On 19th and 20th July 2014 Manchester held its annual MCM Comic-Con expo at Manchester Central Convention Centre. As usual, thousands of people descended on Manchester for the event in an array of colourful cosplays and outfits. Day one of the convention was a wash out, however people still braved the rain and the queues to enjoy the day. Day two was drier, brighter and just as busy.
As the event has only been established for a few years it has naturally had some teething issues. In recent years the venue was not used to its full capacity, with everything being held in the one room, however this year the venue’s space was utilised much more. The panellists’ signing areas were situated in it’s own separate room. The space in the main hall was used mainly for distributors, with a lot of stalls each selling something to cater to even the pickiest of fans. There was even a separate seating area for people to sit and chill out, chat and take pictures together, very useful when you’ve been wandering around the stalls for hours! The stalls themselves included an eclectic mixture of comic book sellers, merchandise stands, fashion boutiques and stalls selling an array of delicious treats with large and smaller retailers alike.
Manchester MCM in 2013 had also been criticised for the length of queue’s to get into the event. This year there seemed to be little problems with queuing as everyone appeared to get in smoothly. Those who had priority tickets not having to queue for more than twenty minutes; a big improvement from last year!
Panellists at Manchester MCM included Sci-Fi stars Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn and Hattie Hayridge from the TV series Red Dwarf, Warwick Davis of the Harry Potter films, Kai Owen of Torchwood, voice actor Vic Mignogna (D.Gray man, Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragon Ball Z) and many more.
For cosplayers, the cosplay parade is the chance to show off their costumes and promote themselves in front of hundreds of people. I was, however a little disappointed when, although a good idea to use the venue’s audatorium rather than a makeshift stage elsewhere, the capacity wouldn’t allow a large size of con attendees. As such, many people, including myself and families of participants of the parade were left standing outside the auditorium. The cosplays this year however, were very impressive. The sheer volume and quality of cosplays was far better than other events I have attended. There was an eclectic mix of Sci-Fi, anime, game, comic book and popular culture cosplayers and the sheer majority of attendees seemed to at least have one member of their party in some form of cosplay.
What really made the event was the atmosphere. People were all so friendly and whatever your personal preference be it Anime/Manga, Comic books, fantasy, J-Culture or Science fiction people were welcomed, I have attended the con for two years now and both times felt very comfortable and happy, it is a great way to meet people who share similar interests, as well as those you don’t.
As one of the biggest conventions in the north of England, and the only one to bear the MCM Comic-Con name, the convention organisers have a lot of high expectations to live up to, particularly given the popularity of its counterparts all over the UK. Given the fact that the Con has a lot less space than say, London’s excel centre, Manchester MCM needed to provide the same standard at a smaller scale.
They seemed to do this well; there is truly something for everyone at all MCM events and with Manchester MCM really seeming to have improved on some of their issues, it seems likely that this will be a popular annual event for many years to come.
Report and photos by Vicki Anne