Thousands were drawn to Manchester Central Convention Complex and though the queues to get in were large, the wait was reasonably short; MCM have learned from their past mistakes. Manchester MCM has grown each and every year, and by now it’s clear that the organisers know how to optimise every inch of the complex. This meant that the ‘Robot Wars’ style action was right at the back, which reduced the noise factor from the murderous mechanical mayhem to acceptable levels.
Despite the hordes, the event was laid out sensibly enough that you could casually browse from stall to stall, taking in the many cosplayers, stalls and even the odd panel or two. Plenty of space was given up for people to mill round, relax and play.
Arrow stars Karl Yune and Katrina Law were on hand to talk about their work in the hit TV show on one of the event’s many panels. Transformers and Last Ship Travis Van Winkle also engaged the crowds via a panel, and stars from Anime, Television and YouTube also got to strut their stuff. The panels did suffer slightly from the open layout of the main hall; despite the centre’s many meeting rooms, much of the action took place in the main hall.
The queues for guests were well handled and everyone who wanted something signed got something scribbled on. Doctor Who fans that hadn’t yet had a chance to meet Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred this year were able to shake hands with their heroes, and there was also an (increasingly rare) appearance from Colin Baker, who was around on the Saturday. The delightful Virginia Hey was on hand to regale fans with tales from Farscape and Mad Max 2, and most guests who did panels also did signings. For some reason, reality TV celeb Sean Kelly was also doing signings, and was quite popular with the crowds. Not to be confused with the Canadian comics writer of the same name, who wasn’t present.
True to its name, the Comic Con did feature actual comics and the all-important Comic Village was placed right in the heart of things. In addition to convention regulars such as Geeky Comic’s Victor Wright, Widdershins creator Kate Ashwin, Twisted Dark’s Neil Gibson and the comics power couple who are Jess Bradley and Paul Bove, we also had a fresh crop of exciting new artists. Some of these bright young things had chosen Manchester MCM as their first ever convention and it proved to be a bit of a baptism of fire. The convention centre was very, very busy. All creators were able to delight a comics-keen public with their wares, with trade being as swift and regular on both days.
Yet again, the true stars of the show were the general public. Despite it being a typical rainy Manchester weekend, the cosplayers were out in full force looking utterly fabulous. Everything from Star Wars to Attack on Titan, from Doctor Who to Game of Thrones was honoured with some sort of outfit. Many cosplayers celebrated an excellent day at the convention by heading over to Manchester’s world famous haunt for geeks, the Fab Café, where they partied into the small hours.
Manchester MCM Comic Con yet again proved that Manchester was a city with a truly geeky heart, even though they certainly do things differently there.
Photographs by Anne Davies and Martin Unsworth.