I have been attending MCM London Comic-con for a decade now, and I do not know if that makes me qualified to write this or gives me rose coloured glasses where all red flags just look like flags. With ReedPop taking over, I think there are some flags, but there are a lot of good things too. It is all about your personal experience. With my friends, I had a good time.
It’s busier than it’s ever really been for an October con. Being towards the end of the year, October has always been the quieter convention but the more mainstream it gets, the busier it’ll get.
There were some flags with staff, the new prop policy being an issue. However, there were lots of improvements with lines, panels, and guests. The following is my experience during October MCM 2019 and should be seen as an opinion if you had a different experience do let us know!
Ticket prices and lines
The prices do keep getting higher and I know that angers a lot of you but see it this way, we keep getting more for our money, more organization, more guests and panels. It was just under £80 which is steep, but it shouldn’t be getting any more expensive anymore after October. So if £80 is still within your budget then I think it is worth it to a degree.
The lines were swift, which was new to me. It was so quick on the Friday morning for weekend tickets, some of us wondered if we had somehow skipped the line altogether. I have never seen it so organised before.
A friend of mine attended only for a day on Saturday and had the same experience with the lines. He arrived at around 11 am, so most people had already gotten their wristbands. The prices are more reasonable for the day and he said he was able to do everything he had set out to do when he arrived.
Staff – What were they like.
Most years, I have interacted with friendly staff, one staff member even offering to help me “steal” the giant wonder woman posters. I did get permission, but it was still funny that they helped me take the giant cardboard posters outside and back to my hotel.
When it came to needing help with anything this year, the staff was willing and friendly. They’re human and they want to enjoy themselves as we do, if you treat them with respect, they will do the same. Most of my issues with staff weren’t really their fault but the general rules that they have put into effect since the convention have gotten so busy, or bad communication through different types of staff members.
One of my group attended con, dressed as Negan using the same prop bat, he brings every single year. This year it was deemed as too dangerous and confiscated. Which was frustrating as you have to come back at the end of the day just to be able to pick it up again.
Normally I would agree that when things get busier, we must get stricter and more careful, but they aren’t careful. With a weekend ticket, I got in no problem with my prop sword. It never got checked! Only because I didn’t go through the ticket checking entrance. This is not an issue with the staff but with the general organisation at the convention by Reedpop.
Overall if that is my biggest issue with the staff then I’m pretty sure it has improved over the last decade.
The stalls – shopping
The stalls like most years are a big part of the convention. I have been going a lot and every year I spend more and more time in the Comic Village. It is a wonderful amalgamation of artists and creatives coming together to sell/show off their wonderful work. I feel like it has gotten bigger with every passing year, filled with more regulars that I make sure to see every London MCM convention. For example I make sure to find Ohayouclothing, sushiartstudio and a few others.
The more mainstream stalls are still good too, although I find that every other stall tends to sell the same thing for different prices so it’s worth looking around more than once to find what you want for the cheapest possible price. Do not hesitate to look up certain things online as it might be available online for even cheaper!
I personally try to use MCM as a way of buying things I cannot get elsewhere.
Luckily Reedpop is very on top of where things are placed in the halls, opening more halls for all the space needed to. Using the maps placed all around the Excel Centre, I was able to find the stands I wanted to visit. Comic Village isn’t as represented on the maps but the specific stalls I wanted to visit tended to put their placement up on social media, or I wandered till I found them.
Panels – What were the ones we attended like?
From the panels that were attended within my group, the consensus seems to be that since Reed Pop took over, the panels have been much more organised. They were relatively easy to find and get to, if this was not the case then the staff was helpful and able to point us in the right direction as well as big screens near each stage, telling us what was on.
The Cosplay stage where Eurocosplay was being held was the only one difficult to find as it wasn’t in its own area like the mainstage. It was lost in the crazy shuffle that is Comic-Con.
The Witcher Panel: a large much sought-after panel as so many of us are excited for the Witcher Netflix show coming out, was very busy. It was a first look panel showing us what to expect with the cast and crew attending. We got actual inside conversations and inspirations, so it was more than just PR and advertising. Andrew known as Moosebooks said it personally “calmed [his] concerns about the show, so it did a great job hyping up [his] interest for it. Before [he] was going to wait what and see what people thought, but now [he’s] happy to give The Witcher ago based on the footage [shown in panels].”
The See panel, starring Jason Mamoa had similar vibes with crew talking about the show coming out, inciting similar interest in the panel goers.
These panels were good, however, that did mean it was insanely busy in the panel halls. Author panels tend to be quieter. Which I believe is a good thing for the people that attend. It is more chill and a comfortable environment. The panels were informative and in-depth with a lot of crowd interaction towards the end.
A way to understand the minds of the writes and what goes into writing in general. Reedpop tries to get a lot of authors for these panels, and you get to see what they feel and think about writing and how they approach it. It had led some of us to buy a fair few new books that we may not have bought before, purely because of these panels.
The biggest reason I go to comic con is because of the cosplay and how big it is. I did not get a chance to attend the competitions, but I did get to see many amazing costumes this year! Every year people just keep getting better and more creative with what they bring, even if Reedpop is getting stricter with the prop policy.
A few personal favourites were: Cumbermatch and his insanely accurate Dr Strange who took a photo with chaos_quinzel‘s awesome Femstrange, josephanthonypettit‘s Gladio with a sword I couldn’t even lift, Gotham_gwen‘s Hawk Girl and beast_awakens‘ Homelander.
There were so many cosplay’s that I loved but unfortunately did not catch their names, so these aren’t the only cosplay’s that I loved over the weekend.
Besides the masquerade and competitions, there are meets too for people to attend but I find some of the meets are too busy. The stranger things meet, however, was small and personal, and I got to meet likeminded people as well as get a few fun photos with people! I like the smaller meets as they’re a chance to meet people who like the same thing. Bigger meets like Marvel or DC are so busy that I never end up talking to people as much.
When it comes to the conventions as the Excel building, the party doesn’t stop for some of us who attend the local bar, The fox which in on-premises.
Being London, it isn’t surprising that the prices are through the roof. The fox has a small dance floor where us nerds can dance to old music with an inexperienced DJ who hopes everyone there is too drunk to notice that the music taste is terrible.
I go to see people and hang out, chat, have a fun time. I dance to the terrible music still and I tend to enjoy myself but this year was lacklustre. The music was even worse than usual and the fox isn’t even really trying anymore, however, The fox is the only proper nearby bar where people can dance so they don’t feel like they need to try. Which isn’t entirely true because most attendees are now going to the Novotel bar instead.
Overall, I still enjoyed myself but that is probably because I have friends I like to see and talk to and it wouldn’t matter where we are. Do you go out at MCM London?
The article was written by candyylocks.