Comic Con has been around for years. Yet the thought of going may never have even crossed your mind. For a very long time I’ve been under the impression that it’s a place for nerds. Not in a derogatory sense at all, I just never felt like I was nerdy enough to be a part of the group that go. As in, I do not have enough knowledge of superheroes, comic books, manga, anime and various other fantasy and sci-fi things like Star Wars and Legend of Zelda to be able to go myself. There are people seriously dedicated to this. The way that I’m dedicated to Harry Potter with my wand, my mauraders map and my Hogwarts Express train tickets in my purse. Yes, I keep them with me at all times (even when I change purse) because you never know when you might need to jump on the Hogwarts Express!
However, I couldn’t have been more wrong about Comic Con. It is one of the most inclusive environments I have ever been to. You see so many different people there – old, young, black, Asian. People in costume, people not in costumes. Nobody judges anyone, looks twice at you if you’re slightly larger or slightly skinnier than somebody else. Nobody cares if your hair is spiky and neon or if it’s long, curly and bright purple. It doesn’t even have to be a part of your costume. You can literally come there as you are, as somebody else, half as a character from a universe that you love and it’s just normal. I honestly have never been anywhere where so many differences are celebrated all at once and I love it.
I ended up booking last minute tickets as part of my sister’s birthday celebration. I wanted us to do something that was just the two of us for today. The plan started off as brunch until we saw that Letitia Wright (Shuri in Black Panther) was going to be at Comic Con. Obviously that completely changed the game and we knew we had to go. My sister has been to con before by the way, it’s just me who’s a newbie. We paid £25 for priority tickets (to get in at 10am) and £84 if I remember correctly for a photo session with Letitia. She also spoke on her own panel which you don’t have to pay any extra for once you’ve bought your standard tickets.
Now, I’ve liked superhero films for a while. I used to watch all of the really old Hulk films with Eric Bana, I watched all of the Spider Man films with Tobey Maguire and later Andrew Garfield who I really liked as Spider Man by the way. When I saw Man of Steel ages ago I was absolutely obsessed! Obviously the fact that Henry Cavill is bloody gorgeous does play a part in that but not the only part! I also liked Batman vs Superman and when Wonder Woman came out, I was again, enthralled. So it seemed that I was really more a fan of DC films than Marvel ones. Until I started watching the Marvel movies and realised that this whole cinematic universe they have created is absolutely unmatched. I really do enjoy the DC films but Marvel is just doing something seriously incredible.
Anyway my point is that I do love a superhero film. Plus, I love Harry Potter. So I agreed to go to Comic Con knowing that there were at least two universes I could firmly root myself in if nothing else. Essentially, as I went round to all of the different stalls this is exactly what I did. Until I saw that there were items from Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries, City of Bones, even Riverdale that drew my attention to. If you like fantasy in any capacity, then you will find something for you there. And if you like fantasy at all, then pretty much everything you see will draw you in because it’s all so cool. There are weapon replicas, jewellery replicas, t-shirts, hoodies, sketches, prints, canvasses, virtual reality games, games in general. There is just so much.
So after spending the morning going round to all the stalls, we joined the queue for Letitia Wright’s panel. I’m never usually star struck but it was pretty weird to think that an actress who is signed up with Marvel and has been in two of the biggest films of the year was going to be metres away from me doing a panel. I literally sprinted to the front of the room as soon as they opened the doors. And I don’t know what I was expecting really but she just came across as so genuine. She has a very relatable personality. She didn’t sit there talking about red carpets and celebrities she’s met. Really she just made it feel like you were watching a friend chatting away on stage. She even made a comment about being worried that nobody would turn up to hear her speak, bless! She’s very humble and has such a positive outlook on everything. One of the things she said to us all, was that the opportunities that are meant for you in life will never pass you by. I’ve never really thought of life that way if I’m honest, but that’s now something that I’ll definitely take with me.
When asked about how she found out that she would be in Infinity War, she said she was actually in her hotel room praying. Getting cast in a role in a Marvel movie is obviously huge so when she got the part of Shuri, she explained to us that she did start to doubt herself. She was filming Humans at the time and she had done a lot of acting work previously, but this was her first big role and she was worried that she wasn’t good enough. So she said a lot of prayers and had to sort of convince herself that she was. So when she got the call about Infinity War she even asked them if they wanted her to audition again and then she said she was so grateful when they told her that of course she didn’t, she’s part of the family now.
She was so funny. I think the fact that she’s so British makes listening to her talk even more engaging. At one point, because London ExCel is really near London City Airport, we could hear a plane flying over in the distance. So she completely stopped and went “Wait, what’s that sound?”. The interviewer was like oh it’s just a plane flying over and she sort of exhaled with a hand on her chest and went “I thought it was Thanos” which was obviously hilarious! And then when she was asked about her reaction to Infinity War she went on to talk about how Thanos just snapped his fingers and then did nothing. She was like “You have all six infinity stones! If that was me I’d be milly rocking everywhere!”. She was asked about how her life is different now and she said the main difference is that buying milk will never be the same again and also that she loves taking the tube, but her agent hates it because of safety and wants her to get Ubers everywhere. And then she went on to be like “I love taking the tube and ubers are very expensive!”.
She obviously talked a lot about Shuri. About how meeting Chadwick for the first time felt like meeting a brother and how she genuinely sees him as an older brother. About how she really had to take some time to get to grips with her character too. At first she would be really serious whenever they were shooting until she was told that it was okay to relax. That Shuri is young and fun and really she came to see a lot of similarities between her own personality and Shuri’s, which made it a lot easier to identify with Shuri when the cameras were rolling and to just ease herself into the role. She also said that when she’s playing Shuri, she really just focuses on that character and what she can do to play that character to the best of her ability. So, when in Infinity War she was told that her main role was to help Vision, that’s exactly what she focused on. Someone in the crowd asked her about whether she was expecting there to be such a huge emphasis on female strength in Black Panther and she sort of just said that she didn’t really focus on that until she’d finished filming her scenes. Again, because she stays as focused as possible on her specific role and then sees what impact that has later on when everything comes together.
When the panel had to be closed, she was really disappointed. She’s incredibly talkative and everything was flowing so naturally that it came to an abrupt end when the host had to tell her it was time to stop. So she allowed one more question from the crowd – the best question in my opinion. She was asked whether, with her brother dead, Shuri is able to step up to the mantle of Black Panther if necessary. She said yes guys. She said yes! At various points throughout the interview, referencing the comics as well, she explained that Shuri loves her brother but also wants the throne. Very exciting stuff!
It’s really interesting being able to hear someone just sit and speak about their role and also engage with a crowd of people who actively support that. I don’t think it would have been the same if I just went to get a photo with her. When you’re this invested in a film or a universe you want to know more about that transition from real life, to set to screen and it was honestly so interesting. Especially being there in the flesh and not just curled up in bed watching YouTube videos of interviews.
After all of this, we went back to look around some more stalls. We played a few games on the Nintendo Switch. We did some digital art on some of the tablets there. I’ll insert a picture of what I drew below. I was under a lot of pressure there as the people drawing are actually really good! I did some virtual reality as I mentioned earlier. There were a lot of artists there too showcasing their work, which I will insert pictures of below. And also just a hell of a lot of merch. I ended up buying a set of Harry Potter rings, a Game of Thrones canvas, a Deadpool t-shirt and a Loki watercolour print. All of which will be pictured below for you.
Overall guys, if you’re only part of one fandom or twenty, you should definitely go to Comic Con. It’s honestly so much fun, you get to see so many different things, hear so many different people talk (if you choose to) and just experiment with loads of different things. Also, when I go again, I am DEFINITELY going to be dressing up. It’s way too much fun not to. I saw a female Thor and a female Strange that were absolutely dope, seriously.