MCM London Comic Con 2018

2018 MCM London Comic Con
MCM London Comic Con
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
May 25, 2018 – May 27, 2018

by Jenna Johnston

MCM Comic Con London 2018 flew, in all it’s caped glory, to the ExCeL Centre London over the May bank holiday this year (25th-27th May 2018) and boasted all the extravagance and entertainment you would hope for. I’m surprised every time I visit the ExCeL just how vast it is and Comic Con filled every part of the sprawling space from an enormous towering Superman to palm-size origami lotus flowers. The selection on show is massive, particularly the commercial stalls for merchandise, which included replica Viking cups, dedicated sword dealers and soft toy Pikachus in every size imaginable (and then some more you wouldn’t imagine!). There is even a Royal Mail stall, and while I’m sure many people are always keen to buy a miniature Queen Liz, it was perhaps less surprising that this was selling Star Wars stamps.

The more practical side of what’s available to buy is, that if you haven’t dressed for the occasion, there’s everything you need to transform into the Comic Con spirit. Wigs, weapons, masks, professional costume make up services: if you didn’t turn up in your superhero tights and pants there’s no reason you won’t go home as one of the Avengers. There is a real promotion of dressing up here, not just for the Cosplay pros but, throughout the talks and events going on, there are prizes to be won for the best costume, whether it’s the best DC villain or manga hero. The volume of experiences is overwhelming and you could get lost for just as long browsing as you could gawping at all the incredible costumes, which everyone is eager to tell you about the painstaking detail of how they made them and to strike a pose for a selfie. The Cosplay Masquerade at the end of each day was definitely a highlight, where winners are selected for the International Cosplay League, and the main stage is full with people cheering for the improvised dance routines from amateurs to the efficient flamboyance of the veteran Cosplayers, it’s impossible not to get sucked into the glorious, cabaret atmosphere.

Disappointingly, for me, the area which I felt had the least attention was traditional comics. The Comics Zone was smaller than the other areas, and was interspersed with yet more novelty trade in Zombie-fication or Manga-fied portraits you can have drawn. And while I’ve often imagined how I would appear (and how successful I would be) as a zombie, one of my favourite parts was talking to the artists and finding new comic books for my collection. The stands on offer ranged from independent artists, sellers and publishers as well as signings from many of the authors throughout the weekend, which had significantly shorter queues and smaller fees than the big names. However, these VIP encounters were all on offer as well, whether it was a photo opportunity or an autograph from one of your favourites, there are dedicated areas and timetables for these (for the advertised cost of course).

But if you’re not itching to rub shoulders with the Comic Con A-listers, you don’t need to queue to meet Batman as the amazing variety of celebrity and industry panels will keep you entertained all weekend. These included interviews with Kevin Conroy, Tom Ellis and Rosario Dawson, screenings, such as Batman Ninja, and Q&As ranging from the best female characters in fiction to how to become a comics artist. Interestingly, in the latter, the main focus was how to work in and become a creator in the gaming industry, again showing how encompassing Comic Con has become of so many parts of contemporary culture. The whole event is fantastically interactive, between the panels and screenings there’s just so much to do! Light sabre classes, escape rooms, comics art competitions and stages galore, you don’t have to wait until the end of the day to see the Cosplayers strut their wings on the Cosplay stage. There was also a stage for PopAsia, a new addition to the event, which hosts a range of Japanese, Korean and Asian culture, fashion and food. Throughout the event there are characters or props for photo opportunities or you can queue to enter parts of the latest film sets, such as Jack Ryan or Jurassic Park.

Comic Con has got it all. From the obscurely niche to the unabashedly commercial, whether you want to look like Thor for a day, find some new comics, meet your favourite TV stars or just look at some really cool stuff, it appeals to and welcomes families, the dedicated comics fans and anyone looking for an entertaining day out. MCM Comic Con is coming back to the ExCeL London 26-28th October 2018, there’s so much to do my only advice would be to plan what and who you want to see in advance because blink and you’ve missed something weird and wonderful going on. Otherwise, pull on your wig, readjust the utility belt and embrace the world of Comic Con.


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