MCM Comic Con May 2012 report
|NEWS - OFFWORLD|
Watch out for the roving Star Wars stormtroopers - but even they can't disperse such a throng of geeks...
Approaching the MCM Comic Expo by London’s transport system reminded me a little of a long-ago family trip to Disney World, Florida. I distinctly recall that the road signs to that particular fibreglass paradise were modified so that, as the approaching motorist progressed down the highway, an image of Mickey Mouse slowly rose ominously, a little more showing on each sign, with the entire endeavour presumably engineered to whip already-frantic children into a fevered whirlwind of pester-power. Hunkering down in the heart of London’s east-end Docklands like a immensely excited spider wearing a pink bow and a cardboard sword, the strands of the Comic Con’s web extend far into the city, leading to the edifying sight of a crowd of cosplayers baffling the weekend crowds at Waterloo station.
As my brave companion and I approach the lair, the Docklands Light Railway train picks up costumed adventurers like a regularly timetabled Katamari, all tumbled noise and colourful hair, excited laughter and good friends having a good time. Finally we stumble out into the bright sunshine of a heatwave and follow the crowds to the Excel centre hosting the event, pausing only to admire the dedication and fortitude of a woman in a full Donkey Kong outfit and 30C heat.
A circuit of the main convention hall reveals an event which is primarily dedicated to animé, manga and gaming, with very little on offer for fans of some of the other intellectual properties with an established following. The brave companion expresses some disappointment at the lack of Dr Who memorabilia, for example, but is soon placated when we encounter several attendees cosplaying as the TARDIS itself together with a number of niknaks for sale at one of the many stalls.
Squeezing past a very tall man dressed as one of many Princess Bubblegums (Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time making a strong outing this year) and a woman leaving very little to the imagination, we found ourselves observing a demonstration of Kinect Star Wars. If the fate of the universe rests on the ability of a select group of gamers to mime chopping cucumbers repeatedly, we’re in safe hands. The “artists’ alley” section of the convention was entertaining, with the usual variety of talent and self-published works on offer. Artist James E Snelling offered a particularly exciting approach in the form of a graphic novel told in a series of exquisite oil paintings, conjuring something of the ambience of Kit Williams. Certainly one to watch out for.
There was a wide assortment of promotional material for forthcoming features, with The Lorax sponsoring the show, and heavy trailing in evidence for Snow White and the Huntsman and the peculiar Ninja Turtles reboot, from the accursed Michael Bay, sectioned off in a separate area (where it can frankly remain, unnamed and unloved by those of us with fond memories of the original films and cartoons [except those who also happen to be Michael Bay fans - News Ed.]).
The MCM Expo has a deserved reputation as a fun event with plenty on offer for fans and cosplayers alike, but unfortunately feels, just sometimes, like more of a vehicle for shilling and advertising than a genuine congregation of fans. For those wishing to make some esoteric purchases and laugh along with a posed Avengers cosplay scene featuring five Thors and two Lokis, however, it’s a worthwhile afternoon of entertainment.
See also Shadowlocked's coverage of last year's event:
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