Written by Shaolin Monkey
Good evening Citizens! It has been quite some time since I last regaled you with tales of judicial derring-do. As convention season has well and truly kicked off again I thought it only proper that I chat to you about the incredible fun I had at yet another large convention, this time in Earls Court in London on one of the hottest days of the year, but also with the biggest turn-out of Judges probably ever seen up to that point.
Yes, I’m talking about the London Film and Comic Convention! It is the only convention so far that has beaten my first experience of cons, the London Super Comic Con. You may remember I waxed lyrical about that some time ago. Before I launch into another rendition of the antics of Mega City One’s finest, I would like to provide my usual service of giving you the last line of this missive, to save you the time of skimming down to the bottom for the final summary. It is ‘We can’t get enough of The Cock.’
After a trek down from Cardiff to London with my gear in a kit-bag supplied by the generous James Stacey, I met up with Judge Court and Judge Lemmy plainclothes in a pub just outside the venue. This was the first time I had met Lemmy, an amiable and articulate Scottish lad with a penchant for Metal, fine Eddie Maiden-related ales and facial hair. I knew we were going to get on immediately.
As we were representing the Galactic Knights cosplay group we decided to head in to the venue that Friday evening, flashing our passes, to help sort out the group display tables. We found a hive of activity – many people were doing a preliminary show of their exhibits and costumes, a preview of what was to come over the following 48 hours. Seeing this, we made the decision to get our kit from our respective hotel rooms, and harangue some of the early convention goers. After a quick change, and a surprise SJS inspection for Judge Lemmy (see below), we set out to intimidate all and sundry.
This turned out to be a very relaxed and fun affair, and we even had our own spotter (a first for me), a charming lass from the Galactic Knights group. She accompanied us, taking photos and generally making sure we didn’t do anything too mean to anyone. It was also an opportunity for me to catch up with some folk I hadn’t seen since LSCC, months previously. One of my favourite folk was Jerri, aka Choupett Cosplay (look up her Facebook page), who had previously posed with me as an excellent Lara Croft. On that particular evening she was a rather fetching Nathan Drake from the game Uncharted.
Judge Lemmy instantly fell into character. For the majority of photos we were having people down on their knees, hands behind their heads, with us stood behind menacingly. A couple of women had been waiting their turn and they immediately adopted the same pose.
‘Did I say to get on your knees?’ barked Judge Lemmy.
They women worriedly stood back up, to whom Lemmy ordered ‘NOW get down on your knees.’
The following day turned out to be an absolute scorcher. Just moving my kit from hotel to convention at 9.30am turned out to be a humid and sweaty affair. Getting there, we met up with Judge Burdis. He and I decided to do a circuit of the exterior of the Earls Court centre, as folk began to queue. These stretched all the way around the building, despite how early it was, and it was during this first patrol I realised just how sadistic Judge Burdis can be. First of all, he kept a tally of the number of small children he intimidated to the point of screaming whimpering messes. As he leaned over each and growled, and the inevitable tears flowed, he would then announce to the uncomfortable parents ‘That’s number <insert number between 1 and 20 here>’.
Also, we encountered our favourite victi- er… perpetrator, Wendy Payne. We were strolling menacingly along pausing now and then to bark orders at convention goers not staying in line. Then Burdis spotted a baseball capped Wendy in the queue, belted over to her and knocked her cap right off her head onto the floor with one upward sweep. I can’t remember what he said next – something like ‘Littering is an offence Citizen’.
There was a massive intake of breath from the whole queue, who went deathly quiet with shock. I think they thought a Judge had seriously assaulted her! I couldn’t help roaring with laughter at the scene, which probably didn’t make a good impression either. Fair play to Wendy, she takes the abuse from all the Judges in good spirits. In fact, she may actually like it…
The morning continued to introduce me to new Judges. First of all I met the lovely Integra Fairbrook for the first time, model extraordinaire, and official Judge Anderson for Planet Replicas. I was surprised how petite she was, as her promotional photographs always have a strong presence. It must be her Psi-powers. I’m not the tallest person in the world, but seemed to loom over her.
Then I met Ian Sparrowhawk, who really is massive! He was playing the man himself – Judge Dredd. With his huge jaw, height and presence, he fitted the part very well. I’ve never dared to try playing Dredd; I have the badge, but not the chutzpah. Ian pulled it off, and in every pic just towers over everyone else, including Integra and I.
Other first time meets included Mitch Greer and Becky Millington, who had put a hell of a lot of effort into their awesome kind-of-home-made Judge uniforms. Theirs even included boot holsters for their Lawgivers! We patrolled together for a while, pausing for the ever-present photo requests, and even arrested a whole bunch of Stargate folk.
Then of course there was the multi-talented Lee Fields in his home-made 2012 uniform build. He was one of many 2012 Judges, including the ever-cheerful Paul Labelle from Iconic Legion. In fact, they both tried to arrest me while I was in plain clothes – I forgot the code words again!
At various points in the day we all took time out for a breather due to the heat, allowing me the opportunity to ‘arrest’ my fellow Judges:
As the day wore on we got hotter and hotter. Outside was an absolute furnace, and inside was a sweaty humidity trap. Thankfully Steve Green and Steven Sterlaccini accompanied us for a large part of our patrol, and kept us constantly hydrated with bottles of water. I’m very glad they did – the attention we got was so akin to that of LSCC it was impossible to move anywhere without a request for pictures, or interacting with other cosplayers. I would probably have forgotten to drink water, which could have led to all kinds of problems. Even stepping outside for fresh air didn’t help, as the temperature was ridiculously high, even in the shadows of Justice.
Of course we weren’t the only folk in outfits or trying to stay in character. While we saw many technically superb get-ups, such as Iron Man, Predator, Alien, Daenerys and so on, it was the folk who stayed in character the whole time who impressed me most. There were two in particular that really did it for me – Austin Powers, and Vyvyan Basterd.
Austin was fantastic, originally just wanting a picture with us for his own collection, but stopping for a few minutes for other attendees to enjoy the fun. As we put him in various arrest poses, his strangled cries of ‘Ooh groovy baby!’ and ‘put your stick on my chin, baby, yeah’ elicited howls of laughter from onlookers. Even after we finally released him he swaggered off with the usual Powers Mojo intact.
Vyvyan Basterd was a different matter altogether. Despite also staying completely in character, including posture, facial expressions and voice, arresting him required a very special blend of psychology and extreme violence.
Throughout both days we arrested a whole bunch of folk, and made our presence thoroughly felt. I present to you here a medley of images which gives you a flavour of the proceedings.
Of course, we saw a whole bunch of stars and celebrities. For example, that guy from The Walking Dead who all the womenfolk swoon over (Daryl?) actually squeezed past us when we were changing into our uniforms on the Sunday morning. It took me a few seconds to realise what had just happened, and was one of those WTF! moments. However, the highlight for most (if not all) of us was capturing Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) herself!
As we walked in to get our pic taken with her she looked up, startled, and muttered ‘Oh fuck!’ It’s a great pic, my only regret being I wish I’d leaned in to Judge Court a little closer, as I’m almost out of frame on the right there. However, I made up for this later by getting a pic on my own with Lena holding a Slo Mo inhaler. Obviously it’s actually an asthma pump, an idea Lee Fields and I knocked about in the pub the night before. Not quite as effective looking as the film inhaler, but still vaguely amusing I thought.
Of course, once I’d deposed the Lannister Queen, it was a simple matter of claiming the Iron Throne for myself.
Steve Green was on hand to take some truly epic photos, which we all gleefully spread across Facebook as much as we possibly could for days after the event. We’re nothing if not attention seeking media whores! However, what happened next was remarkable. A couple of people were truly inspired by Steve’s superb photography skills, taking his pictures and adding a littl extra to them.
Here are three of my favourites, the first two by David R Shires, and the final one by a talented guy named Richard Thomson, who also appears in the last as Judge Spike!
So there you have it! I have so much more I could tell you, or pictures I could show you. Some of Judge Burdis’s highlights included taking on The Terminator, getting some streetsmart advice from Max Normal, and dealing with someone suffering from Cassidium exposure. Integra was interviewed outside in the blazing heat, with Burdis on parade duty behind her, which you can probably find on Youtube. We bumped into loads of other celebrities, chatted to a whole bunch of other cosplayers, spent a fortune on trinkets, and an even bigger fortune in the pub on Saturday night. Oh, and we made the ITV news! Here’s a screenshot of our appearance, in an article they did on the LFCC event itself.
We’re all going to be attending LFCC again this year, alongside goodness knows how many 2012 uniformed Judges, and hopefully some additional Planet Replica Judges too. Feel free to come and say hello; we don’t really beat people into submission. Often. We just look like we might. Also, I forgot to mention the awesome bar we found – The Cock. It is just around the corner from Earls Court, and we had a great time there last year. We’ve all agreed we’ll be going back this time around, so come and have a pint (or five) with us! It’s a fantastic place – we’re guaranteed to be there. We can’t get enough of The Cock.