The main area was a lively affair, packed all day but rarely overcrowded and with a large contingency of the usual assortment of cosplayers, wide-eyed children, faintly bemused parents and girls carrying ‘Free Hugs’ signs. Doubtless spurred by the release of Suicide Squad, there were more Harley Quinns floating about the place than ever, including more than a few guys dressed as her, as well as the regular collections of popular superheroes and the colourful vibrancy of anime characters.
Despite the convention’s name, the only real concession to sequential artwork was the Comic Village, a central collection of alleyways formed by dozens of stalls. It was quite satisfying to see a number of indie creatives, who this time last year had barely a couple of issues of a single title to their name, now having their work sprawl into several series, trade paperbacks, and anthologies.
A crucial problem was the lack of clarity over where the panels were being held, it being specified on neither the website nor the brochure’s map, thus making it problematic for attendees and guests alike to find the place, and the woman in the information booth feeling she should receive a commission for every time she pointed someone in the right direction. A lesser but still niggling issue was caused by guests being interviewed for MyM Buzz in a central section, where a shortage of seating led to people crowding around the outside of the area and creating blockages for others trying to get past.
There was a big focus on anime, with several large stalls piled with box sets and three of the convention panels devoted to it: an interview with Reo Kurosu, the producer of Berserk, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, and Fullmetal Alchemist; a preview of anime film festival Scotland Loves Anime, and a look at local distributor All the Anime’s forthcoming releases.
Andrew Lee Potts was still doing the rounds to promote his excellent web series Wireless and also premiered its upcoming ninth episode but was still happy to wax lyrical about Primeval despite it being over five years since the show’s cancellation. Also on the web series front were local supernatural mystery productions Caledonia and Cops & Monsters, where the cast and crew of each were on hand to discuss the shows, and Hilly and Hannah Hindi, the creators and stars of numerous musical parodies on their YouTube channel The Hillywood Show.
A particular highlight was Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor and The Hobbit’s eccentric wizard Radgagast the Brown, who rather than hold the usual interview with a few audience queries, instead grabbed the microphone off the emcee and proceeded to host his own Q&A session, energetically running around the room to field questions with a lively vigour you wouldn’t expect of a man well into his seventies.
Other attractions included a Street Fighter V tournament; Insane Championship Wrestling holding several exhibition bouts; a Game of Thrones Experience where people could have a picture of themselves sitting atop the Iron Throne, while music from the show played on a constant loop and made the work of the nearby stallholders feel far more overtly dramatic; and a working demo of Geek Retreat VR, a virtual reality world designed as a social hub with genre specific areas for people to gather together and explore, and with the intent to add immersive entertainment content.
Finishing things off each day was a Cosplay Masquerade, where as well as a wide variance in costumes from comics, films, TV, games there were also several singing efforts and a few dance performances complementing the nerdy catwalk strutting.
While it would have been nice for a comic con to have had more focus on actual comics, this year’s MCM Scotland still had a wide enough variety of guests, attractions, and activities to have something for pretty much everyone.