After a two-year absence thanks to COVID-19, MCM London returned to the ExCel Centre for the weekend of the 22nd to the 24th of October 2021.
Highlights included guests such as Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Cox, free panels from the stars (as well as a full-packed schedule of fun-filled other panels), the return of Artists Alley, the big cosplay competition and the fan meets.
The convention ended up being a bit of a Loki-con, with the major draw being the panel with Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Sophia Di Martino (Sylvie) and Jonathan Majors (He Who Remains) talking about the hit Disney+ show. A separate auditorium was set up just for this panel alone, so that as many fans as possible could attend. To keep the panel covid-safe, everyone in that panel had to wear a mask, and there was a separate hall screening the panel for those that were exempt. As well as the panel, Sofia was doing autographs and Tom and Jonathon greeted fans with both autographs and photo opportunities.
Cosplay is always a huge part of MCM, with this latest event being no exception. With the recent Marvel shows having entertained fans throughout lockdown, there was bound to be a lot of cosplays from the Disney+ shows. There were a few WandaVision cosplays, but the most popular outfits were definitely from Loki. Every single variant was covered by cosplayers, and there was even an official Loki cosplay meet. Little did the fans know though, that there would be a very special guest variant appearance. Tom Hiddleston was so impressed with all the Loki cosplays, he personally asked to be involved in the meet somehow, and to the delight of fans, he surprise photobombed the meet and stayed to chat to the crowd for a while afterwards.
For a lot of people, this was their first taste of life getting back to normal and being reunited not only with friends they hadn’t seen for two years, but also surrounded by thousands of other comic con goers. Tickets were reduced to help with capacity, but the amount of space that ReedPop had provided between aisles also meant that you never felt crushed or overcrowded. The negative side to the space was that the key big names such as Funko, EMP, Nintendo and Playstation were missing, which did disappoint many fans. However, instead of the usual big gaming area, RePlay events had a large space where ticket holders could chill and play retro games. Artist’s Alley was also a lot more spaced out, which made it easier to browse the amazing art, but did mean there were also some comic book names missing. Even the Pop Asia area had some favourites such as the katsu curry stand missing.
Although England does not have any restrictions currently in place, ReedPop made sure to make everyone at the convention feel as safe as possible. You could only enter the convention with proof of a recent negative lateral flow test or showing your proof of vaccination, and this had to be done not just once, but every day you were at the convention. Whilst your tickets to the convention might have lasted the weekend, each day had a separate-coloured wristband to show that you had shown you were safe to enter the convention on each individual day. There was also hand sanitizer placed frequently throughout the convention halls and corridors to keep the convention clean, and when in the autograph or photo-areas, masks and once again showing proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test was needed.
Having known many people that went to the convention over the weekend, not a single one of us got ill after the convention not only from covid, but of any of the usual ‘con-crud’ that hits after a long weekend at the con, so people will be able to feel very safe about attending conventions in the future.
Everyone I spoke to at the convention was just happy to be back doing what they love and seeing friends again in person after two years away, so although the convention was a lot smaller and left some fans wondering what they’d paid for, there was still a lot to see and have a fun-packed weekend with.