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STEWARTS SLATE: THE MCM EXPO WAS GREAT! TOO BAD THE SECURITY GUYS WERE ASS CLOWNS!!!

30 May

Angry rant by Stewart Loud

I attended London’s May MCM Expo convention at the Excel center this weekend and, man, it was a fantastic three days! Most of you have probably seen the hundreds of pictures of the wide variety of incredible cosplayers and stalls at the event that I’ve posted on our facebook page, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. No, today I’m writing about how I had my wrist band taken away from me on the final day and got refused entry for the rest of the event. Like so many of the events in my life, the disappointment and sadness has quickly turned to bitter resentment and anger. I didn’t think it would help much at the time if I argued with the apes on security or the MCM official who explained in great detail how it was all my fault so I’ve decided to vent my frustration by writing about it and you lot can make of it what you will.

I bought a weekend pass online which gave me access to the event on the Friday as well as the Saturday and Sunday. The site was relatively quiet on Friday due to it only being open to weekend ticket holders so I quickly had my ticket scanned by the friendly MCM stewards and was given a paper wrist band as proof that I had paid so I could walk in and out of the venue. All day Friday and Saturday morning the wrist band checks were carried out pleasantly by MCM stewards and after a few times through they began recognizing me (probably due to my Punisher outfit) and just waved me through with comments like “it’s ok Punisher I’ve seen yours”


Half way through the Saturday though, someone thought it was a good idea to put a separate team of overweight, bored security guards on the entrance and suddenly the event wasn’t just organized, it was policed! The friendly polite checks were replaced with white shirted goons aggressively Bellowing “ARMS IN THE AIR! WRIST BANDS ON DISPLAY!” at all the mild mannered comic and anime fans as they neared the entrance. These ass holes even started doing wrist band checks outside and kicking cosplayers socializing with their friends off the site.

Anyway, half way through Sunday I was walking in with my wrist in the air when one of the security guards grabbed me by the arm. He’d spotted the tape on my band where, having cut it off carefully each night to shower, I’d taped it back on each morning. He called another guard over who took it from me and explained “we can’t let anyone through with a taped band” I’m assuming in case I’d just picked it up off the ground or something, but this seemed a bit unfair as the MCM stewards had managed to remember me all weekend. they weren’t interested when I tried to show them my ticket and directed me to where I had my ticket scanned in the first place. There I met one of the event organizers (I think. He seemed to have more authority than the other MCM people) who told me that when I was given the arm band I was told numerous times that it had to last me all weekend, I was fine to shower in it and not to cut it off.

I WAS NOT TOLD THIS. I like to think I’m a reasonably intelligent person so if I had been told this I wouldn’t have found myself in this situation.

When I arrived on the Friday the place was almost empty so It’s not like I had trouble hearing what the friendly MCM people said to me as I had my ticket scanned. The guy who gave me the arm band just said “here you go mate”. In fact when I returned on the Saturday I went and asked a member of staff if my arm band was still valid before I went in. But no, even when I presented my ticket and my drivers license to prove I was the ticket holder (after I’d sent a friend in to the venue for me to retrieve my bag and wallet from the cosplay stand) he refused to give me another band saying that my only option was to queue up for half an hour to buy another ticket which I couldn’t have done even if I wanted to because I’d spent all my money. The guy even said he’d just said the same thing to a twelve year old boy.


So what could I do? Well I could probably tell you a few things I wish I’d done but like I said I didn’t think it would have helped so I just sat outside and ate my lunch before I left. While out there I did have an interesting conversation with one of the stewards who having seen the guards collaring me earlier came up and told me how he thought it was bullshit as he’d been letting me through all weekend and that most of the MCM stewards hate the security guys as well because of what a negative atmosphere they create.
His words: “they know we wont cause any trouble so they make trouble.”
I also spoke to a number of other cosplayers who said they hadn’t been told what I was suposed to have been told about the wrist bands.

Don’t get me wrong before all this happened I had a fantastic time and all of the other MCM Expo staff were really nice people I just had to vent a bit on here because it seemed so unfair. But what do they care, they’ve already got my money right?

Please link this article to as many friends as you can! I wanna know if anyone else had a similar experience!

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STEWARTS SLATE: REVIEWS OF LARGO WINCH vol 7-8 and THE BLUECOATS book 4

14 May
This week I’ve reviewed a few titles originally published in French and now released in English by “CINEBOOK The 9th Art Publisher”

Review of LARGO WINCH vol 7: GOLDEN GATE and vol 8: SHADOW
Writer: Jean Van Hamme
Art: Philippe Francq
Originally in French and now published in English by CINEBOOK
No super heroes, zombies, aliens, costumed vigilantes, vampires or giant transforming robots in this comic, just an incredibly captivating story with instantly likeable characters and outstanding artwork. Say hello to Largo Winch “anti-establishment, womaniser, wanderer, iconoclast, fighter”, all round great guy and, as it turns out, incredibly handy with a knife or his fists. Did he used to be a commando or something?
Set in the present day without a mutant virus or apocalyptic war in sight and following the exploits of a guy in his late twenties who inherits a massive corporation worth $10 billion, this isn’t the sort of comic I usually read but, having finished the exceptionally well written story that these two books collect, I’m very glad I did.

As per usual I don’t want to give too much away but the story sees Largo Winch attempting to unravel the mystery of a suspicious producer piling money into a cheesy tv show being shot by Largo’s tv company, W9, in what appears to be a convoluted attempt at tax evasion.
What begins as a slightly mundane crime drama quickly becomes a seriously gripping tale of intrigue, corruption and murder with a surprisingly large dose of action thrown in for good measure as Winch uncovers more of the dark secrets behind the shadowy group backing the laughably bad “Golden Gate” tv series and they in turn take steps to discourage his investigation. Not to dissimilar from something you might find in a Bond novel, with beautiful women, exotic locations and ruthless casino owners, this would make a great film.
Philippe Francq’s art is like nothing you’ll see in anything currently being published by Marvel or DC right now. Every character is instantly distinguishable from one another with their unique, detailed and expertly drawn facial features and physical appearance. The many beautiful women of the books are made so without them having unrealistic proportions and just as much effort has gone into the lush, complex and technically brilliant scenery. Seriously, a lot of comic artists focus mainly on making the characters of a story look good but every aspect of every scene drawn by Francq in these books seems to be almost jumping off the page with character and detail.
Even though these were the first parts of the series I’ve read, I didn’t have any problem getting to grips with storyline or the varied and interesting characters. Winch himself is a strong, Bruce Wayne type. His entourage of friends include Simon, the slightly dim witted Fonz of the story, Freddy, the battle scarred, capable pilot and Miss Pennywinkle, one of his more educated advisors.
If what I’ve described here sounds like a genre of story you usually enjoy then you’ll certainly enjoy this one, and equally, if like me you usually read science fiction, horror or action books and you want to try something completely different, then give these a try. I really was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them.
SCORE 8/10
Review of THE BLUE COATS vol 4: THE GREENHORN
Writer: Raoul Cauvin
Art: WillyLambil
Originally in French and now published in English by CINEBOOK
An old school comedy book set during the American civil war and written and illustrated in the same vein as the old Asterix comics, The Bluecoats sees it’s two main characters both cavalrymen in the Union army, Cornelius Chesterfield, a courageous and steadfast sergeant and Corporal Blutch, the insubordinate Sgt. Bilco style character getting into fights and arguments over women, revealing some controversial and cowardly ways of surviving battles and attempting to avoid diplomatic disasters with the local Indian chief.
With simplistic art and characters, this isn’t the most engaging title out there but it is fairly chuckleworthy in places. Nice if you’re looking for a light hearted read to pass the time on the train or something but don’t expect a gripping storyline or exciting action. Perhaps a good one to introduce younger children to comic books.

SCORE 6/10

STEWART (AND LEE’S) SLATE: REVIEWS: BATMAN AND ROBIN VOLS 1-2, BATMAN/PUNISHER BOOKS, BATMAN/JUDGE DREDD BOOKS

6 May

This week guest writer Lee Roberts reviews Batman and Robin vols 1-2 by Grant Morrison and I’ve done some quick reviews of Batman’s cross-overs with Punisher and Judge Dredd.

That’s right I’ve still managed to write something Punisher related even though it’s Batman week! What are you gonna do about it?

BATMAN & ROBIN Vol 1: BATMAN REBORN (the deluxe edition)

grant morrison,frank quitely,philip tan

Review by Lee Roberts




The dark knight has fallen.Bruce wayne is dead and the Batman & Robin you know are no more instead Bruce waynes oldest allie Dick Grayson has taken on the mantle and chosen bruces assasin born wayward son as a new kind of deadlier Robin.a new evil has risen in Gotham more dangerous than before and it will take all the skills of our dynamic duo to stop them,but can they do it without killing each other? The 1st thing you notice when opening this book is how fresh it all seems,whether its the new,nastier villans,the story or the banter between our new protaganists.Also the art is outstanding with quitely outdoing himself on several splash pages my favorite being one of B&R dropping on to the roof of G.C.P.D from their FLYING BATMOBILE (Oh yeah they have 1 of those now too!) All in all this is a remarkably brave book which is brillantly done.i wasnt sure about a new batman but by the end i cant wait for volume 2. I would recommend to any comic fan not just fans of the bat

SCORE 9/10

BATMAN & ROBIN VOL 2: BATMAN vs ROBIN

Review by Lee Roberts

With the introductions and villans dealt with in vol 1 this book concentrates on our heroes and their english allies knight and squire taking Bruce Waynes corpse to an existing lazarus pit in the hope of ressurecting him and the mystery of wayne manor and the clues left inside. but who left them and why? morrisons writting really starts to click in this book with loose ends tying up and new dangers being hinted at. The patnership of Dick grayson and Damien wayne continues to get better and better,a real highlight being the exchanges between the two. I must admit to actually liking the new robin and the new dynamic he brings to the dynamic duo. the book finishes with batman discovering the real identity of the domino killer and i cant wait to read how its all resolved. Its sure to be a laugh riot!!!

SCORE 8/10


BATMAN PUNISHER: LAKE OF FIRE
Writer: Denis Oneil
Art: Barry Kitson/James Pascoe
Review by Stewart Loud
Punisher travels to Gotham in pursuit of his arch nemesis, Jigsaw and bumps into Batman.
A fairly disappointing book unfortunately. Uninspiring artwork, not Bruce Wayne as Batman (some, Azriel dude whoever he is) and Frank is written pretty poorly. Comes across as some sort of halfwit, murderous thug who thinks too much of himself. If this was the only Punisher comic I’d ever read, then I wouldn’t like him. Not much here for fans of either character.
Waste of a brilliant pairing.

SCORE 4/10



PUNISHER BATMAN: DEADLY KNIGHTS
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Art: John Romita Jr/Klaus Janson
Review by Stewart Loud
One of my all-time favourite comics. Carrying straight on from Lake Of Fire, Punisher is still in Gotham chasing Jigsaw, who has now teamed up with the Joker. Proper Batman, Bruce Wayne returns to briefly butt heads with Castle before they form an uneasy alliance to take down the bad guys. A fairly formulaic team-up plot but expertly scripted by Punisher veteran of the time Chuck Dixon with fantastic visuals from John Romita Jr. Short and sweet at less than 50 pages, I struggle to think of any way they could have made this brief story better.
This is a dazzling example that Marvel/DC crossovers don’t have to be printed for the sake of making money, bullshit. Great fun whichever character you read it for.
SCORE 10/10

THE BATMAN/JUDGE DREDD FILES
Writers: Alan Grant/John Wagner
Art: Simon Bisley/Carl Critchlow/Dermot Power/Glen Fabry/Jim Murray/Jason Brashill
Review by Stewart Loud
Collects vol 1-3 of the Batman/Judge Dredd books. You won’t find too many other books as beautifully illustrated as this one. Neither character has looked much better than they do in this trilogy of stories that take place in both Gotham and Mega City One (courtesy of a trans-dimensional device) that all tie in together as Batman and Dredd join forces to fight criminals, monsters and cyborgs with a few inevitable clashes of personality along the way.
Features the villains Scarecrow, Mean Machine, Riddler, Judge Death and The Joker.
Well written, gothic, violent, action packed and a decent sized read at over 200 pages this is definitely one book no fans of either character should be without.
SCORE 9/10

BATMAN JUDGE DREDD: VENDETTA IN GOTHAM
Writers: Alan Grant/John Wagner
Art:Cam Kennedy
Review by Stewart Loud
Batman and Dredd have a decent old fashioned punch up in a children’s playground as well as having to deal with the criminal ventriloquist dummy, Scarface in this short story set between vols 2 and 3 from the Batman/Judge Dredd graphic novel mentioned above.
Nice art and a good comedy brawl between the two characters. Not essential to the plot of the other book but certainly worth a look if you enjoy seeing the characters together.
Lastly, I don’t normally like to give things away in my reviews but Dredd beats the tights off of Bats! Seriously, he hits him in the balls with a kids see-saw at one point!

SCORE 6/10