MCM London Comic Con May 2022 Review

The last MCM before this was also the first back after the COVID hiatus which global events had to endure for a couple of years and it was a very different show with few stalls and few attendees, yet felt very relaxed and enjoyable at the same time. However in May 2022, MCM came back to the Excel with a real feeling of normality… Once you got in that is (we’ll get to that in a second).

The number of stalls was through the roof and the trends for this year were certainly independent creators (especially for artwork, with a lot of stickers out there), Funko pop stalls were back and there were far more trading card (especially Pokémon) sellers than I usually remember. The number of attendees for that matter also has risen back to normal levels, and this year it was heaving in there!

Entry Process

I touched on this a little above. The entry process!

We arrived by car and there were a lot of road closures around the docklands area so we came in from the other side to usual and when we got in to the car park they sent us to parking area 6. From there we followed the signs to the right telling us to go to parking area 9 (which we knew was actually to the left but followed the signs anyway), looped back round to the left in order to get to that area and followed the path out of the parking garage. So far so normal!

BUT then it told us to turn right and after walking along almost the entire length of the Excel (and it’s not small), we walked past another open door from the parking garage which would have saved us walking along half the Excel and then back on ourselves…

Did I mention that we’d arrived with a 3 and a half year old who had to walk all this way too?

We then walked along the entire end of the Excel and then half way along the other side of the Excel before making it to the queue hall. Thankfully there was a family queue there for the ticket pick up which was very nice, but not until the security guard without saying a word snatched the Maleficent staff from my son, attached a zip tie to it and gave it back – literally not a single word. I know he’s just a kid but surely some basic manners wouldn’t go amiss – especially at that age where he though the guy had just taken his staff away.

Anyway… We were in!

From here on it was actually a very pleasant (albeit busy) con and we thoroughly enjoyed our day, especially our son!

What’s there for kids?

I often complain about this one, but every year MCM get better and better on this front and I’d say they are easily the best large comic con for kids these days. Just some of the things they offered this year:

  • The tree house area is back and bigger than ever. I like that it now has people there and it is really marked out as an area for families so when our son needed to blow off a little out of cosplay steam he could jump on the bean bags and had he wanted to got his face painted and done some crafts.
  • The cosplay central stage put on a cosplay showcase specifically for kids which is amazing! They get to go on stage, strike a pose (almost fall off the stage – yep that little Maleficent was ours if anyone saw it) and get a certificate.
  • They had a stamp book this year to encourage people with kids to take part in all the kid friendly activities and be in with a chance of winning tickets for next time.
  • At the ticket pick up, kids got a wrist band with your phone number written on the inside should they get lost.

There’s probably much more including quidditch and light sabre classes which we didn’t join, but all of these things make it genuinely enjoyable for the entire family! I would now actually recommend it to anyone with kids, whether you’re of a nerdy disposition or not! Seeing kids walk around a meet some of their favourite characters from film and tv thanks to not the con organisers but the attendees in cosplay makes all the crowds worth while.

What else was there to do?

We by no means took part in everything (in fact with a kid with us we couldn’t do most of what follows but we knew it was there at least):

  • Displays of props, scenes and backdrops organised by various organisations, often for the purpose of being able to take awesome photos in cosplay including a lot of Star Wars and Stranger Things related scenes and items.
  • Table top and retro gaming area (which looked way bigger than usual)
  • Panels on a number of different stage and on a wide range of topics, including the adult cosplay masquerade.
  • Music and dance performances.
  • Stalls, and as I mentioned earlier there were lots and I’d say this time there was something for everyone, although having come on the Sunday a few stalls had sold out of everything when we got there. For us this was the big mystery box stall and the freeze dried sweet stall. But, other than that you could purchase stickers, pins, posters, t-shirts, comics, DVDs, toys, sculptures, cosplay accessories, replica weapons, trading cards, retro video gaming systems, drinking horns (because it’s a comic con staple for some reason), home wares and even bath bombs!
  • Have a go at quidditch.
  • Training sessions for the use of light sabres.
  • game and movie showcases.
  • Photo opportunities including with celebrities, who were also signing autographs.

The choices when it comes to catering were much better again this year with a wide range of stalls inside the con halls (as well as the venue stalls in the gangway) from bbq to Korean and Pakistani to hot dogs. The food (we had the BBQ) was delicious, actually came out pretty quickly but was shockingly expensive! £24.50 for a chicken burger and then a chicken burger with chips! One thing I hadn’t seen before though which I bet was popular (we certainly used it) was a pick ‘n’ mix sweet cart.

Overall this was an absolutely blinder of an event with the exception of the entry process, which I think seemed to be a venue issue rather than by the organisers, and hopefully it will be sorted out ready for next time.

We’ll certainly be there again in October!

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