From May 27th-29th, the Excel Arena was once again host to the largest comicon in the UK, and our resident cosplay expert Louise was there to document the sights and sounds and share her experience of the event with us.
The biggest comic convention in the UK returned to London once again, and this time it was bigger than ever. With a record number of 133,156 people attending over the 3 days, MCM is starting to rival that of the size of some of the bigger US conventions. This year there was mixture of things to please everyone, ranging from comic book guests, stars from some of the biggest TV shows, and even an appearance from movie stars such as Jesse Eisenberg.
With the size of the convention, there is definitely a lot to keep you busy over the three days if you choose to go each day. With a vast amount of stalls to shop from and games to play, there is an endless amount of entertainment. As well as indie games such as the brilliantly fun Lumo, and big hitters like Overwatch, there was also the opportunity to try out the latest in VR technology. There were chances to show of your singing skills in the PopAsia area with anime karaoke, as well as being able to perform to the crowds at the Machinima SBOC stand with Rock Band. For more professional performances, you could sit and listen to singers on the PopAsia stage, or soak up the sun outside whilst dancing along to the bands playing on the outdoor stage.
A big part of MCM and other conventions like it are the cosplayers, and this May was no different. Cosplay, short for ‘costume play’, sees attendees dressing up as their favourite characters. As well as group meets and individual photoshoots, MCM always has a masquerade for cosplayers to enter. This time cosplay was even bigger, with the convention holding the qualifiers for the world cosplay championship for the first time.
MCM often suffers from a lack of big name comic book artists and writers, with more of a focus on TV and film stars. Unlike conventions such as LSCC, the comic side of the convention often gets swept aside. This year, however, there was something for everyone. With talks from Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons, and Iron Man artist Bob Layton signing all weekend, it seems that MCM has finally started to expand on the comics side of the convention.
A great thing about MCM is that once you buy your ticket, everything else is included. If you want to buy photos and autographs, that will cost you extra, but all the panels are open to everyone at no extra cost. There was a diverse range of panels, so whatever reason you were attending MCM, there was a panel for all. Panels ranged from Q and As with TV and movie stars, to panels with comic book writers and artists, anime actors, voice actors and YouTube superstars.
Although MCM is overall a fun weekend for everyone, it did have its bad points. One of the biggest gripes of the weekend was the fact the convention closed off the East entrance. Whilst separating off events from MCM does have its advantages, MCM is such a big event that really they need to have both entrances open. If someone wanted to get a breath of fresh air and didn’t have a press or weekend pass, they had to walk a long way round to renter the building. It also made the West entrance twice as busy, and made it difficult for anyone that had organised group or cosplay meets.
Another thing that was a big issue over the weekend was the photo and autograph queues. The event has been running for many years now, but you still have to queue up on the day if you want an autograph. To pick up a photo from a photoshoot, you can be left standing in a queue for hours.
With it being one of the largest comic conventions in Europe, and reaching similar numbers to that the well-known San Diego Comic Con had back in 2010, MCM is now reaching a size that is getting it noticed world-wide. This year saw it have some of its biggest guests, and with room for the convention to grow even further, it can only get bigger and better in the future.