With such a popular event comes the queuing, of course, and long lines of eager fans were the first thing you’d see as you approached the venue. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was cheerful, with a good proportion of the attendees coming dressed up and all enjoying the sights of each other’s costumes.
The effort that goes into cosplay for these events always impresses us. Unlike last year’s disproportionate population of Harley Quinns, there was no massively recurring outfit this year, but instead a wide variety of superhero, sci-fi, and anime-inspired costumes. See the gallery below for some of our favourites! If you’re wondering, the STARBURST team came as dishevelled journalists.
As to the event itself... the main hall of the convention centre was filled with a range of stalls selling all sorts of merchandise – T-shirts, art prints, questionably licensed LEGO figures, and everything in between – but one popular trend this year was mystery boxes, offered up by many stalls and filled with... well, we can’t tell you, because that would spoil the mystery. And also because we don’t know.
Let’s not forget the Comics Village – this is a comic con, after all – in which indie writers, artists, and publishers peddled their latest books. Those present included Gary Erskine, Rachael Smith, Accent UK’s Colin Mathieson, Simon Birks, Jess Taylor, and much more... apologies to those we’ve not had space to mention! Though the swathes of merchandise stalls at these bigger events can risk overshadowing the small publishers, it’s great to see the creativity that the British small press has to offer and the impressive work on display no doubt made this a successful con for those selling it. It was also nice to see the location of the Comics Village; it was much more prominent this year and many artists benefitted from the extra footfall.
The big names that helped draw the crowds, however, were the celebrity guests. Warwick Davis, Arrow’s Manu Bennett, Star Trek’s Denise Crosby, Primeval’s Andrew Lee Potts, Power Rangers’ Johnny Yong Bosch, Red Dwarf’s Chris Barrie, and the Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno, all held signings, photo sessions, and Q&As, though we were particularly surprised at the length of the queue to see Metal Gear Solid star David Hayter. The cast of Doctor Who spin-off Class looked a bit more lonely at their stand when we passed it, though Greg Austin later managed to gather some attention with a Twitter call-out to help him catch an Articuno on Pokémon Go – anything that pulls in the punters, we suppose.
Another Who spin-off, Torchwood, was also represented, with Gareth David-Lloyd and Kai Owen present throughout the weekend. We caught some of their Q&A session and enjoyed seeing Owen as unrestrained as ever, seemingly forgetting the children present as he recalled his role as ‘Paedo Pete’ in Hollyoaks and invited everyone to a rather messy after party in Gareth’s hotel room.
Other activities on offer included the Steampunk Emporium, the Game of Thrones Iron Throne Experience, a gaming area, and the UK qualifiers for the EuroCosplay championship. All in all, it was a jam-packed and satisfying couple of days for all who attended, and MCM must be pleased that a whole load of people did – the convention centre was full to the brim on Saturday and almost as busy on Sunday. We’ll look forward to their return to the city next year.