London MCM Expo – Oct 2009

LONDON MCM EXPO
24th-25th OCT 2009
EXCEL CENTRE, LONDON

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Taking place this weekend was London MCM Expo, at the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands. The MCM Expo is considered the UK equivalent of the San Diego Comic Con, albeit on a much smaller scale – although judging by this year’s huge queues and packed show floor that may soon change – with comic, anime, game and movie people and product all under one roof.

The Expo floor was split into a number of areas: comics/manga/anime, gaming, and main stage/signings, with plenty of things to see and do throughout the day. The games at MCM Expo were all in high demand, especially Left 4 Dead 2, Tekken 6, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and LEGO Rock Band, with a massive queue forming by mid-afternoon for L4D2 in particular. If you didn’t want to spend most of the day in a queue there was plenty of other games to choose from, from some of the biggest publishers in gaming today: Sega, Rising Star, Koei, Activision, EA, Bandai/Namco, and 2K Games to name a few. It wasn’t just games of the video variety that were available to play, the card gamers were out in force with Chaotic, Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds, Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering just some of the titles available to play at the expo.

As usual with any UK convention, the cosplayers were out in force, offering passing strangers free hugs (and cupcakes in some cases) and they were well catered for at MCM Expo – the anime and manga contingent of the expo was as huge as ever, with some of the top distributors in attendance, including Manga, MVM, ADV Film, TokyoPop and BEEZ, as well as the UK’s very own manga ’studio’ Sweatdrop. There were also plenty of stallholders from across the UK and beyond, offering everything an otaku could possibly want and more!

The Comic Village portion of MCM Expo featured the gamut of UK comics talent, from those writers and artists working with the major comic publishers to the independent small press talent, to the legend that is Alan Grant (Judge Dredd, Batman). The comic village was one of the highlight’s of London’s MCM Expo – I managed to snag a signed copy of Harker from the dapper Tony Lee, catch up with Antony Johnston and attend the ‘Comics Without Frontiers’ panel, during which Alan Grant revealed he was “pissed off” with the news that a PG-13 version of Lobo was on the way, bemoaning that fact that a teen-friendly rating was going absolutely against the original concept of the character, stressing that neither he, Keith Giffen nor Simon Bisley had been called upon to collaborate or even consult on the movie. Grant also seemed completely suprised  that Alex Garland was working on bringing Judge Dredd back to the big screen, announcing he nor Dredd’s creator, John Wagner, had heard anything from Rebellion and that no kind of input from the original comic writers had been sought – saying that was the reason he felt the first film went so disastrously wrong… (UPDATE: Judge Dredd concept artist, and artist of The Losers, Jock has confirmed that Dredd creator John Wagner has been consulted on the new Dredd project. According to Jock’s twitter: “Wagner’s been very much consulted on Dredd.”)

Throughout the day on the main stage there were presentations and panels from a variety of guests, on all sorts of subjects. Some of the highlights were the Sci-Fi UK presentation of the first eight minutes of the V remake (which you can see here), the Warehouse 13 panel, and Optimum’s The Losers panel. The main stage was popular throughout the weekend, non moreso than during the cosplay competition when the thousands of cosplayers in attendance got to show off their outfits and creations to an packed audience.

Overall London’s MCM Expo was a huge success. Despite some complaining that the queue system didn’t work – which was more down to the sheer number of people in attendance rather than organisational issues – everyone managed to have a good time. With the event having something for everyone, it was perfect for geeks and nerds of all ages. If, as Antony Johnston said during the ‘Comics Without Frontiers’ panel, we are currently living in the age of the nerd, then I can only see the MCM Expo increasing in both success and size in the future, and deservedly so.

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