Pictures: MCM London Comic Con review - costumes, crowds and a day out with my inner geek (From News Shopper)
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Pictures: MCM London Comic Con review - costumes, crowds and a day out with my inner geek
Some people will see the MCM London Comic Con as just a large gathering of weirdoes while others will think it’s the coolest event to have taken place in London last weekend.
Luckily, or unluckily depending on your view, I stand firmly in the latter category – and last weekend I finally got my first taste of comic con after publishing several articles about it previously but never having been able to attend.
My inner geek had been on at me to go for ages so it was great to be able to take him at last, along with the family, for a day out at Excel in Docklands that proved to be both fun and eye-opening.
London Comic Con, if you didn’t know, is billed as Britain's biggest pop culture event. It takes place twice a year as a celebration of all things related to comic books and sci-fi including cult TV, movies, art, books and video games.
A large part of the overall exhibition space, expanded from 25,000 to 34,000 square metres this time, was taken up with what can best be described as a huge market selling of kinds of clothes and jewellery, toys and of course comic books. That inner geek of mine convinced me to pick up a few comic books, which will of course remain in their plastic coverings never to be read in the hope their value might one day increase.
There was also an area dedicated to video games which featured publishers such as Nintendo, Warner Bros and Namco Bandai giving players the chance to get hands-on with some current and upcoming games including Deadfall Adventures and Batman Arkham Origins.
Other attractions included the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series, the finals of the EuroCosplay Championship 2013 (cosplay being a fancy word for role-playing) and eSports computer game tournaments.
The showpiece of last weekend, as it has been at other comic cons, was the array of star guests from various popular entertainment franchises.
This time stars from Lost Girl, Haven; Warehouse 13 and Under The Dome were treated with reverence by their adoring fans.
My wife was delighted to meet a bloke from Torchwood, one of her favourite shows. Sadly for him, but fortunately for us, there wasn’t much of a queue to see him – which may have had something to do with the £15 charge for a signed picture.
There were two things at comic con which made the strongest impact on me.
The first was the scale of dressing up that went on. I expected to see some people in costumes but I think it’s fair to say the majority of visitors had dressed up to some extent.
Some people had clearly only been on eBay to pick up some tat or been down the local fancy dress shop to hire a costume rather than making anything. These people weren’t worried about impressing anyone, they just seemed to be using the liberation provided by the event to finally dress up as superheroes without looking like complete loons, comfortable in the safety of a crowd doing likewise – and good luck to them, I thought.
Other people had obviously gone to huge lengths with their costumes, spending a lot of time (and money in some cases) to create elaborate and authentic looking costumes based on their favourite characters.
The diversity of outfits was remarkable. There were obviously the standards from Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who but there were also plenty of characters I wouldn’t have expected to see from various games, shows and movies. The creativity on display was immense.
The other memory I took from my first comic con was the size of the crowd. The event was quite quiet around mid-morning on the Saturday but by lunchtime people were packed into the main space like sardines in a tin. The only way to get around was to slowly shuffle along shoulder to shoulder with other visitors, squeezing through any small gaps in the traffic which emerged.
This October’s comic con had a record-breaking 88,000 visitors through the doors, beating the show's previous high of 76,000 attendees back in May.
It didn’t detract from the fun too much, but the numbers of people definitely made it harder to get around as the day wore on and much more difficult to get close enough to things to take a good look.
The next MCM London Comic Con takes place in May and I hope to be there for a second time to see more of what it’s all about and to give my inner geek another outing – who knows, maybe even I’ll be tempted to suit up.
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