Let me start by saying that the title is a bit weird… saying post COVID doesn’t necessarily ring right because of course COVID is still very much a part of life and will remain so for the foreseeable future so when do we draw the line as to how we describe our current times? We are past the majority of lockdown rules in the UK and that’s what I’m talking about. What is Comic Con like now that these events are allowed and able to go ahead? Well I wanted to answer this question after going there myself today and letting the people who will still be attending tomorrow (although by the time this goes out we’re talking post midnight – so the people attending the new today) what to expect…
… And spoiler alert, no, it’s not the same.
What to Expect From MCM Comic Con London
If you have been before and perhaps have attended some other events, you’ll know that the London MCM is probably the cream of the crop – the cherry on top of UK cons… It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s shiny and it’s just nice! Those things I think haven’t changed all that much but there was a lot which was missing here and I’d say it felt more like London Film and Comic Con but in a nicer venue!
I’m not dumping on Film and Comic Con here, it has its own appeal and I’ll be heading back there next year, but it’s no MCM! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
MCM this time around was much smaller than you’re used to, and there is a lot of space between rows and the bigger stalls. In that sense it’s actually very refreshing. We even found space to eat our lunch, all be it on the floor, but they do have lots of floor space, there are loads of tables and in some areas even bean bags for lounging. The space really made it a far more pleasant experience than usual.
However one of the things which was missing were the big sellers… Funko, CEX, just about all of the mystery box companies and even Krispee Kreme were nowhere to be seen, which also meant that in the lead up to the con, other than the MCM merch, there was pretty much no talk of show exclusives. Even though we usually don’t bother with the Funko stall due to the queue, it felt weird not seeing it there.
At least Magic Madhouse didn’t let the side down and still made a familiar face appearance!
But that did mean one important thing… it gave the little guys a chance.
I don’t know if they’d been over shadowed in the past by the big sellers or if they never managed to get stalls before but I even saw the Toy Chronicle and Nema Studios there (I purchased from the latter and have to highly recommend checking them out for some amazing figures and a lovely chat), and the stalls specialising in Asian wares also were more mixed in this time rather than being bunched on the pink carpet (but again this is something we kind of missed), which meant we saw more of their gear. Again I purchased from a stall for the first time resulting in a couple of Pop Mart blind boxes.
There was one new big seller and I felt like their placement was a bit of a mistake. For years I always remember going to comic con and seeing Geeky Clean. I don’t use their stuff myself but my sister loves it so we always shop there for her birthday present. For the first time this year (that I am aware of) that stinky highstreet giant, Lush was there with a HUGE stall blasting music, covered in life size cherry blossom trees, a huge sign, massive, pink and neon, with people everywhere spraying their stink in your face! For me I hated it, but even more so I thought it was pretty bad of MCM to stick them right in front of Geeky Clean… Of all the places they could have put these 2 I think they made a terrible choice there!
I sincerely hope that Geeky Clean still did well. Go check them out BEFORE heading to Lush… Shop independent geek first before highstreet stink!
Other than that I guess it was comic con normality just on a slightly smaller scale than we’re used to. Still plenty of panels, lots of independent sellers, plenty of Funko pops, a few autograph sessions, an artist alley (formerly the comic village) and lots and lots of cosplayers… There is no better place to people watch than at a comic con is there!
What were the COVID rules like?
I have been to a couple of events now and I have to say that these guys are the first ones to actually check what they say they will check and I saw them turn people away who had not come prepared, so familiarise yourself with the procedure and don’t assume you can get in without following the rules!
You don’t need to wear a mask in the show as a whole but they do have some other restrictions for some panels etc, if you want hand gel bring your own and if you don’t like being in crowds yet… Don’t come – it’s still a very busy con, especially once the standard entry tickets arrive.
I do think it was very well organised though and I felt happy being there… We need to get back to some kind of normality soon right?
Is MCM London Comic Con Suitable for kids?
This is a question I have asked myself before from a family perspective with a young toddler and also for people with babies, and previously that answer was, not for little ones! However they have made some big changes and I think that now it actually is absolutely fine for kids… and so it should be!
No one take this the wrong way – keep in mind I go there and I include myself in this… We go to comic con, we arrive in fancy dress to gawp at toys, play video games, buy comic books and watch cartoons… Surely that sounds like a kids dream out! Yet most comic cons are rubbish for kids. Have you ever tried to buy something for a child at comic con? Especially clothing! But with the changes they have made to the tree house, MCM are paving the way for what they should do to give kids a place away from the busy hustle and bustle of a convention… and it is overwhelming for them!
They could do more in this area and a play area as advertised would have been nice – we were looking forward to that but it didn’t exist. Just a word to the wise MCM, for future reference, bean bags to chill out on is not a play area!
They did make up for it though by having a chill out zone which wasn’t over run this time with people without kids, putting on free face painting and activities like mask painting. I was genuinely impressed and can’t wait to bring my son back.
So is it worth going to?
Yes it is… It might not be the MCM you know and love… It’s missing the gaming and movie content as well as lacking the signs hanging from the ceiling etc which makes it feel less big… less impressive, but all the little things which actually might get lost in a big con just stand out even more. We spent at least as much time there as we always do, but instead came home with slightly more money left than usual too. We all had a great time and I recommend you go with the family!
And what ever you do, don’t miss the chance to grab some freeze dried skittles… it’s like eating actual magic!