May MCM London Comic Con: Review Part 2
The long weekend of Friday 22nd May until Sunday 24th May 2015 saw the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London, UK filled exhibitioners and visitors from all over the world for MCM London Comic Con. The event, held bi-annually in London, occurs every May and October, with the numbers of convention-goers for October 2014 hitting 110,000 people. This May saw 122,634 visitors passing through, making this event easily one of the biggest of its kind this year so far.
You may have already read the report for Friday 22nd May from our Editor, Scott. If not, may I direct you towards this link here: www.renegade-revoltion.com/london-mcm-comic-con-may-2015/ . This article covers MCM London Comic Con for the rest of the weekend.
In general, the Saturday of any convention is usually the busiest. MCM London Comic Con was no exception. October 2014 saw MCM limit the number of tickets being sold, which could be seen live via their website. Tickets available for MCM London Comic Con included a single day priority entry, allowing advanced entry into the event, single day general entry tickets and a weekend priority entry ticket that covered the long weekend. The tickets not sold from the quota online would then be available to purchase on the day, subject to availability. Due to popularity, Saturday tickets sold out online a few weeks prior to the event commencing and MCM published an announcement via social media advising people who had not purchased a ticket in advanced not to turn up on the Saturday expecting to buy on the day entry. Despite this, some members of Renegade Revolution who attended on the Saturday still saw people turning up on the day in the hope of buying a ticket on the door, although they were unsure if this was because people had not checked the website/social media or if they were aware and chose to try their luck regardless.
In comparison to last year, this year saw the layout of MCM London Comic Con mirrored; with the entrance for general tickets and food/resting places on the North side of the ExCeL Exhibition Centre and the main event on the South side. Although weekend ticket holders were allowed in via the main entrance of the ExCeL on the Friday, some of our members found that for the Saturday and Sunday, they had to instead walk around the side of the convention centre in order to gain access. Whilst I am not sure of the official reason why, I can only hazard a guess that this was due to the fact that more people attended on the Saturday and Sunday as opposed to the Friday. For people considering attending the next MCM London Comic Con event this October, I would strongly advise keeping an eye on the official social media sites – as well as the official website – to avoid the disappointment of tuning up on the day with the intention to buy tickets on the door, only to find that they have already sold out.
The convention itself was well organised. Maps were included in the convention books with a key to all the exhibitors present. Whatever interests people had, there seemed to be a stall present that catered for these. From anime DVDs and cosplay accessories to board games and geeky t-shirts. There was even an area dedicated to artists in order to display and sell their works, which was extremely inspiring. Even one of our favourite attractions from an earlier convention, London Super Comic Con – the SyFy FanCam – made an appearance; with convention-goers queueing up for over hours to have themselves captured in a “bullet-time” action pose. When attending on the Saturday morning, we had to queue for over an hour before we got to the front of the line – although this was due to some technical faults. However, the SyFy staff were keen updating waiting visitors on the situation (although if, like the couple behind us in the queue, you chose not to pay attention and then rant about it, that’s nobody’s fault but your own!).
As mentioned before, Saturdays are generally the busiest day of any weekend-running convention. However, with the recent limitation on tickets sold, MCM London Comic Con did not suffer as much with an overcrowding situation when compared to events prior to last October. This was one of the most notable improvements that MCM have made over the last year. Another recent positive change is the fact that MCM have opened one of the areas opposite the convention hall, allowing visitors to have a place to sit down and rest away from the crowd. On top of the permanent food stalls that occupied the ExCeL Exhibition Centre, temporary food and beverage vendors inhabited the rest hall, offering visitors even more of a range of things to eat and drink – once again, away from the main convention hall crowds.
Sunday was, in contrast, a quieter day – however, it was still busier than the Friday of the convention. Sellers and visitors were still going about their business with as much enthusiasm as the previous two days, so if you plan to attend on just the Sunday for future events, do not worry about things “winding down” in the convention hall. At least not until an hour or so until closing time. If you are the claustrophobic kind of person, we at Renegade Revolution would recommend attending on a Sunday if you are unable to attend the Friday session due to work/study commitments.
No comic convention is without attending cosplayers and MCM London Comic Con was no exception. In fact, the majority of convention-goers that our team from Renegade Revolution saw over the long weekend were in some form of cosplay or another. Both the interior and exterior of the ExCeL was filled with brightly coloured and eye-opening costumes from a mixture of anime, games, movies and comics; all ranging in complexity and skill. There were even cosplay group shoots – usually organised via social media like Facebook – where cosplayers from a similar series gathered to share their love and take photos together.
This is not to say that if you did not attend in cosplay, you would feel left out. However, we did notice a couple of visitors in plain clothes passing some not very nice comments and even poking/grabbing pieces of cosplayer’s costumes and props without permission. My view on this kind of behaviour is simple: The cosplayers attending conventions are also paying visitors. They are also human beings. Please do not feel that because somebody is attending in a costume, it is a reason to belittle or damage their outfits and props. You would not consider behaving like that to another person in the street and a convention is no different to that situation. A little respect, people!
On a more positive note, this May’s MCM London Comic Con hosted quite a variety of guests. With stars from shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ to voice actors such as Mark Meer and mecha illustrator Hidetaka Tenjin, again, MCM provided a little something for everyone attending. Convention-goers were also given the chance to attend Q&A panels with some of the announced guests – bringing a more personal touch to their experience. We highly recommend checking out the guest list for these events in advanced so that you will be able to plan your day – or days – at conventions in advanced.
In short, MCM London Comic Con was a convention that was both busy from the sheer number of visitors, as well as in the sense that there was always something going on for convention-goers to indulge in: From talks and Q&A panels to stalls and vibrant cosplayers wandering about, it was extremely easy to lose track of the time spent inside the ExCeL Exhibition Centre. We at Renegade Revolution were impressed with the improvements made in order to make the convention a more pleasurable experience for the attendees and look forward to the next event later on this year. We definitely recommend having some cash on yourself when you arrive for the convention as there was always a huge queue for the cash machines, as well as charging your camera batteries in preparation for the many photos of amazing cosplays that you will find here.
MCM London Comic Con returns over the long weekend of Friday 23rd October until Sunday 25th October 2015 at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre, London. As usual, the Renegade Revolution team look forward to seeing you there.
Photos © Jojo Yap and Scott Sanderson, 2015.