The London MCM Expo is held every six months at the ExCel center, out in the docklands. It is (as I graciously coined last night) a 'tossed-salad of geekery'.
The primary focus is manga - as evidenced by the masses of enthusiastic cosplayers - but the organizers freely snap up any other media luminaries they can find. Linda Hamilton and Tony Curtis (surreally) headlined, but had to fight for elbow room with Universal Pictures, a host of video game companies and the car from Transformers.
As with last October's Expo, there was a small community of non-Manga comic creators at the event. Unfortunately for them, a rough poll of the MCM crowd would probably reveal that attendees' top five priorities were:
- "Free Hugs"
- Cardboard weaponry
- Batman: Arkham Asylum video game preview
- Linda Hamilton
I suspect the 'entire Western comic book tradition' would rank somewhere around 17th on the list. (Below pocky and above the extended preview for Bruno).
However, for the comic book fans, this worked out well. Despite the lack of an official presence from a big name publisher, about three dozen independent publishers cluttered the area, doing brisk business and spending some quality time with fans and new readers alike.
The only booth to have any sort of queue was Warren Ellis (noted with slight bitterness). Other stars, like Jamie McKelvie and Nick Abadzis, were accessible and very good company - willing to sketch, sign or shmooze.
Phonogram page by Jamie McKelvie.
A few others also stood out:
The Geek Syndicate
: The best (in production quality, humor and content) of the geek-related podcats. These gents are a pleasure to talk to - they've got their thumbs on the pulse of geekishness and are always good for a laugh. Makes for good karma - Barry Nugent's book, Fallen Heroes,
has been getting great reviews - with both TV and graphic novel adaptations in the pipeline.
Still one of the best (and oddest) of the UK webcomics. The unique style also makes for good swag - ninja bunny posters and badges have been joined by a set of Hokusai-style prints and a self-coloured t-shirt.
: Daring, weird and shark-obsessed publication from a pair of South African art students. The art varies from esoteric scrawling to absolutely stunning, and the writing is equally (and intentionally) erratic. The publication has legs (or fins) with several issues already out, and should be here to stay.
Laika print by Nick Abadzis
The ExCel Center itself is generally easy to get to - except this weekend when the DLR wasn't running - and has a lot of the basic, handy facilities that any convention should offer. A variety of food, a taxi rank, cash machines, lots of bathrooms, etc. A Fox's pub is located immediately outside the main entrance. With their wonderfully restrictive over-21's policy, it provides a welcome break from the sensory overload.
A good - if slightly exhausting - event. MCM Expo tries to be all things to all people and, oddly, seems to succeed.