Our highlights and pictures from MCM London Comic Con – May 27th-29th 2016
MCM London Comic Con opened it’s doors to a record-breaking 133,156 attendees during the 27th – 29th of May 2016. MCM London is a three-day pop culture event focused around comics, anime, gaming film & TV and is situated in the heart of London’s Docklands at the ExCel centre. It is also Europe’s leading comic con and the third largest event of its kind in the world.
We headed down on the Saturday (28th May) to check out what was on show, and we definitely found plenty to look at!
One of the biggest draws of any comic con is it’s special guests and MCM London was no different. The full cast of Outcast were in attendance as were the cast of Dark Matter. We were also treated to some of the supporting cast from Game of Thrones alongside Warwick Davis, Peter Davison and many more personalities.
The stars of the Yogscast had some of the biggest queues I’d seen for autographs and for a group of YouTube gamers they have done amazingly well to carve out such a hold on the community – their content definitely sings true to the younger audience seen at MCM.
Second to the Yogscast, Robert Llewellyn and Chris Barrie from Red Dwarf fame had substantial queues surrounding them as well. For many UK fans (me included), they would of grown up watching Red Dwarf with their parents and seeing these stars is a pleasant trip down memory lane.
My favoutire moment at MCM was certainly seeing how Josef Altin (Pypar) of Game of Thrones fame warmed the hearts of his fans. His signing booth was empty as I walked past but there was a good crowd of fans just outside of it and clearly in awe of himself and the other stars that were signing. Out of nowhere Josef, in absoloute silence and with his biggest puppy dog eyes, pulls out a handwritten sign that read (along the lines of) “Come and say hi, chats are free” and you could audibly hear the collective ‘Ahhhh’ of his fans before they promptly rushed over for a chat. Now that’s a man with buckets of charm and admiration for his fans!
One other little suprise from the special guests was seeing Hannah Waddingham who plays Septa Unella a.k.a. the “Shame, Shame” nun in Game of Thrones. The contrast between how she acts in the show and herself in real life is insane, it really is a completely different person, she’s so bubbly and smiley in person. I’m always amazed by actors and actresses who are incredibly good at their craft and seeing how different Hannah Waddingham is compared to Septa Unella really brought that to light. It was like seeing Bryan Cranston play Hal from Malcom in the Middle and then watching him portray Walter White in Breaking Bad – impressive to say the least.
There was a lot of gaming, both in game previews and eSports in attendance at MCM London this year. One of the first exhibits I saw upon entering the comic con was a massive inflatable beast from the the God Eater 2 game. The inflatable was utterly huge and by far one of the most captivating things I saw at the event.
Bandai Namco were out in force, they had a vast array of games on display such as Dark Souls III and Warhammer: Eternal Crusade. Bandai also did one extra and brought along several arcade machines featuring a variety of games to play, they were quite the hit!
The real diamond when it came to games at MCM was the LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel. The panel was held by the lead story designer at TT games and after his intiial introductions we were treated to seeing the whole of the Millenium Falcon level from the upcoming game and I can tell you that fans of the previous LEGO games are in for a real treat when this lands in July. TT Games has gone to the nines with all fo the new features and gameplay mechanics that have been added. For me, the feature I’m most excited about are the new Blaster Battles. They do an excellent job of recreating those classic hallway blaster battles from the Star Wars franchise we all know and love.
Film & TV:
There wasn’t much in the way of interactive film exhibits at MCM this time, other than the suitably impressive Warcraft booth. Most films, such as Suicide Squad, had only unmanned stands displaying the latest trailers and promotional materials. Warcraft on the other hand went big!
At the Warcraft exhibit, through the magic of green screen, you were able to transport yourself into a scene from the Warcraft trailer where a horde of Orcs are pummeling towards the camera. Con-goers were able to use the provided props to further their experience as one time extras in the film. The completed snippets were shown on a screen outside the booth, much to the amusement of the gathered crowd. One visitor even pulled the classic Dom Jolly “I can’t hear you” skit in front of the advancing horde much to my amusement. Needless to say this exhibit was over-subscribed.
While good film exhibits were lacking at MCM, there were plenty of TV booths and stands. First up was a mock church from the show Preacher where visitors could watch the trailer and exclsuive featurettes for the show before an early screening of the pilot episode later that day.
The Fear of the Walking Dead exhibit had you complete a zombie themed activity course, based around the Abigail ship from the show, in exchange for some loot. The course consited of crossing a two metre strap line set out across the floor, essentially a balancing act followed by fishing a decapitiated zombie head out of a kids swimming pool, similar to the classic carnival game where you hook a duck. The final, and most gruesome part of the activity course was getting down on your hands and knees and retrieving a piece of bone from a disembowled zombies chest cavity. Fun for all the family!
Sanrio even had a large booth that was styled after a small Japanese garden complete with cherry blossoms, pergolas and plenty of Hello Kitty.
CBS had a great photo booth oppourtunity for visitors, once again through the magic of green screen you and your friends could be transported into a classic transporter room from the Star Trek: The Original Series. It even applied the classic transporting effect on top of you in the photo for added authenticity.
Outcast was out in force at MCM as they ramped up their marketing ahead of it’s UK premiere on June 7th on FOX. The Outcast booth was doubled sided, one side was a replica of Kyle Barnes’ (lead character of Outcast) porch for photo oppourtunites and the other side was another green screen experience, but this time you could replicate being levitated by demonic possesion.
Lastly the cast of Outcast held an hour long panel before running an exclusive screening of the pilot episode. An interesting snippet from the panel was finding out that Phillip Glenister and Patrick Fugit would often rehearse their lines while doing impressions of other actors to mix things up. It turned out that Philip would often impersonate Michael Caine while Patrick would impersonate Tom Cruise and we were even treated to a few minutes of them reading lines in that style.
Cosplay is always massive draw at conventions, amongst other things it’s an amazing way for people to show their pride and admiration for the things they love and there was absoloutely no shortage of cosplay at MCM. Everywhere you looked there was someone in cosplay, it could of easily been 1 in 3 people were cosplaying at the event.
Harely Quinn from the Suicide Squad film could have easily been the most popular female cosplay I saw this year, there were so many and all had gone to the effort of dying their pig tails accordingly. As always there were also swathes of Deadpool cosplayers.
Nevertheless cosplay at the event was amaxing, a lot of variety and from the pictures below you can see there were some really great outfits this year
Collectibles and Merchandise:
One of my favourite things about cons is getting my hands on stacks of collectibles and merchandise that I normally wouldn’t have access too. Obviously you could always buy online but at a con you can look and touch and talk to the vendors about your purchases before you make them. A reassuring treat before you drop your hard earned cash on a brand new polystone statue.
The highlight for merchandise was without doubt the Legacy Power Rangers figures and replicas that Bandai Toys brought to the show – nothing was quite as nostalgic for me as seeing all of my child hood toys one again. Albeit in ultra high quality and sold as collector’s items and not toys this time around.
Overall thoughts on MCM
All in all, MCM London was a great a day out for me and I imagine the 100,000+ people who attended over the weekend. As an activity to do, it is incredible value for money at just £25 for a standard ticket, there was so much to do, to shop, to watch and to be a part of. The value for money is further extended if you took time out of your day to visit some of the many panels that were hosted each day at MCM. At these panels you could find out something new about your fandom, see exclusive footage from upcoming tv shows ,film and games or even pitch questions to your favourite questions.
There were a few things that let down the experience at MCM but most of these were out of the control of both MCM’s and the venue’s control. The biggest annoyances of the day by far were the enormous queues for cash machines and food vendors though you could easily avoid this situation by bringing food and drinks plus a suitable of cash with you on the day you attend. There were also a few occasions where an attendee’s cosplay was far too big or unwieldly and just ended up in the way of other visitors, one example of this was a cosplayers’ head dress which was near enough the width of three people standing in a row.
Other than the above issues MCM is a great family-friendly day out. It’s an incredibly inclusive and safe environment for people of all walks of life. It has excellent exhibitors, activities, panels and activities to keep you entertained for the whole day. I highly recommend attending at least one MCM comic con in the near future, you’ll definitely enjoy it.
MCM London Comic Con returns to the ExCel centre October 28-30th 2016
Lead Image Credit: Gilly Riddington.