Manchester’s largest comic book convention happened to coincide with one of the hottest days the city has experienced so far this year. This brought out genre-addicts from all around the city in huge numbers to not only see the various guest spots, signings, comic book creators and tables and tables of merchandise and assorted paraphernalia, but also to see each other and hang out with other members of the rapidly growing geek community.
The real draw of the event this year was the people. A significant proportion of attendees were in costume, and we had everything from a pantomime horse-like ATAT, to demonic monsters, a legion of ladies in TARDIS inspired dresses and of course the ubiquitous Storm Troopers. Given the heat, the variety of costumes and inventive ideas was nothing short of amazing; though there were plenty of people in simple robes and masks (mostly inspired by the popular anime series Bleach), we also had people in the tight leather costume stylings of Batman and one brave chap dressed as a particularly warm Cookie Monster.
The event was not without some problems; a combination of sunshine and social media meant that a lot of people turned up, and this caused very long queues indeed. Talking to various attendees the wait was as long as three hours for some, which given the temperatures can’t be that pleasant. Spirits were kept high throughout by various convention goers larking about, but more could have been done to keep people entertained on this very warm summer’s day. However, once you got through the doors there was clearly a lot of fun to be had.
It is, after all, called a Comic-Con, and the great and the good of the local and national sequential art scene was in attendance. The ComicVillage was filled with many creators, and it was a fantastic opportunity for those looking to get into the UK independent scene to explore and learn more about it. Highlights included Widdershins creator Kate Ashwin, Twisted Dark’s Neil Gibson, Dumpy Little Robot’s Abby Ryder and Crossed inker, Lee Townsend. The more mainstream sort of graphic novel was also readily available, and boxes and boxes of back issues were all around. Those looking to complete collections or after a specific bit of tat had an excellent chance of getting what they wanted, and those on a budget would have been better off leaving their wallets at home.
As you may expect, the guest spots and various talks were very crowded. Guests included Warwick Davies, Torchwood’s Kai Owens and a collection of Knights from TV’s Merlin. Videogame junkies were well served with an appearance of the very charming Michael Mando, who talked about his character in FarCry 3. Videogame fans also got the chance to play various games at the numerous stalls, though those with a preference for old school table-top gaming were stuck with the choice of Yu Gi-Oh or nothing at all. Overall, this year’s MCM Manchester Comic Con belonged to the cosplayers, and the lovely sunshine outside.
Words: Ed Fortune / Photos: Anne Davies