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Home The Blue Diary Articles REVIEW: MCM London Comic-Con (29th October 2016)


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logo - mcm comic con thumbnail

MCM London Comic-Con October: Review by Mark Searby

MCM London Comic-Con’s October event has, in previous years, been a smaller event compared to their spring weekender. This year, with cheaper than usual entry prices and ‘kids go free’, it could be perceived as a ‘small in scale’ convention that finishes up the nerd exhibition season, here in the UK.

No such luck, it seems.

Stepping of the DLR tube at the ExCel Centre made me re-evaluate that opinion on my visit on the Saturday of the event – it was as bustling and busy as their April event. Vague lines formed to get pre-paid tickets zapped and acquire a wristband for entry; this congestion was the primary downside of the con as people poured in without any real crowd control. Fortunately, con goers all shuffled up and kept on shuffling while the few staff on hand dealt with the throng of general entry tickets.

Thirty minutes later, and we were in the main walkway of the centre and, if it was busy in the line waiting to get in, then it had nothing on the central walkway. It resembled something out of THE WALKING DEAD, with the hallway filled with shuffling zombies, perhaps not in decaying appearance but the directionless freedom to walk anywhere, with crowds filling every crevice from top to bottom. Making a dart across into the North side of the ExCel, we were greeted with fewer crowds, even though we were confronted with even more stalls selling a range of items including t-shirts, collectables and cookware.

[slick- flickr tag="MCMComic-ConOctober2016-3"]

MCM Comic-Con was born out of a London based Asian/Anime-centric convention and many of the items for sale still reflecting the roots of of the event, in full flow over the weekend: the smell of Chicken Katsu curry wafted around, there were plenty of Asian tableware stalls selling all manner of cooking and drinking utensils, and the spotting of plush Llamas For Sale has now become a regular tradition at MCM Comic-Con, not disappointing this year either. I remain baffled – I don’t understand the “thing” with selling stuffed llamas! Maybe I’m just not down with the kids.

Artist Alley was doing a brisk trade with several rows of comics creatives promoting their work with smiles and warm greetings to all. Located directly in front of the special guests was a gaming area with PC gaming competing against consoles as to which had the bigger queues. Needless to say, if you wanted to play any of the new games on offer you were in for a loooooooong wait

The Autograph Area featured such honoured guests as Enver Gjokaj (MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER), Jamie Bamber (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA), Howard Charles and Tamla Kari (BBC’s THE MUSKETEERS), Warwick Davis (STAR WARS, WILLOW), Jemma Redgrave (WAKING THE DEAD, DOCTOR WHO), Sylvester McCoy (er, DOCTOR WHO!), and plenty more.

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After a short lunch break, we took in a slow shuffle over to the south side of the ExCel, separated into two sections for MCM Comic Con. (Top Tip, for those planning to visit the ExCel for an event in the future: take your own sandwiches. The food outlets are expensive and have huge lines). One area was open to go and sit down and relax a little bit away from the hustle and bustle – however, I’m not sure that could be accomplished as there were full funfair rides in that section as well – with the other section featuring a large bevy of stalls and booths, flogging the usual geek related merchandise.

Stalls selling latest and greatest comics, and also offering starter packs of comics for as little as £12. Exclusives are not a big thing at MCM; instead, it is more geared towards second hand merch. If you want original STAR WARS toys still in the box or classic Disney plush figures, then this is the place for you. Just be prepared to pay that little bit extra (“It’s an AT-AT still sealed in its box without damage!” Right…)

[slick-flickr tag="MCMComic-ConOctober2016-7"]

The folks behind MCM Comic-Con are very clever. At first you think the con is a mishmash of different things/guests etc and that none of it all truly fits together. However, what they have done is create a con that appeals to a vast spectrum of attendees. You have loads for the kids, plenty for the Anime fans, tech and talks for the online-all-the-time millennials and for those remaining there will always be one or two nuggets of gold in there whether it is artists or comics or special guests or even just a ride on the waltzer. MCM London Comic-Con ends up being a con that doesn’t feel like a nerd event, even though it is.

With what felt like more and more people filling the venue with every turn, it was time to make our own ‘zombie walk’ shuffle out of the ExCel and head home – sadly, without time for us to head over to the YouTube’ers / New Media section or upstairs to the theatres that where showing cartoons, short films and talks with some of the special guests. Even so, for us, this was a quick yet another enjoyable visit to MCM London Comic-Con.


Photos by Sam Payne

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