It was with a bubbling sense of excitement that I headed off to London Excel last weekend, not because I was new to attending MCM Comic Con, but because this May was the first MCM London Comic Con put on since MCM were taken over by the American company Reed Pop, there has been a lot of chatter online and from MCM themselves about how great this May’s Con was going to be!!! The press information given out was also super positive and upbeat!! All in all, all the signs looked good! However there were some little niggles which I couldn’t ignore, I kept waiting for the announcement of the star guest, someone really impressive who would serve as the headline star, but this just didn’t happen, there were a lot of announcements and a lot of guests, many of them more normally seen at memorabilia fairs. The headliners appeared to be Tom Ellis and Felicia Day. We did of course have Taryn Manning (Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett) and Jackie Cruz (Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales) from the utterly brilliant Orange is the New Black, and we were supposed to be seeing Jason Bateman and the cast of Arrested Development, but unfortunately, they cancelled rather at the last minute (with the whispers in the press room being that the cast had some issues between them,…….don’t quote me on it!!).
But still the sun was shining and it was sure to be a great day!! And it was, even after the hot and crowded walk from the DLR station because for some reason they had decided to close Custom House Station which, alighting at, would have cut off most of our walk!!!
After a very welcome, if brain freeze inducing, iced drink at Starbucks we were ready to start the day!
We didn’t attend Friday, so I can only speak the crowds on Saturday and Sunday, and crowds there were, Saturday as always was the busiest day, but I think although it was rammed full I cannot say what I usually say, which is that it keeps on growing, I think this year the crowds were on a par with last May, the sunshine of course meant that everyone wanted to be outside!, and the buzz out there was definitely brilliant, the music stage however seemed pretty much without direction or commitment, the times I went over to see what was happening I saw;
- a middle aged man shoving deodorant under his armpits;
- a small child eating “snack”; and
- two girls dancing with commendable enthusiasm, rather than talent.
I always get the feeling with the outside stuff at MCM that the fear it’s going to tip down with rain always overshadows any plans to really bring the con outside!!
So inside we headed for brief periods, Excel is air conditioned, but it did struggle to cope with the levels of people and the heat and it didn’t take much of a rise in the inside temperature, to make you want to head back outside.
The gorgeous weather outside didn’t appear though, at peak times, to hasten the crowds inside! I enjoyed mooching around looking for some overpriced gifts/treats! I am not sure why, but in situations like that, money really does seem to burn a hole in your pocket with an almost fevered desperation to spend some of it!
Build’a’Bear Workshop were in attendance and it really did all look like a lotta fun, but the prices were eyewateringly high! And although tempted I did not head home to appease a small child with a bear.
Felicia Day was someone I was keen to meet, and she was certainly friendly and appeared to genuinely be happy to be there!
We also popped into the Orange is the New Black Panel, and although the space was full the atmosphere was distinctly lacking, the interviewer didn’t keep the questions flowing and both Taryn Manning (Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett) and Jackie Cruz (Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales) seemed a little ill at ease with an uncomfortable edge!
There was a great interactive Jurassic Park experience!
But it felt for the most part like a huge vendor trying to sell me stuff.
So, we did what most people looked to be doing, we headed outside, and soaked up the great atmosphere, the trees were full of cos players! Many of whom looked amazing, I do think these guys make a convention and their input, whilst not overlooked, is taken for granted!
Friendly and always ready for a pic, they bring colour and often humour to the day. We spent the majority of our time outside, catching up with folks we know and making some new friends, whilst taking some great pictures!
A good con? Yes, I was just expecting more, it’s become a more commercially driven endeavour, that much is obvious! Has it reached maximum velocity? Yes, I think so, especially when you look at the guests, or lack thereof!
Great fun in the sun! But let’s hope Reed Pop are not going to rip out the soul and fill it with another dunkin doughnuts stall!