Last weekends MCM EXPO at the Excel Centre in London saw some incredible numbers, some of which I even tried to ‘crunch’ in an effort to understand how I spent my weekend.
Firstly there was the huge Saturday crowd, which as the day progressed made the convention feel more like rush hour on the tube, rather than an event where one might feel relaxed enough to properly browse comics and investigate tables. Secondly, both the amount and quality of the cosplayers was outstanding. I’m told by my more knowledgable peers that this type of thing goes hand in hand with the anime/ manga crowd but there were plenty of great comics cosplayers too, including a couple of chaps as Power Girl. Thirdly the amount of high profile comics guests was quite low and despite the ‘Comics Village’ being quite large it left ‘comics’ in general looking like they were simply tacked on to the end of MCM as an extra.
Yes, the previous paragraph was my half hearted attempt at number crunching. Another ‘numerical’ thunderbolt that hit me over the weekend was the large amount of money changing hands, primarily at the merchandise stalls. Huge lethal looking replica swords, expensive imported Japanese statues, Naruto wigs, hard to find hentai manga all had had great crowds and eager buyers. Tables in the Comics Village were blessed with crowds, primarily due to the many retailers situated close by or amongst them. I don’t think the money quite found its way down to the comics creators. The individuals I spoke to cited plenty of interest, but this was an anime crowd. They weren’t here for comics.
Comics as an afterthought was a theme that nagged throughout the con. It was viewed as a start contrast to the previous weekend’s Kapow! particularly with respect to panels and comics based events. Although Kapow! had issues aplenty, particularly with ‘panel parity’ and mainstream domination there were at least plenty of comics events to choose from. MCM’c comic panels and events were all based around the Namco Bandai venture ShiftyLook, which despite being very cool, bringing a lot of fun and games and even some top announcements and guests, it didn’t lend itself much to variety.
If I’d have attended MCM as a comics fan I would left feeling very short changed indeed. However, despite the con not having as many comics based panels, guests or events as I would have liked I had a complete blast and enjoyed every minute. Some great and exciting exhibits well outside my narrow field of knowledge would have been missed. I even got to see some of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon! I’m sure the huge crossover fanbase that exists between comics/ manga/ anime and games all had a great time too.
I conducted a few interviews over the weekend that will be up here on Comics Anonymous for your reading and listening pleasure soon.
Linsay – @softlyspokenlas
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