MCM is one of the UK’s biggest mixed media conventions that travels the country and pitches up in various cities. The Scottish leg of the tour fills three halls of Glasgow’s SECC for a weekend, one of which was taken up entirely with receiving the vast queue of attendees snaking back and forth outside the convention centre.
The atmosphere was as lively as ever, with a haze of nerdy enthusiasm permeating the air as little kids excitedly pulled their parents in all directions, fans became increasingly weighed down by assorted comics and geeky paraphernalia, a wide assortment of cosplay costumes both bought and homemade lit up the halls with explosions of colour and creativity (and with the universal acclaim of It, yellow anoraks and red balloons seemed to be this year’s sparkling hot pants, candy floss hair and Daddy’s Lil’ Monster T-shirts) and flashes of red became increasingly prominent as CeX staff surreptitiously stickerbombed people’s bags like retail ninjas.
A few of the attractions included a gaming area with demonstrations and duels of the Yu-Gi-Oh! CCG; a stall of the Steampunk Emporium that showed love of the pseudo-Victorian subculture is still strong; a special Kids Zone with bean bags and children’s books, and where diminutive attendees could receive face painting and glitter tattoos and have their picture taken among trees from The Lorax and a giant inflatable Minion; and a replica Iron Throne and photo op where people could commemorate their presumably brief rule over the Seven Kingdoms.
The comic village was situated at the point between the two main areas making it almost impossible to miss, showcasing a wide cross-section of indie comics talent the nation has to offer. A few of the scene’s regulars were noticeably absent due to Thought Bubble having been rescheduled for the same weekend and many creators not wanting to pass up the opportunity to attend, and as a result there was a far heavier presence of artists.
A big improvement over last year’s layout was the repositioning of the MyM Buzz stage where guests are interviewed for streaming. Last year it was situated right in the middle of the central hall, and as people crowded around it created blockages and bottlenecks in the human traffic, but its new position just beyond the entry hall allowed anyone who wanted to could gather round without getting in anyone else’s way.
The con’s anime presence remained as strong as ever, with panels featuring the likes of Veronica Taylor (the original voice actor of Pokémon’s Ash Kerchum); Bryce Papenbrook and Trina Nishimura (the English dub voices of the superlative Attack On Titan’s lead badasses Eren and Mikasa); locally based distributor All the Anime previewing forthcoming releases and the Scotland Loves Anime film festival; and an interview with Takashi Okazaki, the creator of the stoically mental action manga Afro Samurai, which was subsequently adapted into an anime starring Samuel Muthafuckin’ Jackson.
A major coup for the weekend was none other than Sam J Jones, known to all genre fans as the definitive Flash Gordon (Saviour of the universe! He’ll save every one of us!). Despite having done the convention circuit for decades, he showed no signs of weariness at telling the same stories he doubtless had dozens of times before.
A strong Whoniverse presence saw a Fifth Doctor reunion with Peter Davison taking the stage alongside Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Janet Fielding (Tegan) to look back at their time on the show during its generally accepted heyday, while Torchwood was represented by Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto) and Kai Owen (Rhys).
The ubiquitous Andrew Lee Potts made another appearance, dauntlessly promoting his sci-fi web series Wireless that more people really should be watching by now, while also fielding questions about his extensive back catalogue of genre performances.
Some of the earliest iterations of the Power Rangers, specifically Walter Jones, David Yost, Johnny Yong Bosch and Karan Ashley (respectively original Black and Blue, and second Black and Yellow), discussed the shows genesis and the unexpected worldwide phenomenon into which it subsequently exploded.
Suave charmer Manu Bennett related several tales from Arrow and Spartacus, spinning his stories with the skill of a veteran raconteur and not giving a damn about going over his allotted time. He also tactfully skirted around the mediocrity of The Shannara Chronicles’ first season (we got the impression he had got into trouble in the past for being more direct about it), promising the show’s upcoming channel shift from MTV to Spike will see an increase in the writing’s quality.
Finishing things off each day was the Cosplay Masquerade allowing people to show off their creations in a seemingly endless display of boundless creativity.
If anything, the attendance was even bigger than last year, with several comics vendors swiftly running out of stock – especially their newer titles – showing that even as the ubiquity of cons such as these and geek culture itself approaches saturation point, there is still an insatiable hunger for the nerdy wonders they bring.