Travelling to London on the Friday 25th May I had plenty to think about. With the impending Heroes and Villains Fan Fest convention and a visit to the Dc Exhibition at The 02. HVFF London had already set a standard for myself when it made its debut in May 2017, so my expectations were high and I was a little nervous but excited. This was the weekend I was going to meet five members of the cast of Gotham and all the amazing friends I had met last year at HVFF from different parts of the world, some of my fellow DcWorld team, John Harrison and Derek O’Neill from Gotham TV Podcast.
First to do on the list was to go to the fantastic arena Olympia in Kensington where the box office or Will Call as the Americans call it to pick up my pass for the weekend and photo op vouchers. The box office was due to open at 1:00pm and a medium size crowd had already started gathering. Right on time the box office opened and with ease and great organisation I had picked up my pass within 20mins. Moved onto the photo op line which does take a little longer as it does depend on how many photo ops people have to pick up, but within 30minutes I had everything i neeed for a great weekend ahead of me.
Whilst I was in London I took the opportunity with three of my Dc World team members to visit the Dc Exhibition: Dawn of Superheroes at the 02. The 02 arena itself is an impressive place to visit with numerous amounts of restaurants, a cinema and of course a 20,000 seat arena for concerts. The entrance to the Dawn of Super Heroes was extremely easy to find and short ride up on the escalator to you were greeted by impressive art banners of the most famous faces from the Dc Universe. You are offered an audio guide to use as reference as you make your way around the exhibit, which on this occasion I declined. I was instantly impressed by the layout and how everything flowed, starting with the history of Superman. Seeing original front covers of comics, concept art and portraits of how a film is built visually was overwhelming. I have always loved details of how a film is made from the start to finish and even wanted to work on sets of films. Within five minutes at being at the exhibit I was in movie heaven. Seeing Christopher Reeves original superman and Clark Kent outfit was emotional as it will celebrate its 40th birthday this year.I loved how the Clark Kent outfit was displayed with his tie placed over his shoulder and his shirt partly undone to reveal his Superman costume underneath. The variance in the difference in the way the Superman suits have changed over the years from the textures and colouring is so interesting.
The costume and the concept art I was most looking forward to seeing was from Tim Burtons Batman films. These costumes are displayed differently in special cases in which the temperature is regulated. This area where the Batman costumes and art were displayed had a darker feel to the area like you were entering into a Gotham city. Again the variation of the different Batman suits worn by the actors was so significant that you could just tell which Batman they belonged too, especially the one with the nipples. But it was the villains I could not wait to see, Jack Nicholson’s Joker costume was a beautiful vibrant purple that the texture could almost speak Jack Nicholson’s lines from the movie. Other costumes that spoke to their lines to me were Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot worn by Danny Devito in my favourite of the Batman films “Batman Returns.” Again the layering of the material and even his gloves he wore shaped to fit over his flipper hands. The iconic Catwoman suit worn by Michelle Pfeiffer is a must see as it won’t be on display anymore after the exhibition leaves London. The positioning of how this costume has been displayed is very cat like. I was amazed how much detail their is on the back of the bodice which we probably didn’t see in that great detail in the film.
What was emotional was seeing The Joker costume worn by Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight.” Knowing how he proved to be possibly the best live action Joker in cinema and not even reach his 30th birthday and not even see the release of his legendary performance. The costume designer Lindy Hemming, who worked on all of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy used the traditional colours of The Joker but muted them to suit the styling and mood of these darker Batman films. Lindy Hemming also designed all the costumes for The Wonder Wonder films which is my favourite DCU film of 2017. To see the actual costume that Gal Gadot wore, again in my mind I could see the scene of no mans land. All the costumes at the exhibition are fantastic and I have only talked about a selected few.
The photograph above is one of the many beautiful hand drawn concept art, this one is my absolute favourites and I know where i would put this in my home. My visit to the Dc Exhibition was more then I expect and can’t recommend it highly enough.
One of the first things I noticed when I entered the Olympia arena is the layout is completely different to last year. The ground floor was dedicated to vendors and where our celebrities would be signing autographs. Being a warm weekend in London the air flowed through the arena easier and made walking around even better then last year. On the upper level is where you went for your photo ops and the panels. There were also celebrity guests autograph booths and more vendors. As I was there just to meet the five cast memebers of Gotham it was easy they were put together in one area. I decided to buy a VIP pass as I wanted early entry, dedicated autograph line and a great seat for the Gotham panel which took place on the Saturday at 3pm. Cory Michael Smith was the first Gotham cast member I met on the Saturday and I was extremely happy with this as I have not met him before and I wasn’t disappointed. Cory was a delight and we talked about how Gotham made The Riddle Factory happen in episode 17 of season 4. Cory has an infectious smile and his face lit up with joy when I discussed these scenes with him. Next was David Mazouz and just like last year he was extremely talkative eager to hear my thoughts on the season 4 finale. We even talked about some of the comics I had read for my own research for some of the arcs that Gotham have covered. Drew Powell was so happy to see my familiar face. I wanted to discuss one of my favourite episodes of season 4 “Stop Hitting Yourself” as it’s a particularly a heavy Grundy episode. Drew told me that he thought Robin Lord Taylor was kidding him when he told him that Grundy is going to being ripping people’s arms off in the fight ring. Again Drew was appreciative of how I enjoyed the interactions with Tabitha when she sees Butch for the first time in his new form and how Grundy started to get the flashbacks as his life as Butch. And I had some great selfies with Drew. I just had enough time to meet one more Gotham guest before the photo ops started so I headed to Sean Pertwee’s autograph table. 00Alfred loves to chat and I thanked Sean for making me laugh and cry a lot during this latest season. Sean just like his fellow cast members is extremely proud of how visually beautiful Gotham is for television show. I got to meet Robin after the photo ops and we discussed our mutual interest in Shakespeare and theatre.
Next up was probably the most busiest and fastest part of the day the photo ops with the brilliant company Celeb Photo ops. The quality of the 10×8 that you receive is brilliant and there is never an issue with lighting as they use a great backdrop. Also your print is ready in about 30 seconds. First photo op of the day was with the wonderful Sean Pertwee, followed by a duo photo op with David Mazouz. This year I was determined to smile better as I look like the Mona Lisa in last years! Up next as the Gotham cast photo, not only was I going to be in the group photo on my own but with some of my Dc World colleagues. Time for me to have my photo with my favourite villain and probably the most genuine down earth man you’ll ever meet Robin Lord Taylor and finishing up with the long awaited duo with Cory Michael Smith.
The Gotham panel was another highlight of Saturday and the only one I was attending over the weekend. Everyone can see instantly what great chemistry and what good friends they are and how naturally they bounce off each other. Cory in particular really shined and showed just how funny he is. Robin got emotional when he thanked the fans for campaigning to get Gotham another season. Drew was very appreciative towards Cory as his transformation of Grundy was a big part of his character in season 4. As always the cast joked about Sean’s Alfredisms, and how he adds them to script. Some great questions from the audience which made 45 minutes go very quickly.
The rest of the afternoon I spent looking around the different vendors. I was really pleased to see that there were more then last year and a great variety. One of my favourites was The Dark Forge, artist Amanda Fullman. Here is the link to her website https://darkforgedesign.weebly.com/#
I was ready for another amazing day at HVFF London, but not ready for it to be over for another year. Sunday seemed quieter to me but I don’t know whether I was used to be in the Olympia arena. Just like the Saturday first autograph of the day was with Cory Michael Smith and gave me another chance talk about all things Riddler. Another visit to Sean Pertwee and Drew Powell. I waited to see Robin Lord Taylor on the Sunday until my Dc World team member Rachel McCosker had arrived as I wanted a selfie with them both, as we are self confessed crazy cat ladies and Robin shares our mutual love and respect for cats.
Time for more photo ops. First up was David Mazouz, I have never had a solo op with David. It was great fun I thought of pose that David was more then happy to do. First duo photo op was with Drew and Robin and both of these lovely gents are always enthusiastic to see you. For my solo photo op with Robin on the Sunday I decided to cover a book and make it look like Oswald Cobblepot’s biography. Robin said a line in Episode 7 of season 4 where Oswald was expressing how hard it was to a crime lord in Gotham to Sofia Falcone. So I put on the front of the cover “No one appreciates how hard it is to be a Crime Lord” added extra bits to back to make it look like a real dust book cover. I kept changing my mind the week leading up to the convention as I thought it was possibly a stupid idea, but I am glad I didn’t listen to my inner doubts. The book I had covered was a copy of a Kickstarter project I had backed a couple of years ago called “Men of Science Fiction.” Robin is featured in the book so I wanted to get it autographed. With Robin already having seen what I had made himself and his very helpful agent Liam, asked If I wanted a photo with it but I explained that I intended to use it in my next professional photo op with Robin later which they both thought was a great idea. Phew! Photo op was success loved my photo and another one to add to my collection of memories. Finishing up the photo op session was a another duo with Robin and Cory and a Cory solo. The photo op experience is fast but so much fun and definitely one of my favourite moments of the weekend.
I also took the opportunity to meet and get an autograph from Brandon Routh as I missed the opportunity last year and he played a great version of Superman. Again meeting didn’t disappoint and he was genuinely interested when i told Brandon that I had recently visited the Dc Exhibition and saw his Superman costume.
Another great weekend was over. So many highlights to mention and one thing for sure it’s absolutely fantastic meeting your idols from film and television but it’s the people I have through social media because of our mutual interest in Gotham, DC and Marvel.