It’s been a while since I’ve made the trip to London for a convention. This year, I had the opportunity to head down once more and I have to say the lineup of guests is what really drew me in. Talent from shows I currently enjoy (Arrow and Agents of SHIELD), people who shaped the direction my life took (Sylvester McCoy) and someone who I could not have more respect for (Felicia Day). Originally I intended to visit on Saturday as would be my norm to such an event, but thinking the event would perhaps be a bit quieter, Sunday seemed to be the right option.
After chatting with some folk, I decided to make an unprecedented leap. I hate city driving. I especially get anxiety thinking about driving around London with the possibility of getting caught up in congestion charges and so on. For anyone else with such thoughts or fears, allow me to lay your minds at rest. The Excel centre is very easy to get to and has ample parking.
One of the things I remember from the previous visit to the convention was the sheer amount of cosplay around. Keep an eye on the web site for a more detailed look on the cosplay at the convention but I just want to stand up and applaud just about every single costume that appeared during the day. Cosplay has grown phenomenally over the last few years and I was genuinely taken aback by the quality of costumes in attendance. Awesome job, people.
Expecting a “quiet” day was definitely optimistic. While I have absolutely no doubt that Saturday was even busier, quiet is not a word that can be used to describe the turn out at the venue. This was actually great to see and one of the things that really struck me was that for the most part, I didn’t feel crowded in the hall, despite the number of people around. There seemed to be enough space allotted to walkways so that attendees could visit stands or walk as they desired. Additionally, the Excel’s North side was open as an extension to the catering and seating area which meant that we (my wife and myself) could find somewhere to rest up whenever we chose to do so.
Thanks to some queue saving from my better half, I managed to achieve one of my objectives for the day. Meet (and possibly interview) Sylvester McCoy. I got a signed photo, had my picture taken with him at the signing table and managed to hand over two pieces of artwork I had drawn of him as something of a thank you for the joy that his performances in Doctor Who, Vision On and Jackanory gave me as a child. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get back to him for an interview that he kindly said he would do if the event quietened before he had to move on for the professional photo sessions.
MCM is a great convention because it offers more than just a single focus. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a comic-convention or a gaming convention as much as the next geek, but having a little of everything is something that appeals more to me precisely because I have more than one interest. Nintendo were present with copies of forthcoming Splatoon amongst other titles. I have to say that I was pleased to see a good deal of interest in the title which looks like it will be a fun twist on the multiplayer shooter genre.
Also on the gaming front, WB Games had an excellent Arkham Knight stand which included a life size batmobile and a preview of some of the cape and cowl designs that will be featured in a forthcoming exhibition in the city of London.
If there’s one thing I would point out as a possible down side, it’s that I don’t really see the event as a Comic Con. I can see that the name brings to mind San Diego and it’s true that the event is along similar lines to that, but probably a quarter (if that) of the hall was dedicated to comic creators and sellers. MCM, in my mind, has always been more about the television shows and the chance to buy some really cool stuff from the diverse selection of stalls on-site.
I also would have liked a little more indication of panels and events that were occuring during the day as well as a clearer system for queuing for signings by the “big name” guests. Having missed out on an interview with Miss Day (I was a day late!), I thought about queuing for a signing so at least I could pass on my regards. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out exactly where to start queuing for a ticket. This may have been me at fault but I couldn’t see any clear direction of this or indeed when any panels were starting at all. The information was available in the MCM Comic Con handout magazine, but I would have liked either announcements or clear signage to have been in place.
On the whole, despite not managing to meet Felicia Day, I had a great (but long and tiring!) day at Excel for the MCM Comic Con. There was plenty of stands to visit during the wanderings around the hall. In fact, I kept noticing new ones on each circuit… though I also misplaced some I intended to return to! The atmosphere was fantastic as well. A crowd of like minded people simply enjoying and revelling in the things they loved. Having the only convention happening at the Excel centre helped create a “residential” feel to the day.
GS Blogger: WedgeDoc