Su­per­heroes, stormtroop­ers, war­riors and anime char­ac­ters. Mark Gra­ham finds geek heaven at MCM Comic Con

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES -

Blessed be the geeks, for they have in­her­ited the mirth. Sup­pressed screeches of ex­cite­ment, ec­static jump­ing up and down on the spot, and hands clasped to the face in ex­pres­sions of shock -joy were the eas­ily read body lan­guage at MCM Comic Con in the RDS – and that was just the mid­dle aged men. Stormtroop­ers pa­trolled the aisles of over­flow­ing comic stalls, Preda­tors prowled through rows of ta­bles where an­i­ma­tors plied their trade, anime di­vas queued for au­to­graphs from TV fan­tasy faces, and crea­tures of un­known ori­gin were ca­joled to pose for sci-fi self­ies. Jim Corr would have been in his el­e­ment.

The ef­fort and de­tail dis­played by ded­i­cated cos-play­ers was im­pres­sive. Mas­sive pa­pier-mâché skulls, real-life rain­bow-clad anime char­ac­ters, su­per-heros, arch-vil­lains, fluffy beasts and sword-wield­ing war­riors milled merrily amongst the gaw­ping mug­gles.

“You should’ve seen the looks we got on the Dart when I walked in to the car­riage with a chainsaw and he fol­lowed me with a sword,” some ded­i­cated fol­lower of fan­tasy told me. “I went with Rorschach from Watch­men to­day, be­cause he has less ac­ces­sories and it’s easy to walk around in the cos­tume.” Still freaky if you have to sit be­side the ink-masked trench-coater on the Dart, though.

John’s hoodie was em­bla­zoned with the “Geek Ire­land” logo, a crowd re­spon­si­ble for run­ning “Ire­land’s Yel­low Pages of Geek­ery”, a site de­tail­ing other Ir­ish con­ven­tions and geekly go­ings-on. The lads I met wear their geek­dom as a badge of hon­our and get dis­tressed by any­one who feigns the life­style choice in pur­suit of geek-chic. “It’s like people who wear a band T-shirt with­out know­ing who the band is. Who would do that? That re­ally f***ing an­noys me!” I liked these boys.


MCM are no daws: they know that there’s money to be made from the hordes of ded­i­cated gamers, cos-play­ers, comic worms and sci-fi fiends who flock to these con­ven­tions; an es­ti­mated 6,000 of them in the RDS last Satur­day alone. The eco­nom­ics are re­flected in last week’s box of­fice re­ceipts: Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier pushed Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse to the top of the high­est-gross­ing film fran­chise charts (Harry Pot­ter and Star Wars are in sec­ond and third place). The fi­nances in­volved would freak out Stark In­dus­tries’ ac­coun­tants. When Black Widow kicks Cap­tain Amer­ica to the kerb and gets her own fea­ture length, I’ll be con­tribut­ing heav­ily to the comic book cof­fers my­self.

The eco­nom­ics were eas­ily ig­nored in the RDS, where the enthusiasm and sense of in­no­cent fun was in­fec­tious. This was a space for people to throw them­selves fully into their pas­sion, with­out fear of be­ing judged or em­bar­rassed. For the du­ra­tion of the con­ven­tion, the cos­tumed co­hort be­came the he­roes and the leg­ends. Fes­ti­vals that have this streak of pas­sion run­ning through them bring to­gether like-minded people to cel­e­brate the thing that floats their boat. And you could have fu­eled the Seren­ity on the col­lec­tive ef­fer­ves­cence that fizzed through the RDS at Comic Con.

Pas­sions of a dif­fer­ent flavour were siz­zling in Dun­gar­van, Co Water­ford at the West Water­ford Fes­ti­val of Food. Last Sun­day some­where in the re­gion of 17,000 people grazed their way through the fab­u­lous food mar­ket that oc­cu­pied the cen­tre of the town. As you ap­proached the square, even the breeze that car­ried the prom­ise of de­lights to come was fat­ten­ing. A magic car­pet ride of a meal at Eu­nice Power’s Mid­dle East­ern Feast, Mick Quinn’s Miche­lin-star ex­pe­ri­ence on the street in the shape of Baa Blaas (Comer­agh Lamb in a Bar­ron’s Blaa), Mark Hartrey’s onion bha­jis and BBQ Joe’s lamb kofta rolls with mango salsa have all led me to one con­clu­sion: next year I’m go­ing to have my own stall in Dun­gar­van and I’ll make a for­tune – sell­ing gas­tric bands. The gas­tric bands will be black vul­can­ised rub­ber, per­fect for doubling up as Dark Knight util­ity belts.

Safe trav­els, don’t die.




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