MCM Comicon Birmingham 2014!By Sj.Cliff
We’ve returned to MCM’s comic book extravaganza for the second year running to see how this year stacked up!
And weren’t we pleasantly surprized! This year’s event was buzzing with people of all ages, packing Halls 7 – 20 to a near standstill. Over 35,000 people crammed themselves into the NEC over the weekend, itching to catch a glimpse of the unusual stalls and special guests – that were of a calibre MCM Birmingham has never seen before. Tom Felton (aka Draco Malfoy), Chris Barrie (Rimmer of Red Dwarf), Bond Girl Shirley Eaton, and Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy from Game of Thrones) as well of as the cast of Only Fools and Horses and ‘Allo ‘Allo were all available for photographs and interviews – and boy were there queues! We only got this close…
But celebs weren’t the only draw to MCM. Within the halls were different areas, each appealing to a different part of your inner geek. My personal favourite, as it was last year, was the dealer village. There’s always a broad spectrum of comics available here that you would be hard-pushed to find elsewhere. After what felt like hours scrabbling through vintage prints of both familiar and not so familiar characters, I managed to settle on a couple of Batman Story arcs, from a stall specialising in American graphic novels at English prices. Cool, right?
But it’s not just comics that you can pick up at a fraction of the price. Stalls inside the convention sell a variety of niche products – many of which I felt a massive compulsion to buy. Cartoon and comic print laden clothing and home ware spanned desks; amazing hats, flags and swords lined the walls and spaced nicely in between were the cutest selection of plushes you’ll ever see. While you can see what some people would question about the tastes of people attending, there’s something strangely drawing about a Pikachu pillow…
The main draw of the event is the costume parade, where the sea of onlookers was parted to allow icons from the Sci-Fi and fantasy world to glide past. Marching through the halls, the costumes get as many visitors drawn to them as the celebrity guests! When you look at the quality, you’ll understand exactly why.
Despite the wonder that the Comicon held, there were some pitfalls to the fantasy sense growing fan base. For those who didn’t plan in advanced and book a ticket, the experience was somewhat less pleasant. For reasons unknown, during the first day of ticket sales the security team deemed it a good idea to pull the fences containing the orderly line and release the flock of eager comic fans upon the already stretched ticketing staff.
I spoke to Jamie Whittaker, a graduate from Staffordshire University, who had been queuing for around two hours to secure his ticket – only to have the queue disband around him. He spoke of the madness when the barriers were released:
“We must have been waiting in line for over two hours, and just as we got into the final line, the queue just disappeared and everyone surged towards the box office. There was a woman kicking off at the staff trying to contain it, so we just had to sneak through to the front to get a ticket. It’s really unfair to people like us who’ve been waiting for ages.”
Despite the obvious popularity, only 6 ticket windows were open – which poses the question, was the popularity of the event misjudged? As well as, whose great idea was that?!
Despite a small slip up, the stand out feature of Comicon, as always, is the atmosphere. Regardless of age, background… anything really, people attending are all super friendly and supportive. Whether you’re kind of into the new superman film, like a few games on the weekend or secretly wish you were Bruce Wayne, I’d totally recommend visiting next year! You never know, you may be a bigger nerd than you think…