MCM Comic Con Manchester 2016

PrintE-mail Written by Kieron Moore and Martin Unsworth

Now in its sixth year, Manchester’s biggest comic con returned to the city’s convention centre over the final weekend of July. Thankfully, this came after the recent heatwave had subsided, and the weather had returned to being more typically northern, and so those waiting in the long entry queue didn’t get too sweaty inside their Pikachu costumes and Stormtrooper armour.

As always at MCM events, the range of cosplay on show was the highlight. The most popular looks this year included Harley Quinn and Jared Leto’s Joker, with several couples coming as the deranged pair – all hoping that this summer’s upcoming Suicide Squad movie does the characters justice! Other costumes were inspired by Pokémon, Marvel, Fallout, various anime characters, and much more.

The main hall of the convention centre was devoted to a wide variety of stalls, with everything from My Little Pony plushies to Star Wars-inspired artwork on sale, and many bargains to be found. There was also a fine selection of comics – yes, at a comic con! – with quite a few indie publishers having their own tables, as well as countless boxes of Marvel and DC classic allowing fans to fill in gaps in their collections. You could easily spend a whole day perusing the wares on offer, and, though the convention did get very busy towards the middle of the day, it was well laid out and never felt uncomfortably crammed.

The con’s guests were all in fine spirits, signing autographs and posing for photos with fans. Whovians had the chance to meet the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, and Davros himself, Terry Molloy, while Game of Thrones aficionados could meet stars Ian Beattie, Ian McElhinney, Ian Gelder, and Roger Ashton-Griffiths (we have to assume that’s a stage name and he’s really called Ian). It was Warwick Davis, however, who pulled in the biggest queue and seemed genuinely happy to meet his fans - none of this ‘no posed photos’ nonsense with him! Unfortunately, Craig Charles had to pull out of the show due to an injury, and Chris Barrie had earlier announced his no-show, but their Red Dwarf co-star Robert Llewellyn was on hand to get fans excited for the upcoming new season. Other guests included The Musketeers stars Luke Pasqualino, Tamla Kari, and Alexandra Dowling, Primeval’s Andrew Lee Potts, who talked about his amazing web series Wireless and gave a great interview on the MCM Buzz stage on the Sunday in which he revealed a little about his upcoming thriller Host, and Storage Hunters’ Sean Kelly and Jesse McClure.

There were several other activities on offer to fill up the weekend, including the qualifiers for the EuroCosplay championships, a Street Fighter V tournament, and an art competition for the kids.

The Hello Kitty section - a fenced-off area where people could go to be transported to the pink-tinged world of the much-loved bow-wearing character (you have to remember that it’s actually a little girl, not a cat!) - was another popular draw. Young and old alike wore their Kitty crowns with pride after visiting this attraction.

There certainly seemed to be more to see and experience at this year’s event. The seating in the main hall had visibly been reduced, but not to the point of causing a problem for anyone wanting to take time out, or not spill their burgers or other food that they’d queued for half an hour for. In fairness, despite how insanely busy it was, queuing wasn’t a major issue this year. With the majority of tickets purchased in advance, and a ‘priority entry option’ in place, there was very little delay and certainly, by the time the doors had been open for a few hours, the flow through the main entrance was moving very smoothly.

After building itself up over its first few years, this annual event has now settled into Manchester’s calendar; it’s a slickly run con that gives thousands of cosplayers and bargain hunters alike a great day out and shows that the north’s geek scene is standing strong.

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Photographs by Martin Unsworth and Kieron Moore

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