Events, spoiler free

London MCM Comic Con Report – October 2019

event report

Better late than never right? I attended the Sunday of London MCM Comic Con at the end of October and I thought I should finally get around to writing a report. For the first time in years, I didn’t take loads of pictures and I didn’t vlog at all so I just got to enjoy the con as it was which was lovely and I found I actually got a lot less stressed. That being said I’m debating not going next year and attending Thought Bubble instead but we shall see, anyway on with the report!

Having originally planned to go on my own I managed to persuade one of my friends and my mum to come along with me. My mum has just got back into Dungeons and Dragons and basically, I wanted to essentially take her dice shopping. This was fun and not only was the journey a lot better with company and by car but it was fun having others to chat to and generally geek out excitedly at things.

As I have done the past few years I started off and spent most of my time in the Comic Village/Artists Alley section of the convention. I wanted to place a couple of commissions and decided first thing was probably a good idea. We came back here a lot because this is easily my favourite part of the convention in recent years. A lot of things in the con are mass-produced and easy to find and buy online and are there year after year so it tends to become the same thing every year. In the comic village, although a lot of the artists are the same this actually works in their favour I think as I go in knowing exactly what stands I want to check out because I know I love their work and almost every convention they have something new, whether it be a new issue of their self published comic, or new prints, accessories or the like. Walking around this area of the con just really feels the most friendly and I adore it.  As you can see below too, pretty much my entire haul of goodies is from here too!

We trawled the usual stands like Magic Madhouse, Critit and Firestorm Cards etc that sell the most dungeons and dragons items such as miniatures, books and most importantly DICE. We all brought at least one set of dice each (with most of us getting two), my mum was pleased to find some mini’s that would represent her character in our game nicely and I did my best to resist all of the Descent into Avernus blind box minis because I have a problem.

We stopped off for a late lunch (we didn’t even get in until just gone 12) and a break outside where the weather actually wasn’t bad for an October con which was a pleasant surprise. Returning inside, at last, we swung back around to pick up our commissions and a few last-minute items before heading to the PS4 area where they had playable demo’s for the new Final Fantasy VII remake. Initially, I had gone to rub it in my husbands face that I had got to play it while also reassuring him that it was good but after getting into FFXV recently I was actually quite excited to play it just for me! The Demo was actually really good and I love what they’ve done with the combat system. Not to mention it was so nice to hear everything being voice acted. We were the second from last group to get to play so I’m glad we headed over when we did. Queue getting my picture taken with an 8kg replica of Cloud’s buster sword next.

The Con was then drawing to a close, I managed to meet up with a friend who I play D&D with online which was really awesome and we all made a collective dash for the chocolate stand we had all been eyeing up over lunch and got hot chocolates and chocolate-covered strawberries (this has been a con staple for me for the last three years) which we then devoured in the car park while waiting for it to empty out enough for us to leave.

We then played Dungeons and Dragons for three and a half hours once we got back. I slept very very well that night. It was a good convention but as I mentioned earlier I think I might try a different convention next year like Thought Bubble which is a lot more art-based. Did you attend MCM London Comic Con this year? If so what did you get up to? Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here for Six for Sunday in a couple of days!

book reviews, spoiler free

Tournament Trouble – Cross Ups 1

36613399Tournament Trouble by Sylv Chiang (and illustrated by Connie Choi)

Rating: XXXX

Published March 13th 2018 by Annick Press

All twelve-year-old Jaden wants to do is be the best at Cross Ups, the video game he and his friends can’t stop playing. He knows he could be―if only he didn’t have to hide his gaming from his mom, who’s convinced it will make him violent. After an epic match leads to an invitation to play in a top tournament, Jaden and his friends Devesh and Hugh hatch a plan to get him there. But Jaden’s strict parents and annoying siblings, not to mention a couple of bullies and his confusing feelings for his next-door neighbor Cali, keep getting in the way!

Tournament Trouble marks the first book in a planned series by Sylv Chiang, a captivating new voice in middle reader fiction. With sharp dialogue and relatable characters, it chronicles the ups and downs of middle school with a relevant, contemporary twist. Accompanied by Connie Choi’s lively illustrations, Tournament Trouble invites readers into Jaden’s world, and will leave them eagerly awaiting his next adventure.

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“from Tournament Trouble and Anyone’s Game © 2018 Sylv Chiang (text) © 2018 Connie Choi, published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.”

Tournament Trouble does a great job of capturing the spirit of young readers and gamers while also imparting important messages and lessons without ever shoving them in your face. There is a kind of smooth simplicity to the story telling as well which is absolutely refreshing. We don’t always need a whole chapter explaining how and why Jaden and Cali are friends and have been since they were little or a play by-play recreation of Jaden’s uncles back story etc. All it takes is a few lines here and there and it helps the narration feel much lighter and less bulked down in details then I feel a lot of books can be, I especially loved that this is done and written in such a way that it doesn’t feel like it’s been dumbed down either.

All of the characters are likable and memorable and I particularly liked the fact that the group of friends was diverse without being stereotypical as well as coming from differing backgrounds making them easily relatable and realistic. The main character, Jaden has a good story arc and you can really feel his deliberation and hesitancy when it comes to doing things that he knows he shouldn’t. I also feel the reactions of those around him like his parents and friends also seemed like they would be accurate and are as diverse as you would get in a real situation, not everyone always agrees.

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“from Tournament Trouble and Anyone’s Game © 2018 Sylv Chiang (text) © 2018 Connie Choi, published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.”

This book has a great approach to bullying, honesty, gaming and more, it has great pacing and was very hard to put down. I’d like to give a special (spoiler free) mention about the ending which I highly approved of and felt natural and organic, I’m usually very fussy about my endings and was pleased to be happy about this one.

I also cannot stress enough how fantastic the artwork by Connie Choi was! It really added a whole other level to the book and I would happily display some of the pieces in my home. The art is somehow both simple but very descriptive at the same time with a great distinctive style to it that feels appropriate for the story matter and I’d love to see more!

Cross Ups Book Two coming September 11th 2018 (Review coming next week!)

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