Category Archives: DC Comics

Cosplay


I love comics; I’ve been confused about cosplayers. Comic love meant growing up with Batman, Daredevil and the Avengers; discovering Swamp Thing and joy at seeing graphic novels such as the prize-winning Maus and Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes reach wide audiences.

Cosplayers were something new. For anyone who doesn’t know about enthusiasts who dress as favourite characters at comic conventions, that link is a good viewpoint. It includes my early concerns about women in alarmingly small amounts of lycra being objects of both sexism and derision.

This is a short and simplistic post, without time to reflect more but I wanted to catch a snapshot of the first convention I’ve attended: London Super Comic Con.

The middle photo is the villain from Kick-Ass 2. I’m going to chicken out of naming names. The Chris D’Amico character in both Kick-Ass films is one of my daughter’s favourites so I got up the courage to ask for a photo.

I certainly didn’t expect to meet a charming young woman called Amy under that exterior. Now she’s Facebook  friends with my daughter and a potential bodyguard, in her alter-alter ego as Mother Russia, if Amelia gets her act together to dress up another time.

The brilliant Batman rig in the first photo caught my eye for a second request. Without any doubt, that has to be the most awesome wheelchair EVER. I was so enthralled that it took my husband to point out the accompaniment of faithful retainer Alfred: I assume that in another guise, he’s Batman’s dad. I’m honestly lost for words at the love and care and pride that’s gone into this. Not much is really awesome. This is.

And the Star Wars pair. We were on our way out when they strolled past, tall and confident. I thought they were students from our flats, before a double-take to recognise the brother and sister I babysat when she was a toddler.

‘The blaster’s in the bag,’ Stefan pointed out before they headed off on the DLR; away from school, more mundane uniforms and the daily routine.

Freedom, self-expression and great fun. Now I get it.

 

“Fact, fact, fact!”* 52 of them

The-future-of_comics_Fringe_Write_Idea_FestivalI will be 52 in April and am getting used to the idea by saying so now. I was going to write a list of 52 facts about me but think this is better because I can fit more in a short space.

That’s four already … or even five, depending on how personal this week’s Weekly Blog Club theme-setter, lovely Kate Bentham, thinks ‘some facts about yourself’ should be.

I’ve loved comics since I was small and the picture above makes me happy. This is partly because it only shows the back of my head but mainly because I’m listening to a debate on the future of comics as part of November 2013’s Writeidea Festival Fringe.

I was a volunteer on the organising panel and am delighted that I managed to suggest and bring in some brilliant speakers. They included a former executive producer of Eastenders, Diederick Santer, who is the brother of my friend Hen; he debated soaps with an Archers scriptwriter who came to my wedding reception, Mr Keri Davies. There was best-selling historical master of the medieval murder mystery Michael Jecks who I had last spoken to nearly 16 years ago at Lingfield Races.

Among others I asked were Booker nominee Alison Moore and fellow SALT-published novelist Simon Okotie, who made me cry with laughter one morning with two words (‘Hulk, smash’. Spoken by a mild-mannered Buddhist, this was for some reason hysterical.) I also asked one poet –  Maitreyabandhu, another Buddhist – a man I greatly admire for his humour and  work on mindfulness for people with depression.

I approached some people through Twitter: Stella Duffy, genius writer, campaigner and generous woman. Her blog post this week made me cry. I want you to read it and I wish her every positive thought I can offer. Melanie Clegg is wonderful Madame Guillotine, an observant and beautifully-descriptive cultural cockney who rocks blue hair in a way that (colour clash) turns me green with envy.

It made my day to have Robin Ince agree to headline the Saturday and spend time chatting with me and my daughter beforehand. Being good at English when I went to school meant ditching science and I wish with all my heart I had his dedication to educating himself in so many scientific areas.

I went to Robin’s Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People before Christmas. I think my favourite on stage was hedgehog-loving author and ecologist Hugh Warwick. My first pet was a hedgehog called Murphy, given to me when I was nine by workmen who’d found him. I adored him and was inconsolable when he wandered next door and ate slug poison.

Back to the picture above. The red hair (I wish I had the nerve to dye mine like it) and yellow dress belong to Nat Guest. I think she probably has the best username on Twitter: @unfortunatalie  I first spotted her online because of her invention of the superb Question Time Tweetalong events; I went to one at the Hackney Attic. I’d suggested the festival have a fringe for the first time and asked her if she would curate the two days.

I suspect by the time she’s nearly 52, Nat’ll be Prime Minister. If she wants. She has a network of intelligent, well-connected and creative people that makes me feel out of touch, dull and slack-jawed. She can also drink me under the table.

I’m looking forward to helping out again this year, with Writeidea 2014.

*I bet you knew that was a quote from Dickens’s Hard Times. And that’s 52 facts about me.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Bugrit! Millennium hand and shrimp’

Victory_Gardens_Batman_Robin_Superman_1948
“AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE – – !”
“A grisly fate, but one that he deserved.”
“Right, Batman! Let’s go for ice cream.”
“Ice cream is not good for young, healthy boys, Robin. Instead, let’s have some 100% American steaks served with vegetables from our Victory Garden.”

True randomness is difficult, I believe. This is most likely down to my own thoughts and actions; nature- and nurture-influenced as they are.

This is already not a random quest, to look at ‘random’, but Weekly Blog Club’s suggested theme. And I like being given a title to write to, rather than spend ages trying to think of my own.

This post’s title is the catchphrase of the marvellous Foul Ole Ron, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I chose it as the most random collection of words that sprang to mind.

I’ve just re-read ‘Thud!’ in which the phrase appears, so not really random, is it? Off to Google to investigate.

It is either truly random, or not random at all, if Wikipedia is correct, as it is: ‘the result of Pratchett feeding a random text generating program with a Chinese takeaway menu and the lyrics to They Might be Giants‘ song Particle Man’ (the link is to a song I prefer: the theme tune to the pleasantly-random Malcolm in the Middle.)

So with a background of journalism (i.e. nicking other people’s thoughts and words as a basis for my own), I did a Google search for ‘random’. This is already less-than-random as its algorithms are shaped by my browsing history.

This took me to the glorious black hole of time-wasting that is www.random.org You have been warned.

I played with the random date-generator: proving again, to myself at least, that it’s hard to do random, by choosing a predictable date. I entered – you guessed it – my date of birth and today’s date, resulting in

‘Here are your 4 calendar dates:
Monday, 30 April 1984
Wednesday, 2 April 1986
Monday, 15 March 1999
Wednesday, 19 July 2000
They were picked randomly out of 13,280 possible dates between [redacted date in old money] and Wednesday, 13 March 2013.’

Now I am longing to find out why those dates might be significant: I want to put reason and rhythm over randomness. I don’t keep a diary so will probably never know. Do they mean anything to you? I would love to know.

I thought the comic image was wonderfully random: Batman among the quotidien cabbages. But I didn’t come to it by random. It’s on a brilliant blog of food links by Sarah Emily Duff, whom I follow on Twitter. I started following her as she was engaging with Simon Okotie, a dear friend whose book I helped to publicise. Now I think of it, his ‘down-at-heel hero’ Marguerite has elements of Foul Ole Ron…

My day job is to publicise a Local Food project and I spend a lot of time thinking about people growing their own vegetables. And the image itself was published in 1943. What could be less random than government propaganda-esque exhortations to Dig for Victory and swap the American Dream lawn for the veg to go alongside your 100% American steak?

I like to think of myself as a natural anarchist and therefore presumably drawn to the random; if I am, then it is one who likes things to be tidy and in order. My capacity for self-delusion can always be relied upon to be less than random.