After a two year hiatus on 13-14th November, the NEC Birmingham opened its doors again to eager comic, gaming, film and anime fans attending MCM Birmingham! For many, including myself, it was the first big comic con and we were keen to venture back out into the open.
Like many I dug out my cosplay from the back of the cupboard and in the words of the Red Guardian ”It still fits!” and updated it with a suitably matching face mask.
It won’t have escaped the notice of many attendees that the guest list was significantly shorter than normal events – likely due to travel restrictions and guests wary of attending large events. However other Comic Cons have had a larger and more varied guest list this year so it was disappointing to see quite such a diminutive list.
That said the guests who attended were well-received – plenty of Star Wars cosplays for Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid along with a collection of cowboys meeting the voice cast of Red Dead Redemption.
The Main & Live Stage panels looked popular for many of the guest’s talks although some of the other panel topics were unusual including “Are NFT’s the Future of Collectables?”
The Cosplay Central Stage provided both advice and a chance to show off cosplays in a casual showcase alongside the bigger Masquerade on the Main Stage.
Many lockdown cosplayers had stepped up their game and it was great to see the variation. The variants of Loki was probably the most popular choice but there was something from every fandom.
While I’m not personally a fan of Anime, it was clear many congoers are and there was plenty to do, see and buy at the Pop Asia stage and surrounding stalls. It was lovely to overhear the excitement of a girl who’d got a photo and autograph with their favourite K-Pop artist and to see the busy crowds watching the rapping by Shao Dow.
The NEC provides a mix of outdoor areas to get some fresh air – or pizza – which was a welcome to the busy halls. I assumed they would have to make stalls areas more spaced out and reduce numbers but it didn’t seem like big changes had been made – especially compared to London MCM based on attendees who’d visited both venues. It wouldn’t stop me revisiting but I’d make sure I kept my mask on.
There were far fewer stalls compared to normal and a few of my favourites were not in attendance however there was the usual mix of comics, Pops, anime and plenty of art to enjoy.
I personally like looking out for something a little bit different like these preserved butterfly wings as earrings and beetle shell necklaces from Urban Faerie Oddities (https://linktr.ee/urbanfaerieoddities) – something you would never find in a shop!
It was great to see a mix of other handmade items including these colourful geeky bubble bath dice which smelt amazing from Geeky Clean (https://www.facebook.com/518374941554146/).
While MCM Birmingham didn’t have as much to do for a full weekend since there were fewer panels and stalls, it was still a fun day out and kept its Comic-Con vibe which it always had.
I’ll be looking forward to the return in November 2022 (as MCM will no longer be visiting the NEC in March) and likely will make it a weekend again – especially having found the Ibis Hotel located just behind with cheaper parking and less of a walk from some other cheaper hotels.
The article was written by Handbag Cosplays