MCM Comic Con London, May 2022: a round-up

It’s been a while since I went to the MCM Comic Con in London.

The last time was in May 2019 when I was at the ExCeL centre helping on the SpecialEffect stand. I’ve this done most years since starting to volunteer for them in 2013. We were there to display Trials Rising played a chin controller and ProtoCorgi connected to an oversized joystick, to show off their work in assisting people with physical disabilities to play video games.

Last weekend I was there as a pure attendee however, as the charity wasn’t at the event this time around. I must admit that MCM Comic Con probably isn’t something Pete and I would usually go to if I wasn’t there on behalf of the charity or my stepson hadn’t nagged us for tickets. It’s not that it can’t be a good day out; it’s just that we’re not particularly into film or anime and so don’t fit into its target audience.

I checked the notes I’d made during previous events to remind myself of what they’d been like while writing this post. It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s been around three years since we were last able to attend in-person expos regularly thanks to the COVID lockdowns. My overall take from the 2019 convention was that there had been more attendees but fewer of them in costume, with a bigger space had been dedicated to merchandise and autograph signings. Both of these factors had combined to make it seem as though there was actually less to do at the show.

What was it like this time around? How did it compare to the last event? And what the hell were we even doing there if MCM Comic Con isn’t really our kind of thing? Read on to find out and see a selection of photographs from the weekend.

The Stranger Things family get my award for the best costumes, particularly because the youngest member went all out with his Demogorgon impression.

The highlights

There were two major differences for us personally at this year’s event. First, we’d brought a couple of the stepkid’s friends along with us so they could celebrate his birthday with him; and second, they were now old enough to be there on their own without parents watching their every move. Once we’d ushered them into the building and issued several ground rules with warnings of dire consequences for non-compliance, they headed off into the first hall without us.

Our initial impression was that MCM Comic Con organisers were aiming for it to be even more family-friendly this year. The spaces dedicated to youngsters felt larger, with face-painting, crafting tables and quiet spots available. There also seemed to be very few stalls selling merchandise featuring scantily-clad anime ladies – which made us feel far more comfortable about taking the stepson and his friends there (even though we realise that as teenagers, they’ve probably already seen this stuff).

It was to great see more people dressed up. A couple of years in lockdown had given them plenty of time to work on their cosplays and now they were excited to show them off. Although I didn’t recognise many of them as they seemed to be anime-related, we did come across a family who’d opted for a Stranger Things look. They get my award for the best costumes of the show, particularly because the youngest member went all out with his Demogorgon impression.

Our favourite stand belonged to Helenasia thanks to the Cats Are Better Than People range. We had a chat about commissioning a pet portrait of our very own Zelda as her artwork was excellent. When asked about the tarot card prints that were available to buy on the stand, she revealed that a Kickstarter campaign was due to be launched in the next few days to look for backers for a full deck. One of the rewards sounds rather interesting so I’ll be keeping an eye out for it when the project launches.

The lowest point wasn’t the cost, it was getting stuck in traffic on the way home and being in a car with three teenagers for 90 minutes.

The lowlights

As mentioned above, Pete and I aren’t exactly the target audience for MCM Comic Con. It therefore wasn’t surprising that there wasn’t much for us to do. Once we’d passed a couple of hours browsing the hall of artists’ standards, rows of merchandise and other areas, we didn’t really know what to do with ourselves and spent the rest of the day aimlessly wandering around. We kicked ourselves for only coming across the tabletop gaming area at the end of the day because perhaps we could have played a game to pass the time.

Not having a real interest in film, anime or superheroes meant there wasn’t much which appealed to us. We did swing by the video game area but found that it was completely dedicated to retro gaming this year. In the past, there have been spaces dedicated to indie developers so they can show off their upcoming projects along with larger stands for bigger companies. It was only Genshin Impact which appeared this time, with the rest of the area given to a console gaming library and older multiplayer titles.

The lowest point about MCM Comic Con is probably the cost. The tickets are quite reasonable (around £20 for a standard day pass), but the cost of the entire day adds up and it can turn into an expensive trip. We estimate that we spent over £250 to cover five people for entrance, travel and food for a single day at the ExCeL centre. It may have been worth it for us personally due to it being my stepson’s birthday, but that amount is rather high for families during a time when we’re all getting squeezed by bills and other pressures.

You know what – scrap that last point. The lowest point wasn’t the cost, it was getting stuck in traffic on the way home and being in a car with three teenagers for 90 minutes. I always knew my stepkid was loud but put him with two of his friends and the noise reaches a whole new level. It’s amazing just how many film and anime quotes they can recite off the top of their heads in unison, and in ridiculously high voices too. We were kind of grateful once we’d dropped them all off and were able to get ourselves home in peace and quiet.

One of the parents sent us a message to let us know their son was still talking about what they’d seen and done at the event, so we’re taking that as a good sign.

The future

At least they enjoyed themselves though; and it was good seeing them all behave responsibly in a situation like MCM Comic Con. One of the parents sent us a message in the evening to let us know their son was still talking about what they’d seen and done at the event so we’re taking that as a good sign. The three of them are already making plans to go again in October. Hopefully SpecialEffect will be back at the show by that time so I’ll be there too to help on the stand.

You’ll find a small selection of photographs from the event below, including one featuring that cute little Demogorgon I mentioned earlier. If you were there too, what were your highs and lows?

  • MCM Comic Con, London, video games, Sidequest
  • MCM Comic Con, London, R2D2, robot, steampunk
  • MCM Comic Con, London, Aloy, Horizon Zero Dawn, cosplay
  • MCM Comic Con, London, table, origami, workshop
  • MCM Comic Con, London, cosplay, Thor
  • MCM Comic Con, London, caosplay
  • MCM Comic Con, London, Robin, Stranger Things, cosplay
  • MCM Comic Con, London, stand
  • MCM Comic Con, London, vampires, Resident Evil Village, Alcina Dimitrescu, Lady Dimitrescu
  • MCM Comic Con, London, panel, audience, Roll the Damn Dice
  • MCM Comic Con, London, cosplay, Stranger Things, Joyce, Hopper, Demogorgon
  • MCM Comic Con, London, cosplay, stage, dance, belly dancing, Aladdin, Jasmine
  • MCM Comic Con, London, crowd, merchandise, stands
  • MCM Comic Con, London, stage, singer, K-Pop
  • MCM Comic Con, London, game, table, Dungeons & Dragons
  • MCM Comic Con, London, crowd, table, board games
  • MCM Comic Con, London, ExCeL
  • MCM Comic Con, London, ExCeL, crowd
  • MCM Comic Con, stepson, friends, London

About Author /

Spreadsheet lover, video gamer and SpecialEffect volunteer. Goes by the name 'kissingthepixel' online. Lifelong fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

8 Comments

  • charlesfwh
    4 months ago Reply

    Great to see you writing again 🙂. Interesting to read about CC, attended last October at the 1st after lockdown and had a weird feeling about it with everyone still kinda nervous. Also really scaled down. Curious whether it felt sort of ‘normal’ in terms of size and attendees?

    Going to LFCC in July for the star trek vibes but hadn’t seen if EGX is happening this year. More gamey.

    • Kim
      4 months ago Reply

      The good news is that it was always how I remembered it to be in terms of size. There were slightly less attendees than the last time I went in 2019, but that could have been due to it being a Sunday rather than a Saturday. There were a few people wearing masks (not the cosplay type!) but other than that, it just felt like a normal Comic Con.

      Hope you have a good time at LFCC next month! EGX is on in September, we haven’t bought our tickets yet due to the issues with the last couple of events but it’s highly likely we’ll end up going. 😉

  • Fed
    4 months ago Reply

    I cannot wait to take my son to a convention like this! 🙂 I’m glad you managed to have fun even if only for a little while. I was gutted when I found out there was going to a special Genshin Impact event there (I’d made plans for my wife’s birthday). It looked great though.

    • Kim
      4 months ago Reply

      Do you think you’ll go in October? Let us know if you do, maybe we can finally meet up for that coffee!

      • Fed
        4 months ago Reply

        Hmmmm possibly. Honestly, I haven’t been to a London comic con since Stan Lee attended. Back in the days it used to be more of a social thing, but from that year onwards it suddenly became more ‘American’ for lack of a better term. More big celebrities, higher ticket prices, massive crowds etc. After that, it really lost it’s appeal. Perhaps this is the year I finally return? 🤔🙂 I shall think about it.

        • Kim
          4 months ago Reply

          I only started going to Comic Con a few years back so I’ve only known it as it currently is, if that makes sense? I’ve noticed though that there has been a shift towards bigger spaces for merchandise and autographs, and there’s fewer random things to do around the halls. It would have been interesting to have seen it ‘as it was’ and been able to compare. 🤔

  • Fed
    4 months ago Reply

    Adversely, I’m curious to see what it has become! 😅 These days, the only essential con for me personally is Hyper Japan 😍🇯🇵 I’m considering EGX this September though.

    • Kim
      4 months ago Reply

      Perhaps we’ll see you at EGX then? We haven’t bought our tickets yet, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t go.

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