The second and final MCM London convention of 2019 arrived at the London ExCel on the 25th to the 27th of October, two years since it was announced that ReedPop would be joining forces with MCM.
During the first year, the acquisition did not make too much of a difference to London convention goers, but over the course of 2019, MCM ticket holders have started to notice improvements being made to the convention. Although ticket prices have slowly crept up, the London convention has seen bigger guest names, more space and a better variety of panels, with exclusive merchandise and stall holders making the ticket prices worthwhile.
MCM London October saw a much bigger gaming area than before, with many ideas and areas that matched up with the gaming convention EGX, which is not surprising as it is also owned by ReedPop and was held in the same venue not long before MCM. Many big up-and-coming games such as Cyberpunk 2099 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake chose MCM London to give fans a glimpse of the games pre-release, with Cyberpunk even having an entire indoor staged area.
Unlike previous conventions, there was a huge Sony presence that took up a fair amount of hall space. As well as demos of the latest PS4 games, there was also an entire area dedicated to the PlayStation VR. Xbox also had their own smaller area with the Xbox Game Pass Zone. However, one major name missing from the convention in October was Nintendo. Although there were various Nintendo Switch games being showcased at various stands, there was no overall Nintendo stage or area as has been the case with previous MCM conventions. This was especially surprising with both Luigi’s Mansion 3 and the new Pokémon game being released not long after the convention. However, Nintendo were there in spirit with legendary voice actor Charles Martinet being present to meet and entertain fans.
After featuring comic book royalty like Frank Miller and Chris Claremont at their October 2018 convention, the comic book guests since then have been rather lacklustre, to say the least. However, with the organiser from London Super Comic Con involved in the comic village side of things, there are certainly some areas that have improved and the bigger comic book names are starting to come across the pond. Indeed, there were some well-known names such as George Perez, John Wagner and Kieron Gillen mixed in with the other artists and writers in the Comic Village this year.
The layout of the Comic Village is constantly improving and had a lot more space to fully immerse yourself in the amazing art on display when compared to previous years. The way that big-name guests were scattered among the indie creators helped give the convention a similar feel to NYCC, which is also owned by ReedPop. Having a stage where the comic creators can hold their own panels in also a nice touch, and shows that the comics side of the convention is definitely still important to MCM. Another nice touch was the fact that one of the convention exclusives was an 80 Years of Marvel collection by Panini.
There were the usual small publishers and comic book shops present, but stands from the “big two” of DC and Marvel were still conspicuous by their absence. For MCM to be as good as the American conventions like NYCC, the big-name publishers need to be attending, including the likes of Image Comics, Dark Horse and IDW Publishing.
The media guests included “King of the Nerds” Simon Pegg and the stars of the recent IT film. Unlike the October 2018 and May 2019 events there were no big cast members from the Avengers franchise, but there were many other guests to meet such as the RWBY cast, who are ReedPop regulars, and various voice actors.
The panels have definitely improved since ReedPop took over, and the October convention was no different. There were a larger variety of panels, and in addition to guests simply doing panels to coincide with their attendance, there were also a lot more stars just coming to the convention specifically for panels that advertise the upcoming shows such as Pennywise and the new Witcher series.
Workshops have been a nice addition across all the MCMs, but they are not well advertised and, as a result, are very hard to find. The Silver Sabres no longer attend MCM, but you can still get your Star Wars fix with the but 501st Legion.
The anime side of the convention was once again spotlighted like the MCM days of old, with Jonathon Ross introducing two brand new anime shows on Crunchyroll. The Asian food area and Pop Asia were also still present and popular. Next to the Pop Asia area was the ever-growing cosplay zone. There are multiple competitions ranging from the standard masquerade to the Championships of Cosplay qualifiers, as well as an entire cosplay area with a stage for panels and workshops, as well as the usual repair area and changing rooms.
Overall, whilst the convention price has increased over the past two years, the improvements to MCM can definitely be seen by the ticket holders, and attendees can only hope that the convention continues to grow and expand under the management of ReedPop.