I'm just back from a fantastic weekend at Excel in London, where I've been attending my first convention for over twenty years.
I had fun.
Everyone was so friendly, and there was such a good mix of people there, a lot of them in costume.
It seems to me that there are a couple of main reasons to go to a con these days - one of which is to have your picture taken in costume (or to catch the eye of a youtube film crew like Sneaky Zebra). There were a lot of very good costumes, and it was a good job the Young Man was there to tell me who a lot of them were - my knowledge of comic characters is very limited and specific. There were several Doctors, Ten, Eleven and Four mostly, one of them going round with a very good River Song. There were a couple of Planet of the Apes chimpanzees, and lots of Batman characters. I saw two different Daredevils, and one Matt Murdock, complete with white stick and a briefcase with legal papers sticking out the top, with the heading Murdock and Nelson!
There was a Cyberman, and Doc Octopus, and several Captain Americas, a very good Iron Man, Dr Manhattan, several more Green Arrows in various versions of the costume, and the new Ms Marvel - I had my picture taken with her while I was being Captain Marvel, but I don't have a copy of it yet.
There was a group of Judges from MegaCity One and BritCit, and a tall black lady who looked absolutely stunning as Storm, with a white feather head dress and Thor's hammer. I saw Mother Russia, and Neil Gaiman's Death, and looked after the bags while the Bat Clan had their pictures taken in the underground car park - my Young Man was the Penguin (all 1960s style). The other villains were King Tut, the Riddler and Catwoman, and the good guys were Batman, Robin and Batgirl. We met another Penguin later, who was carrying a toy penguin with a little rocket strapped to its back. My Young Man was stopped so often for photos that it was like walking round with a celebrity!
The other main reason to be there seems to be to buy lots of cool stuff.
I bought lots of cool stuff. Mike Grell, who is the artist who did the classic Green Arrow story The Longbow Hunters, was there, and I bought a couple of his sketches to go on my wall. I was dressed up as Green Arrow at the time, complete with the arrows with little boxing gloves on the end.
I also bought a picture of Neil Gaiman's Death done by Aly Fell, who is a lovely man, and a very good artist.
On another table as I went round was Peter David, who wrote a lot of Star Trek novels back in the 1980s and 90s. "Why don't you go and have a word?" my Young Man asked, nudging me in his direction.
"I can't! That's Peter David!" I squeaked. I had to go round the hall again to pluck up the courage to say hello!