were a joy – originally a story about a death metal band but now encompassing bears, fleas and “hideous flies”. Ha ha! Check their out their clever and peculiar take on the world at www.deathbulge.com whilst Dan Harris promised epic science fiction and more “epic-er” comedy with his action adventure Lou Scannon series (geddit?). As well as that title, the interestingly named “Druid Investigations #1” has now been released as part of the Attic Studios collective. www.atticstudios.website


Another returnee was Wolverhampton University alumni Keith Chan www.keith-chan.co.uk whose comic book art, greeting cards and prints had everything from trouser-eating horses to superhero sketches and basset hounds!


One of the more popular stalls was Sajan Rai whose “Childish B*tt Vomit” comic had free stickers and a chance for you to get yourself drawn as a sloth. Not the one from The Goonies. But an actual sloth. Brocko and Frens was a big hit with the crowds with what can only be described as a dolphin in a leather jacket (Brocko), a polar bear (Barnabus Buggles) and a baby seal (Baby Seal). www.sajanrai.co.uk


Giles Meakin Illustrator focuses on fantasy, horror, murals, storyboards and even portraits and photography. In addition he also does commissions so see if there’s something up your street over at www.gilesmeakin.co.uk


Finally – but most eye-opening-ly – the brave ladies of Midlands Body Paint decided to go mostly natural where a team of talented artists drew comic book designs directly onto their bodies. A risqué show of individualism and empowerment, their network of talented artists, models and photographers took many a breath away but the absence of offense showed the welcoming nature of a diverse crowd. Well done Leicester.


And with a busy two days drawing to a close, the final day encompassed a cosplay show and with everyone tiring from so much fun, the event drew to a satisfying close. A huge congratulation and thank you should be passed to the organisers, attendees, artists, Cosplayers and everyone else who came to Leicester to experience one of the city’s best alternative weekends. Long may it continue.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 11 2015 06:57PM

Comic Con Leicester


Full set of photos from the event courtesy of Jimo Jones are at this link - click here


On Sunday 11the October Midlands Movies Mike headed down to Comic Con Leicester at the city’s cultural quarter where a full day of comic creators, video gaming, movie memorabilia and cosplay costumes descended on the city. Held at the art-deco Athena venue, Midlands Movies joined the (large) crowds to see what fantastical fun could be had...


Entering through Leicester’s Orton Square early in the morning, I was aware that Comic Con Leicester had already sold out such is the explosion in all things that were once considered firmly in the realm of “geek”. Now popular with the mainstream, my local Comic Con already had a snaking queue around the large building and at the entrance was a gull-winged DeLorean from Back to the Future for photo opportunities. So far so good. And the day just got better.


Once inside, the Athena venue covers multiple floors and was once a cinema so has many tiers and balconies. After attending a number of other comic cons that are so often in large and flat arena-style settings, it was hugely refreshing to see the stalls set up across all the levels which meant that even if you were at the back of the auditorium, you were so high up you could still see the stage and lots of people dressed up.


With very welcoming staff and assistants, I wandered through the stalls, gaming zones and zombie make-up artists and was impressed by the range and quality of everyone showcasing their work and skills.


Obviously, Leicester was well represented with illustrator Rachael Smith whose comic The Rabbit has recently be nominated for best book at The British Comic Awards www.rachaelsmith.org At the next stall, Ryan Button who donated a Pan’s Labyrinth print for one of our early competitions showcased his brilliant drawing skills with amazing prints featuring Transformers, Skeletor and Stormtroopers as well as his dabbles as a storyboard artist of local films www.rbillustration.com


Also previously on our site and promoting his latest comedy webisodes was Thomas Crook and his two cartoons www.cheesemen.co.uk & www.afrogoblinandchums.co.uk Another Leicester favourite was “Zombie Ed” from Terror 4 Fun who runs the longest running film festival in the area and was suitably done up in undead make-up scaring the patrons where he could www.terror4fun.com


I was hugely impressed with the film-related poster art of John Pearson who also creates comics and his movie-inspired work can be seen at his website here www.johnjpearson.co.uk I found a musical connection with artist David Millgate whose Iron Maiden t-shirt complimented my own and his 2000AD and Predator artwork showcased the Leicester artist’s talents with paint and brush https://twitter.com/davidmillgate


Also already featured on Midlands Movies, it was great to see Lincolnshire film “The Drift” by Backyard Productions showcasing their successful sci-fi feature. Filmmaker Darren Scales brought along a scale model of one of the spacecraft which showed the passion he and his crew put into creating large ideas on a small budget. Follow the film on Twitter - @bypuk @thedriftmovie


Comic artists were extensively showcased (obvs) and some of the talent included German artist Anja Uhren (http://anja-uhren.blogspot.co.uk) whose art is influenced by her own travels whilst Vanessa J Hill http://vanessajhill.tumblr.com is informed by military, sci-fi, fantasy and more. Keith Chan graduated from the University of Wolverhampton in the Midlands and specialises in cartooning in various mediums and genres (www.keith-chan.co.uk) and artist Verity Hall had a fairy tale aesthetic in her teenage coming of age comics http://www.comicsy.co.uk/midnightmilk


Hoshi-Kou https://www.facebook.com/HKillustrations is inspired by Manga and Japanese woodcut art as well as tattoo design and another artist with Asian influences was Lauren Rowley in her comic Bubblegum girl http://www.laurenrowley.co.uk


More locally, Leicester illustrator Rebecca Mansfield also creates animation which can be seen via Vimeo at http://rebeccamansfieldart.tumblr.com whilst fellow Leicester-based Drew Askew works on storyboards, comic books, children's books and commissioned work. www.inkandbooze.com. Based in Birmingham, Steve Tanner of Time Bomb Comics has been publishing one-shots and graphic novels from historical horror to mind-bending science-fiction since 2007. http://www.timebombcomics.com


Russell Hillman of Freaktown Comics headed down early from Yorkshire with their Deadly Burlesque comic https://www.facebook.com/FreaktownComics and also travelling from further afield were Dead All Over who produce Limited Edition Pop Culture prints from sugar skull designs to zombie-movie crossovers of Darth Maul, Iron Man and Kick Ass. http://www.deadallover.co.uk Artist Richard Rudge from Birmingham showcased his own comics including "Eat Your Heart Out" and "Galactic Scrap Collector" http://richardrudge.daportfolio.com and the unique “The Ever Winter Series” by Tara Behan & Matthew Hill was a children’s adventure story set in a magical kingdom https://theeverwinterseries.wordpress.com


The talent continued with Kayla Gill of Lunaci whose expertise is in bespoke digital illustration and hand-drawn art work www.lunaci.co.uk and Patrick Scattergood of Dark Pond Creations was promoting his Neil Gaiman inspired Flesh Tones and The Meek graphic novels https://www.facebook.com/DarkPondCreations


These (and many more who I didn’t get around to talk to) was just the tip of a huge array of regional and national talents which demonstrated the high level of talent from independent artists, filmmakers and comic creators. And please check out the above links to find out about many of the people and their most recent projects and creations. With hours of entertainment, the full day was tiring but hugely successful and a big thank you should go to the organisers Gavin & Richard who should be very proud of the hard work put in to an entertaining event for all ages.


Midlands Movies Mike


http://www.comicconleicester.co.uk


More photos coming soon courtesy of Midlands Movies and Jim Jones

By midlandsmovies, Sep 7 2014 02:54PM

Midlands Movies Mike visits the MCM Comicon at the Birmingham NEC for his latest blog...


Well, after losing my Comicon virginity at the end of last year I headed back to the Birmingham NEC on the weekend of March 22nd-23rd for another round of stalls, celebrities, sci-fi and all things comic-related. This time I didn’t dress up (I went as Batman’s nemesis Bane last time and got accosted quite a few times for photos with a number of people including a few patrons dressed as Batman themselves – see pics).


The day started with a long queue as although I had kindly been issued a press pass, my good friend Helen had not got a ticket so we queued up to ensure we could get in. In the long wait for tickets we began to see the full gamut of different costumes on display from Manga-inspired dress to Miyazaki character onesies! I picked up my pass from the press area and with only half an hour gone by (and a huge amount of Pikachu’s and Marty McFly’s walking into the hall) we headed towards the main auditorium.


With a black stormtrooper from Star Wars asking what I was wearing under my hat (a bald head nonetheless) we found ourselves in a second queue awaiting for the ushers to take our tickets and let us in. In that line, I noticed a guy who was dressed up as Jack Torrance from The Shining – however my companion Helen noted that I don’t think he was “dressed up” – which made his appearance all the more worrying. With that thought we were soon in and the large and happy crowds were in full Comicon swing as we started making our way around the huge array of stalls, shops, exhibits and more.


Our first stop was around the exhibits and with everything from movie memorabilia to comic book signing to Yu-Gi-Oh trading card games and film posters and comic clothing, the crowds were spoilt for choice with the sheer diversity of traders who had come to the show. The first one that caught my eye was The Retro Draughtsman https://www.facebook.com/TheRetroDraughtsman who creates limited edition prints hand-measured to scale of retro games and toys – a really unique and skilled set of drawings that would look great amongst any gamer or film fan’s wall. Next up was Mask-Arade, www.mask-arade.com, a cool company who have endless celebrity masks but with the unique spin of being able to upload and create your own as well as selling life-size cut outs from Union J to One Direction (don’t worry there are plenty of better ones! Ha ha!)


We carried on around the huge hall to notice that there were very few Harry Potters and just one (poorly executed) Iron Man costume and through the centre walkway we were ushered out of the way by an Imperial Commander before a huge Darth Vader procession walked on by – funnily enough who smelt of vanilla – a very clean Vader it would seem – before we encountered a ton of Marvel DeadPools just around the corner.


We headed to an animal section where my friend Helen held up a crocodile and I stroked a snake but did my best to avoid the tarantulas that were crawling over the hands of attendees much braver than I. Completely opposite of creepy crawly fans were a set of ladies dressed as a variety of Disney Princesses whose heaving corseted bosoms were the attraction of every sweaty geek eye as far as the eye could see. As we followed a Predator and Alien doing endless photographs, we realised we were getting hungry so stopped off at the awesome Emerald City Cupcakes www.emeraldcitycupcakes.co.uk and purchased an Oreo and Captain America “shield” cake which were delicious and their range also includes the Green Lantern logo & the awesome Cookie Monster cake with real cookie in his mouth! Before we could eat them, my friend Helen couldn’t resist using the cake as nipple tassels (classy!) and after our sugar hit we headed off towards the tasty celebrity signing tables.


The first gent we both recognised was Danny John Jules (the amazing Cat from Red Dwarf) who seemed in great spirits posing for photos and had the longest line of the day and then just around the corner was Paul McGann (the 8th Doctor Who and star of one of my favourite films Withnail and I). Although Helen noticed how handsome he was, she was much more impressed by nasty Nick Cotton from Eastenders (the actor John Altman). Also here were tons of other actors and actresses from past and present including General Madine from Return of the Jedi (Dermot Crowley) and the gorgeous actresses from US TV series on Fox, “Sleepy Hollow”, including Lyndie Greenwood, Katia Winter and Nicole Beharie. Another star to note was Greyston Holt, male actor of new werewolf drama Bitten launched on Syfy US. Closer to home was the amazing (and amazingly tanned and sunglass-wearing) star of the soft-core sex “Confessions of...” films of the 70s Robin Askwith.


Back into the melee of souvenir stalls we come across Tenth Planet Events www.tenthplanetevents.co.uk who run their own events and signing stalls across the UK as well as sell merchandise from a range of TV shows and movies. Check them out on the link for more movie memorabilia and then we headed off to the back of the hall where the Robot Wars arena was situated as self-made machines bashed the bolts off each other as crowds cheered on. A Judge from Judge Dredd barely had a chance to put his helmet on before I grabbed a photo of him and when my friend Nix saw the pic after uploading it she noticed that her other half was the one who created his costume’s badge! See here to order your own art sculpture piece at http://www.atomiccritter.com


As the day continued we came across a Captain Hook and a character he was with neither of us could place before meeting the Avengers (there were a lot of Lokis both male and female and Helen enjoyed her Thor encounter) then finding a Spock lookalike. This Spock had the strongest Brummie accent and mentioned he had lost his smoking partner Batman (!) so we designated him Solihull Spock and after a quick photo he went to search for the smoking Dark Knight.


A masked Joker costume was one of the strangest sights of the day – surely the mask is the wrong choice as Joker is famed for using make-up and I nearly fell over a remote-controlled R2-D2 and we carried on taking plenty of pictures of different costumes. I even got a photo of some anime kids with their “Objection!” sign from Capcom’s Ace Attorney game plus lots of other Manga and video game characters I have to admit I wouldn’t recognise most of the time. After explaining to Helen the high number of Fez hats were due to Doctor Who and not Tommy Cooper I was soon being force choked by Darth Maul before some tiny kids in Jawa and Star Wars outfits sealed their position as cutest thing of the day.


After many hours of fun, I pointed out that I had only seen one Kick Ass (right before a second showed up, who barely wore his mask – bad call, sir) and there were some Hit Girls too and then we finally had to say goodbye and experience what we later deemed “car-gate” – losing the car in the huge NEC car parks in the pissing rain – but that could not dampen our spirits from the great show and friendly people we met throughout the day.


Final words? To paraphrase Comic Book Guy - Best. Convention. Ever.


Midlands Movies Mike

More info on the Birmingham Comicon event here - http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/birmingham


Click on pic below to make bigger or see full photo album at this link CLICK HERE

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