Always one of the highlights of the northern geek calendar, the pop culture behemoth MCM rolls into town for another two days of cosplay, celebrity signings, and wallet-busting merchandising.
This year, the guest list that MCM brought to Manchester was amazing. Local lad Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange) made a triumphant appearance on the MCM Live stage, telling the masses what it was like returning to his hometown and checking out the places he used to work and hang out (even giving a shout out to the much-missed Odyssey 7, which was the store that fed many older fans’ comic book habits in the mid-eighties). He also proved to be a lot of fun, and game for a laugh (giving the crowd a rendition of his famous exit in The IT Crowd, in which he played former Countdown winner Prime; “There’s a tip jar down there…” he quipped). Not being drawn into spoilers for the next Avengers film, he would only commit to admitting he is filming something “later in the year”.
Also popular were Khary Payton and Cooper Andrews, King Ezekiel and Jerry in The Walking Dead. The former also appeared as part of Twisted Toonz, who provided a read-through of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a twist. He joined other voice actor guests Nolan North (Uncharted) Troy Baker (The Last of Us), Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect), Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels), and Phil LaMarr (Samurai Jack, Futurama), who gave an hilarious hour in which some much-loved characters from a galaxy far, far away are delivered in a fashion you’ve not heard before. Let’s just say we won’t get over hearing Fin in the style of Family Guy’s Herbert the pervert. The team appeared to have just as much fun as the audience and it was a definite highlight.
Earlier on the main stage was a preview of the movie Of Gods and Warriors, with members of the cast telling all about the fantasy and revealing secrets from the set.
For the first time, the team behind the popular FrightFest made a presentation at a convention. Not only did they plug the event, but they brought along some of the talent behind the films they are showing this year. Joining festival directors Alan Jones and Paul McEvoy were Dominic Brunt (best known as a TV soap actor, but beloved by us for his directorial work on the likes of Before Dawn and Attack of the Adult Babies), his partner Joanne Mitchell (Sybil), Johnny Kevorkian (Await Further Instructions), Stewart Spark (Book of Monsters), Tom Paton (Black Site), and Mike Mort (Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires). It was a refreshing change to have MCM embrace some horror among the festivities and the films on offer certainly looked fantastic.
Elsewhere, there was the usual array of fantastic cosplayers, who - let’s face it - are what makes these events a popular and successful as they are. The attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into the costumes is amazing. There are some of the more low-fi versions as well, and they are just as welcome and applauded as any.
It doesn’t matter at what level of commitment your geekdom is you can be sure you’ll feel at home at these shows. And, of course, afterwards it’s all back to FAB Café to party the rest of the night away.