The very first year that Steve and I appeared at the MCM Expo the event fell upon the same day as a Millwall game. It’s not a detail that I would remember were it not for the fact that it meant that my first experience of the con was sitting on a packed tube full of confused skinheads and teenagers dressed as cats. There has probably never been a more perplexed railway carriage anywhere in the world and I found myself developing an instant fondness for this oddball of a con.
I mention this story first because really the teenagers dressed as cats (and Pokemon and cardboard boxes and pretty much anything else you can imagine) are the heart of MCM. That’s not to say they are the only audience there (in terms of floor space, it’s probably the biggest comic con in the UK) but at its very core the event is about people who say the word “random” a lot, cutting loose and having fun. As a result, MCM has always had a kind if energetic buzz about it that you just don’t find anywhere else and it’s this buzz that is the key to why this year’s event was so successful.
MCM has taken some flak over the years for its rather diverse (random, you might say) range of exhibits. While other cons focus on comics or movies or trading or whatever, MCM goes for a bit of everything but in times such as these it’s exactly that kind of diversity that you need. If you’re only going to go to one comic con then the obvious choice is the one that lets you see as much as possible. MCM is not so much a comic convention as a convention for the sort of people who like comics. It’s a subtle distinction but one that breeds the kind of extremely loyal fanbase that descended in droves upon the Excel Centre last weekend.
For our part, we were taken completely by surprise by just how busy the con was. We brought our usual hefty amount of stock, expecting it to last the entire event (especially given a slightly disappointing audience turn out at Kapow) but instead found ourselves completely sold out of copies of Moon by 5pm on Saturday. The result was that Steve had to scurry back to Essex on Sunday morning, while I tried to learn how you sell prints of characters from a book you don’t have (turns out, you generally don’t). By 11am we were back up and running however and went on to smash our all time sales record by some way.
I should mention, in the interests of fairness, that we had a much better pitch than at Kapow, being as we were right next to the auditorium and the booth for ASDF (who I’d never heard of before the weekend but who I’m pretty sure most teenagers would readily kill for.) This naturally translated into better sales but the fact that we took more than twice what we made at Kapow and paid less than half for the table left me pondering whether we’ll keep Kapow on our calendar next year.
Organisation wise we’ve got no complaints. Comics Village (who run the comics side of the event) have gotten very good at pre-show communication this time around and having every table get a small blurb in the program was a nice touch. Despite the huge crowds, there was always a volunteer on hand when needed and they were (as has always been the case) extremely helpful and friendly.
The one part where the organisation fell down slightly was in the execution of the Eagle Awards on Friday night. The Eagles themselves are probably a topic for another day but the very low audience turn out was a bit of a shame. Steve and I certainly appreciate being able to hog the free beer but I can’t help but think that if they were properly publicised and perhaps held on the Saturday night, the turn out would have been far better. We ran into only two non-comics industry people at the awards and they confessed that they’d only found the event by chance. Given the announcement about the demise of the Eagles, I wonder whether the lack of publicity was a deliberate move to send the awards off quietly with an eye to focusing on next year’s new “MCM Awards.”
The Eagles is but a small part of the overall event however and a low turnout for one small part is not enough to spoil the experience of what was in all regards a fantastic convention experience.
UK conventions have been trying to secure an appearance by Stan Lee for longer than many of us have been alive but it seems one of them has finally pulled it off! London Super Comic Convention announced last night that the Fantastic Four creator will make his first UK convention appearance in 40 years at their show next year!
Lee joins an already star studded line-up of creators including the likes of Brian Bolland, Steve Epting and Duncan Fegredo. In LSCC’s own words:
“Organisers of The London Super Comic Convention 2012 are going all out to make the inaugural event unique and special for all attendees, by giving them a unique opportunity to interact with Stan, who recently celebrated his 89th birthday and created many of the most enduring comic book characters and pop culture icons of the last 50 years
Attendees can look forward to having their comics signed, their photo’s taken and watch Stan “The Man” in action on guest panels.”
In a year that will see no less than four mega comic cons taking place in London, the announcement of Stan Lee is a major coup for the newcomer of the bunch. A lot of cons can boast impressive guest lists, but Stan Lee is in another category all together.
London Super Comic Convention takes place at the Excel Centre on 25th & 26th February 2012. There will be no tickets on the door so if you want to meet The Man then you’ll need to book in advance on their website.
Needless to say, Beyond The Bunker will also be there.
Turns out that we weren’t the only people from the Bunker to be out exploring the MCM Expo last week. In a surprise turn of events we’ve discovered photos proving that Moon himself was also out on patrol! Over the course of the day he changed outfits (as well as heights, weights and genders) several times but never once did he stop protecting the good people of London from the terrors of the unknown!
Thanks to everyone who agreed to pose for us at MCM. Moon will make a welcome return to the convention scene sometime in the future.
If you’re at a loss for something to do this weekend then we at the Bunker would strongly suggest that you come check out the MCM (Movies, Comics & Manga) Expo at London’s Excel Centre! With competition cropping up from other major cons, MCM have pulled all the stops out this year and it honestly looks like it’s going to be a fantastic day out. You’ll be able to play all the latest games (including Arkham City), watch the many splendid (and not so splendid) cosplayers parading their fancy outfits and of course pick up a copy of Moon! There’s also a chance to meet Batgirl/Secret Six writer Gail Simone, Dr Who writer Tony Lee and tonnes of other guests too.
MCM is a fantastic show and the sheer number of things to do there is utterly mindblowing. If you’ve not been before then give it a go. I promise you will not regret it!
We shall be at the Beyond the Bunker stall in the Comics Village so please do drop by and say hello. We will have the usual comics, badges and limited edition DVDs available plus you’ll be able to ask any questions about the forthcoming release of Tales of the Fallen.
If you’re not able to make it then you needn’t feel left out as I’ll be tweeting the days events all through the weekend. Just follow me on twitter to join in!
For details and directions CLICK HERE! See you there!