I have always championed MCM Comic-Con as an event for the people,
the variety in their shows makes sure that whoever attends has a
great time, regardless of their passion.
This has always been in part to the organiser's detail to appeal to a broad spectrum of people.
Unlike the other Comic-Con run by Showmasters which is centric to film and TV media, with Cosplay sometimes bolted on as an afterthought.
Now I have been attending both Comic Con's for around ten years or so. And it's always the MCM Reedpop shows that impress me the most.
Yes, not all their shows are the same or have the same level of fanfare. But the London shows are the big ones, and each new London show has a lot to live up to, as they always seem to knock it out of the ballpark each time.
So here we are in 2021, the Pandemic is still with us, though things are getting better now that people are getting vaccinated.
So two years ago was the last show in London, though there was one in Birmingham in November 2019.
For us at Kick'em in the Ghoulies we never made the October 2019 show but did attend the May 2019 event at Excel.
As usual, that show was fun and was so busy.
So back to today and the last weekend's event of MCM at Excel, the first show since 2019 and one the fans have been waiting for.
We all knew that the first events allowed at the tail end of the Pandemic would be required to impose some criteria for visitors and that some people may be uncomfortable attending such events at this time still, as the Pandemic is still with us.
We knew tickets would be limited as to how many they would allow in the center at any one time. Also, visitors had to comply with either a Covid Pass or a recent PCR test to gain entry.
Excel even had a PCR testing site on the days.
Hand sanitisers were in place, and in certain areas Mask wearing was mandatory, No problem for Ninjas, Spidermen, Huge Robots, and Master Chief then.
So the day arrives and whereof. After a train journey, part of which was a breeze and part which was a nightmare as DLR was running no Beckton trains from Stratford, which made hundreds of people get the Woolich trains and change at Canning Town.
So everyone was packed in, considering only about thirty percent of travellers wear a mask, even though TFL ask everyone to comply by wearing one. Yes, I held my breath for two stops.
TFL need to get their act together for these type of events. Especially at this time.
Anyway arriving at Excel it was a breeze and I was pointed in the right direction to pick up my press pass. After some confusion at the West entrance, I managed to get in, collected my Pass and I was off.
I always do a peruse of the show to see what and who was were, so I might plan my way...
Now I had a Press Interview in the afternoon and I wanted to stay for the Cosplay show.
A Regular at MCM, The Cosplayer in this Totoro Outfit ,ust have been so hot in this all day.
Now one feature we cover here on site is about the games, But I knew
there may not be much in that department as the likes of Nintendo,
Sony, Bandai Namco, and Tecmo did not attend as they usually do.
It's these big companies that in part make Comic-Con Excel what it is. They bring the place alive with their splash of colour and huge stands.
But after I heard they did not attend the EGX show at Excel a couple of weeks prior, I knew those companies are still reeling from the pandemic and they might not have much to show.
Also, the lack of New consoles for sale due to the chip shortage must be a contributing factor. You can't show games if there are no consoles to play them on. And where told this shortage will go on till the beginning of 2023.
There was a Retro area where you could play some old classics across a host of old consoles, all wired up and ready to go. It was fairly busy as people had to queue to get a spot, remember everything needs a clean.
I did not partake as I have access to the old boys at home for the most part.
So what was there at Comic-Con, surprisingly the seller stalls, and Comic area had a lot to peruse. Gaming wise there were sellers of console accessories, Game Figures, T-shirts, and more.
If you wanted Manga DVDs and Blurays, there was one big seller of these, though I think he had the market sewn up as he had little competition this time around, and it showed in his prices.
A couple of the other regular sellers I know we're not there, which was a shame, as I usually stick to the people I know when buying merchandise.
Figures from First4Figures, this Shadow Figure is currently on pre-order on Sega Europes site for a whopping £459
The Majoras Mask from F4F
Created by RARE, the iconic CONKER
This is Mega, a Capcom hero in motion
Another Favourite from the Sega catologue, VYSE from Skies of Arcadia. F4F
Customised Switch controllers and Joycons, Not cheap but cool looking product. Oh those days of when controllers for consoles cost £20. Tech has moved on greatly
A few Customised PS4 controllers in a few guises. Wont make you play any better, but you can say' hey look what I bought.
Dr.Who fans will be pleased, Exterminate
The Doki Doki Pottery stall, selling Japanese Bowls, plates, and Tea sets was popular, I have used them before and have a few bowls of theirs, there often at quite a few different shows, and the seller was doing well, she always had people queuing to pay.
Another regular was the Japanese T-shirt, and Picture seller, again busy because their goods are quality. I could have spent an arm and a leg there but resisted as I have a couple of their T-shirts and two pictures that I have still to hang on my wall.
So it was good to see some regulars I knew.
Now I must say that the stalls were spread out a lot more to keep the halls more Covid safe. Each row had big isles so it was easy for visitors to pass by, As in the past it's like squeezing into a sardine can to around walk some of the stalls. Did I miss being crushed, hell No it was quite nice to just walk.
Maybe that's an idea for future shows, they could space out the stalls, they have the space at Excel, it would just mean using a bigger area.
They could even have a marquee outside at the West Entrance, the area where the Cosplayers show their stuff. Utilise some of that area for some stalls and sellers, especially at the May event when it's warmer.
The cosplayers can use the Waterfront beside the excel as well.
Onto the guests now, again I was curious as to how they would pull this October show off. But somehow they did by getting Tom Hiddleston to show up, though I never got to see him personally.
Other stars included Charlie Cox, Freddy Carter, Nichole Tompkins, David Hayter, and more.
But I must admit I am not too much upon some stars, and apart from Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox, David Hayter, and maybe a couple of the others, I would not have known who they were If they bumped into me.
Basically, I know film stars of big blockbusters or certain Video game voice actors. When it comes to TV series I'm pretty much useless.
I managed to get on the Press interview for David Hayter, the man who is famous for voicing Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid games, but also a screenwriter who has written some stellar stories.
I also know of David Hayter, because he starred as the lead in the live-action version of the Anime series, The Guyver.
The film, Guyver -The Dark Hero is one of my favourite films of the 90s, and it was a blast to sit on his interview. The protagonist in the film who becomes the Guyver is one Sean Barker.
David also hinted that he would be very interested in returning to the role of Solid Snake if offered the part.
Especially as he never got the role for the final games as Kojima went with Kiefer Sutherland...
But now Kojima is no longer at Konami, and they own the rights to MGS and Solid Snake there might be a chance.
Who knows, was he hinting?, maybe an NDA is stopping him from saying.
David Hayter on the Live Stage
Live Stage Bustling
One group of people that were definitely in their element were the cosplayers, there was no stopping them, after two years they were not going to miss, add to this the cosplay area with impromptu gatherings and a mini showcase, they were having a good time.
The Star Wars fans had a lot to be happy about as the Light Sabre team were back, giving lessons on Swordplay using a lightsaber, plus there were many Star Wars-related Cosplayers too.
There was even a kids area named the Treehouse, where parents could take a rest while their kids got busy drawing, or doing block building.
Lots of stalls with independent comic books and artwork, one stand which caught my eye was KUGALI, African inspired Manga comic book bringing African culture in a simple but intriguing format, one of their books also mixed African Culture with Asian culture to appeal to a more diverse audience.
The quality of the books looked of high quality, and the representative I spoke to was saying how they were just there to tell people about the project and sell at this time. Even though they had produced a few titles.
They were very passionate about it all and gave a good breakdown of how they wanted to inspire others to spread their culture, and what better way than in an easy to pick up Manga?
They had screenings of Anime previews and interviews with voice actors and producers via a stream. I didn't go for any of these, because I am sure I can get to see these via a video or stream.
Even though Excel has enough food vendors for all, they do get busy with long queues at times. So it was handy that one hall had an eating area with Japanese and Asian cuisine vendors for those in need of some street food.
Towards the end of the day it was starting to thin out a bit, but the one thing that kept visitors there was the approaching Cosplay show which ended out the day.
As the queues gathered for the event in the main hall I went and got a cuppa and came back and sat down beside the hall, on a comfy chair mind.
Once they started to filter in I got ready for the closing event.
As always the cosplay event at MCM draws the crowds, the auditorium was packed with people standing on the side. The stage was lit and the show began, there were some very good cosplays, some I knew not of the characters, whilst others like Totoro, Tangled, and Halo inspired cosplays got the cheers, even though they had been done before.
But his was a cosplay show and not a competition event that MCM has hosted in the past.
When they will return is anyone's guess, as the big competitions are done in league with Europe, and another is usually for picking a winner for attending the Japan final.
I don't think where to see these shows return for at least another year to eighteen months as entrants come from around the globe to compete.
So was it a good idea to get MCM Comic Con to return in 2021?
These types of shows are host to thousands of visitors, but also some people stayed away as tickets were less in abundance and I know they still had some tickets available.
I say it was a Gamble, though I did not attend the EGX video game show at Excel earlier in the month, I know it was deemed a disaster by the gaming community.
And I know the regular Hyper Japan shows are still on hold till the world gets back to a more stable state, but I think it's a bit harder for them as they have to rely on acts from Japan to make it work.
Now I did overhear a few people commenting that they thought the show was lacking somewhat, But on the other hand, I heard that MCM Comic Con had more video gaming content and stalls than EGX. Which sounds unthinkable, I'm so glad I never knew EGX was on, as I usually attend.
Yes, there was less content compared to other shows from the past, but this was more down to the gaming companies still holding off as I explained earlier.
And yes I have spent three days at Comic-Con before, but even for me as I do concentrate on the gaming side a lot, it did not warrant me attending two days as I had other features to finish on-site as I attended another event two days earlier.
But was it a success for the MCM group, in my opinion, I would say yes, the visitors were having a good time, people queued patiently when they needed to, Like myself its always fun to peruse the stalls and see what's new in the world of Pop culture and media?
The cosplayers were having a good time after not seeing each other for two years.
Visitors getting photo ops and autographs from their favourite stars were in abundance.
And to round it off the Cosplay show brought everyone together, and there was a lot of us in that Main theatre clapping and Cheering the Cosplayers on.
Yes, I know ticket prices had risen slightly this year, and that was a gamble they had to take due to not running the show for two years.
They probably could not have pulled it off without doing so.
It was never going to be their best show, anyone thinking otherwise must be living under a cloud.
I think the MCM group took a gamble and it paid off due to people craving an event like this.
But to make sure they don't lose ground through the grapevine and hearsay, the next London show better be a return to old, even if they have to delay its bit to get it right.
If some element of the show is not available, then they have to try and fill it with something else, add another category to the show, like professional music acts, screen some full-length Anime, or even a new film that maybe is not getting a mainstream cinema release. You can do four screenings in the day.
It was good to be back at MCM Comic Con, I enjoyed my time there. And I look forward to covering the next London event.
My thanks to the MCM Team and the Press department, Aine Nestor, and Courtney Smith.
Hope to see you all next year for another fun-filled Con.