This past weekend I once again attended the MCM London Comic Con, hosted as usual at the ExCel Centre in East London.
What made it a unique experience this time around however was that it was the first time that both my girlfriend, and her little brother, experienced anything like a Convention, let alone their first one being of this scope and magnitude.
Kel, her little brother, is a hardcore anime otaku and, honestly, the original thought of going back to the Comic Con was primarily for him. I thought it would be an awesome outing for us all as a group, but knew that he would adore the environment and the people in it the most. It would allow him to revel amongst his tribe, much in the same way as I did when I attended the weeks festivities of Wrestlemania 28. It’s a special moment when you find yourself amongst your people for the first time.
In truth, although I enjoy anime, I am not the die hard otaku that some people are, hence my legendary (infamous?) ‘Other Guy’ status over at UkAnifest. It’s a sad trend then that the majority of conventions that proudly display ‘Comic’ within the name, tend to look upon comic books as the red headed, bastard, step child within the Convention itself. MCM Expo primarily revolves around movies, video games and, undeniably, anime.
Anime is everywhere within this convention. It is unavoidable. Anime, manga, chats, merchandise (so…much…merchandise) and, of course, cosplay. Part of the fun of any convention consists of the people watching, spotting those in costumes and being ‘Wow’d, either by the intricate detail, or the lack thereof (though, ironically, these were sometimes unwittingly hysterical, and so memorable for different reasons). MCM Expo didn’t disappoint in this respect; there were so many amazing costumes, and thankfully Kel was on hand to grab a bunch of photos of some of his favourites, even if some of them went straight over my head. Hearing him exclaim excitedly “Desert Punks! Oh my god, Desert Punks!” was lost on me, in much the same way as my hushed, reverent tones of “Kevin Steen, Holy Shit!” would be wasted on him. But seeing that glint of recognition was awesome in itself. Here he was, truly amongst his people.
Although primarily there for the convention itself, I did want to make the most of my being there for one day only, using it as a quasi research trip for Temporary.
Author’s Alley is a place where wayward conventioners can be lured in by writers and creative types, all in the hope of shilling their labours of love, be it novel, comic book or art for a princely, often non negotiable, price. It’s also a place that I wanted to become acquainted with, in case my Temporary journey ever crosses paths with it.
Making my way through the multiple, man made avenues, I found myself unable to really slow down or stop to have any sort of meaningful conversation with any of these creators, due to the sheer weight of people crushing in on me from all sides. My experience squeezing through each of the thin alley ways made me feel as though I were living the nightmare life of toothpaste: squeezed out too fast and deposited on the other side, confused as to the rush of what had just happened that led me to being spat out the other end, barely able to take in the details of the numerous projects that surrounded me.
If my experience of the Saturday taught me anything, it was to enjoy the Convention’s sights and sounds on a Sunday. I was able to take in a few details of what the majority of creative exhibitors all had in common, information that I’ll hopefully be able to utilise in the future.
To be able to tour conventions, promoting this book, and meeting (hopefully) future fans would be an absolute dream come true. To share something you have created from nothing but the mere kernel of an idea, with an engaged and interested audience, well, that’s THE dream, and the Convention lifestyle is an undeniable, exciting, part of it. I hope one day to be able to partake of it.