The London MCM Expo is held at London’s Excel Centre twice a year, rounding up the best of cult entertainment, video games and comics. Hoards of fans descend upon the exhibition halls to collect autographs, buy merchandise and check out the latest cult releases.This year, the event is being held on the weekend of the 24th-25th of October.I’ve been attending Expo for several years now. As a follower of Japanese animation and comics, it’s been routine to attend one of the biggest events dedicated to fun stuff from the Far East. In recent years, the anime and manga connection has been the most prevalent at Expo, with lots of people attending in cosplay – costumes of their favourite anime, manga and video game characters. A large proportion of the stalls are also dedicated to anime and manga merchandise, all of them flooded with expensive, but sadly not always high quality merchandise. At any event like this, everyone is out to capitalise on a fan’s desperate need to own such and such, but it feels particularly itchy with the anime and manga stalls and their endless supplies of easily breakable keyrings, phone straps and mass-printed but expensive posters. Not to say that there aren’t one or two gems out there, but you have to be prepared to dig for them. Or pay through the nose for something truly special. Looks like I’ll have to either dig deep or chain my wallet shut.
Although the Expo has become known as an anime/manga event because of the number of fans in attendance, the increased number of cosplayers and the fact that cosplayers are generally the most eye-catching, it is a ‘Movie, Comic and Media’ Expo by name. There will be events and stalls dedicated to comics and cult tv shows and movies, such as a ‘True Blood’ panel and appearances from Tom ‘oh my God it’s the Doctor’ Baker and Craig ‘Hey it’s Lister, not Lloyd’ Charles. With Expo also being part of the London Games Festival, there are also attractions to whet any gamer’s appetite. A preview of Left 4 Dead 2 will tide over any zombie-slayers until the full release date and there will also be a full-size M12 Warthog LRV for all fans of Halo to fight over.
This is not to say that the Expo is all good, all the time. Food and drink prices at the Excel centre are ridiculous, but what can you expect from a highly populated exhibition centre? The Expo also grows in popularity each year, which can make navigating the show a bit of a cramped nightmare. There are also notorious ticketing issues, which in the past have led to massive queues even for those who purchased tickets in advance to allow early entry to the show. Hopefully this problem will be resolved this year with a new ticketing system.
The hangups are a price to pay for a weekend where I can wear my geeky colours with pride, fangirling over mascots, jumping up and down to get glimpses of some cult entertainment stars and admiring the hard work people have put into elaborate and fantastic costumes. My sandwiches will be packed, my shoes will be comfortable and my water bottle will be full. So maybe I’ll see you there!