Last bank holiday weekend (25th-27th May 2018) saw the return of the MCM Comic Con to London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre. MCM is London’s biggest comic con that promised attendees a three-day event filled with gaming, comics, art, anime, film, TV and much, much more.
The MCM London Comic Con runs for three days twice a year, falling in May and October. Like last year, the May edition of the show fell on a scorcher of a weekend in the UK, with temperatures reaching the high twenties by the early afternoon. This, however, didn’t deter cosplayers from attending MCM in their full costume gear, which included armour, fursuits, chainmail, ballgowns, spandex superhero suits and more. If you’ve never attended an MCM event, it’s always a colourful and vibrant place to be, with people from all fandoms and walks of life coming together to celebrate some of their favourite interests.
A range of stars from TV and film were also in attendance and available for panels, photos and autographs, including Letitia Wright, Tom Ellis, Kevin Conroy, and many, many more to suit fans with a wide range of interests. Unfortunately, my Arrested Development-loving self was deprived of the planned attendance of the Arrested Development cast, as they recently cancelled their UK press tour, potentially due to recent controversies involving cast members Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter.
The Comics Zone at MCM is a smaller and humbler affair than you might find at some other UK cons that are entirely comics-focused, but it’s given a large amount of space in the ExCeL hall, and was laid-out well so that you had enough room to walk up and down the aisles, browsing for artwork and more. It was also well-attended by some of the UK’s best independent artistic talent–we chatted with a few of them about their craft and their experiences at MCM, the transcripts of which will be published in the coming days. There were plenty of opportunities for fans to pick up prints, original artwork, comics and more by their favourite creative teams, and the UK comics crowd are some of the friendliest bunch of people that I’ve ever met. Artists, writers, letterers, colourists and inkers were all happy to chat with me about their work, and really enjoyed getting to meet fans and attracting new readers to their stories.
As always, the facilities at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre are excellent: there’s a good amount of cloakrooms and bathrooms (as well as changing rooms for cosplayers who don’t want to get strange looks on the tube–though for many, this is part of the fun!), and a wide range of restaurants and cafes to grab a drink and a bite to eat in. These can get busy at times (and I do always feel incredibly sorry for the poor people making endless sandwiches and coffees) but people were generally polite about waiting and queuing–there’s nothing like watching Deadpool waiting for his latte while he hangs out with Sailor Moon.
If you were looking for gifts for friends, or just wanted to splash some cash on the latest merch releases, MCM had you covered. A wide range of pop-culture focused brands were in attendance and selling their wares, including a huge Funko booth (which was like a mini-store inside the con!), a Build-A-Bear stand selling pre-stuffed Pokemon plushies (I was tempted by Eevee, but did not succumb), as well as a large selection of independent dealer’s stalls, selling toys, clothing, accessories and more. I also saw a decrease in stalls selling stolen or counterfeit merchandise–something I commented on in my review of last year’s May event. I don’t know whether the event organisers have been cracking down on this kind of thing, or if stallholders are just becoming increasingly worried about repercussions, but either way, it was refreshing to see more stalls selling legitimate merchandise and artwork.
Video content creators Sneaky Zebra were also in attendance in the event, and created one of their well-known cosplay music videos using cosplayers who were visiting MCM:
Overall, my opinion of MCM hasn’t changed much in recent years: it’s a good, large, well-attended convention that attracts top-tier talent from the entertainment industry. It can, at times, feel difficult to get to where you need to be, or feel harder to have more in-depth conversations with people, due to the large and busy nature of the show, but there are other comic cons in the UK that cater to people looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. MCM London Comic Con is unashamedly big, bold and beautiful, and it will only continue to grow and attract even bigger names in the years to come.
The next MCM London Comic Con event will be held on the 26th-28th of October 2018 at London ExCeL, and tickets for this event will go on sale nearer the show date.