MCM Comic Con ~ Birmingham, NEC

Tis the season! Autumn geek heaven for my family and I…

Which basically means photographs with awesome cosplays, hearing amazing panel talks with stars of the small and big screen, plenty of gaming opportunities and of course that all important C word… Crimes of Griswald? No, CHRISTMAS. If Santa should be directed anywhere to fulfill my Christmas wish list, it’s Comic Con. Mission completed!

This time we mixed it up a bit, spending Saturday being led by our 4 year old, doing what he wanted to do and the Sunday enjoying the convention the way we wanted to – as much as the 4 year old would allow!

MCM know how to do a large-scale Comic Con and the Cosplayers were out in force, we felt under-dressed for not being in costume. So many fandoms represented by attendees, the atmosphere was buzzing and footfall appeared to be on the up.

Here are 4 year old Connor’s highlights of the Saturday:

  • The Grinch ~ The Grinch is on trend again this festive season with the new animated movie having landed on the big screen. I was already a fan of the original film starring the incomparable Jim Carrey, however the smallest member of our family is now taking an active interest in the character. You can imagine his excitement when early in his comic con experience he was confronted with a giant snow globe featuring the miserly green creature! The queues were never too long for this festive treat which meant we were clambering in beside the Grinch and getting covered in snowflake-like paper on both days of the con. Great fun!
  • SPIDERMAN! ~ suspended from the ceiling and hanging upside down. Not the real thing but close enough and a feature which held Connor’s interest and helped him to know where about in the hall he was too.
  • Storm Troopers ~ we always have to make a beeline for UK Garrison if their members are not already marching towards us. Connor’s main request of the weekend was that he saw and high fived the Storm Troopers and located Chewbacca. His wishes were granted and the traditions of MCM Comic Con were upheld!
  • Super Mario ~ Nintendo were a prominent feature in the gaming areas and extremely attractive to our young lad, especially given that he’s newly discovered the Wii.
  • TOYS ~ the temptation to pick up everything in sight and within reach at the numerous stalls was almost too much for a 4 year old convention attendee to cope with! Overwhelmed sums it up and had we not already got Christmas covered, we could have easily done ALL the Christmas shopping in that hall and had a very happy believer on Christmas morning after Santa had done his job.

Here are the highlights from a 39 year old and 46 year old who are old enough to know better but would rather not(!):

  • Talks/Panels ~ so many to choose from and plenty of different stages with something going on over the weekend. We particularly enjoyed listening to and learning from the talented artist, Mark Kistler who taught us how to draw a cartoon fish. On the main stage there was a Star Wars panel and the wonderful Mary McDonnell was also a star feature.
  • Cosplay ~ there seemed to be an increased number of costumed attendees and the sheer attention to detail that goes in to some of the cosplays is nothing short of incredible. There are some super-talented super-fans out there.
  • Props ~ props from our favourite movies and television shows are always a winner and you can always rely on UK Garrison to recreate memories from Star Wars. The Cybermen were also fascinating to look at, that’s the closest I’ll ever be getting to one at any rate!
  • Christmas Shopping ~ my husband pretty much got Christmas wrapped up for me – everything on my wish list was on display at the wide range of stalls and all budgets were catered for too. From commercial to rarer items, if you have a Christmas list from a geek, Comic Con is the place to shop at.

Do you want to see what all the buzz is about? Then why not check out MCM’s website and book tickets for one of their many awesome events next year: MCM Comic Con

 

 

 

Advertisements

Brick Live! ~ NEC, Birmingham

Lego has been a firm favourite of mine since I was 4 or 5 years old, probably – although it wasn’t entirely clear who loved building with the popular blocks more – me or my dad! With a son now aged 4 (almost 5 years old) who is already interested in the many movies Lego have released and has jumped headlong into building Lego houses, Brick Live! seemed like the ideal opportunity to fuel the passion and be a big kid myself, not that I need an excuse…

The NEC played host to the event and it’s taken place over four days 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th November.  We attended on the opening day and the highlights of the day were plentiful. It’s the perfect family day out and a fantastic indoor event to take the kids to during half term holidays too.

Here are a few of the features we loved:

Lego Statues

The giant Lego statues were more of a fascination for me than my youngster, however he was particularly taken with the witch, given that we have just celebrated Halloween she was a draw for his eager eyes! I personally adored the Mystical Creatures feature and thought the Cyclops in particular was inspired. It only goes to show that the builds you can make with Lego bricks are limitless.

Have a go….

Lego pits were situated all over the hall and they were in regular use by all of the small guests who thought nothing or launching themselves in to the bricks (even though all of us parents know what it’s like to accidentally step on an offending piece of Lego!!). Duplo was available too for the less dexterous and little fingered enthusiast as well as larger rubber bricks which were fun for all. The more seasoned builders could avail themselves of the various stations situated around the venue and leave their makes out for all to see. There were some amazing quick makes to be seen, there are some very talented young builders around!

Robot Wars

Who doesn’t love robot wars? We see a lot of battles at Comic Con when MCM visit the NEC and it’s always a marvel to see, when the robots have been built with Lego it’s all the more exciting. There’s good sized arena for the audience to sit and watch too.

Aim high

Have your kids tried a climbing wall before? If not there’s a chance to do just that and everybody taking up the challenge looked like they were loving it. What a brilliant idea.

Meet Friends

Lego Friends are the new-ish addition to the Lego family and four talented young ladies represented the popular characters superbly in the Lego Friends section of the show. Offering a dance demo then opening the floor to their young fans, the girls led the throng of wannabe dancers who joined in. My little boy thought it was amazing and it was one of his personal highlights. The final tune they danced to, from Disney’s Zootropolis summed up what I felt was the ethos of the show, ‘try everything’ and Brick Live! has plenty of chances for everybody to try everything. The photo opportunity with the girls afterwards didn’t go amiss either.

Game on!

Do you enjoy gaming AND Lego? Consoles were available for anyone who fancied a break from hands on building and the Super Mario Party stand seemed to be the place to be.

Save your pennies up

There’s plenty of merchandise to buy and having an event so close to Christmas means that it’s tempting to make a few festive purchases as gifts (especially while your kids’ backs are turned!). Lego has never been an inexpensive hobby of course, so it’s worth saving those pennies if you fancy treating yourself or your loved ones! It’s worth checking out the exhibition prices applied to some of the sets if you’re in the market to add to your collection or someone else’s.

As the queues outside the Lego store in London’s Leicester Square go to prove, Lego never loses its place in the hearts of small and big kids alike – so Brick Live! is an innovative idea which attracts all age groups and we’ll be very excitedly anticipating a return visit in the future. Everything is awesome!

MCM Comic Con, NEC Birmingham ~ March 2017

Be sure to visit http://www.mcmcomiccon.com for the forthcoming dates and venues of the 2017 conventions and book in advance if you can, always worth it!   

Comic Cons are the highlights of our calendar every year here at Break A Leg. Yours truly is a Whovian, Star Wars fan and a gamer (when I get the time!) so these events are my not so guilty pleasure. Equally, my husband and son are also geeky and we are always impressed by the number of guests, variety of stalls and abundance of talks we can attend throughout the weekend. Here are a few reasons to love and get yourself to a Comic Con, especially an MCM-hosted one! Plus some highlights of the weekend:

UK Garisson ~ The UK Garisson are a continued delight and highlight for me at all Comic Cons, my little boy immediately looks for them upon arrival and excitedly high fives various Storm Troopers. This time, the group have out-done themselves, the sheer number of costumed members was incredible and the photo opportunity on the stairs outside the halls (as seen in the featured photo) was a moment I will never forget. It actually brought a tear to my eye, I admit it! What UK Garisson does for charity is commendable and they never fail to put a big smile on people’s faces, whether it be making small children happy or us big kids.

Cosplay ~ I love that so many people dress up at Comic Con now that we who aren’t costumed look like the abnormal ones. Attending Comic Cons is tempting me to cosplay and I don’t think it will be long before all of the Break A Leg family are indulging. Watch this space! However, applause to all of the fantastic costumes that were on display and had been lovingly put together by attendees. A shout out to one lovely girl who was dressed as Belle, too – she stole my little lad’s heart, and he almost stole her rose, oops! I am a member of the MCM Comic Con Facebook group and I see the progress that some people choose to share when they’re in the process of making their costumes. It is fascinating and quite a skill.

Panels ~ There was a wide variety of talks available to attend in the Theatre this time. The inflatable auditorium was clearly feeling deflated elsewhere! Red Dwarf are always a popular panel and they were followed by Starsky and Hutch and a special panel for the Keith and Paddy Picture Show where Keith Lemon told the gathered crowds all about the upcoming comedy series that he has undertaken with Paddy McGuinness. Sunday saw Michael Landes and Billie Piper take to the stage (not together… but there’s a thought…). I saw Michael Landes talking on the MCM Buzz stage on Saturday and he was a great guest, embracing the fans and he would have happily stayed chatting all day. The Allo Allo panel on the MCM stage was also a brilliant session, Kim Hartman, Arthur Bostram, Guy Siner and Richard Gibson delighted fans with talk of the series that was and still is so loved. It was emotional to hear about their fond memories of the late Gordon Kaye.

Merchandise ~ The range of merchandise improves every time. Although I tend to find that it’s even better in November when the stall holders are pulling out the stops for potential Christmas shoppers. I personally like Funko Pops and geeky jewellery and I can find both in every nook and cranny, which keeps me happy and my husband looking decidedly worried! I hope that there will continue to be such a great array of stalls and that November makes Christmas shopping all the easier for my husband! Prices at this Con seemed to be reasonable across the board, too – plus if you hang around on the last day, reductions tend to happen…

Family Fun ~ Most of all, I recommend Comic Cons as a family fun day. Everybody in the Break A Leg family enjoys these events and we all get something out of it. Yes, merchandise I my case! MCM do host large scale ones, but I find that I get the most out of the biggies. It can be as pricey as you make it, however if you’re likely to be tempted to make purchases, go equipped with a full wallet!

 

 

MCM Comic Con, Birmingham ~ NEC

I’ve been attending Comic Cons for over ten years, on and off and been a frequent visitor in my press capacity (and fan-girl capacity!) for most of that time. MCM Comic Con in Birmingham is always one of the local events of the year for me. It’s a large-scale geek’s dream with Christmas present ideas galore if you go to the November Comic Con.

mcm

This year’s was no different and possibly the best one I’ve been to this year, and I thought that the effort that Wales Comic Con put in was a sterling one. The layout worked for me, this time, plenty of room to walk around even though advance tickets were sold out. The theatre had plenty of capacity and excellent choices of guests giving talks. Peter Davison was one of my personal favourites, Red Dwarf panel was as much fun as ever and AJ Michalka was a name I wasn’t overly familiar with, but she was fascinating to listen to. What I love about the Q&A sessions is sitting in on those that I know nothing or very little about, I learn something and pick up a new TV show or movie to look out for.

mcm-1

Giant minions over-looking proceedings were a hit with my toddler, and the UK Garrison brought a fantastic set with them as usual. You could have your photo taken in a Storm Trooper helmet or say hello to a droid. They are a integral part of every con and it’s always a bit exciting when the troopers line up for Darth Vader’s inspection – yes, I know it’s not real… or is it?

The guests in the signing  area were plentiful and varied, Doctor Who, James Bond and Red Dwarf were well represented and it was a coup to have Flash Gordon himself, there aka Sam J. Jones. The last time I saw him was in the first Ted film. Speaking of that bear, thanks so much for the Ted 2 tshirt, I love it! Another reason to like the panel sessions, there are always some fabulous give aways. Tokyo Toys are always among one of the generous benefactors and we were delighted to bring home some Top Trumps Marvel cards for our little lad, too. The Kidzone was well patronised, free face painting being a crowd pleaser, light sabre training being another and the circus skills was an ideal place to allow some of the smaller children to run around.

mcm-3

Wrestling was an attraction drawing huge crowds as well as robot wars, these add extra entertainment to the billing and I hope to see more of the wrestling in future – definitely a favourite!

mcm-2

Over the years Comic Cons seem to have grown in popularity and they are popping up everywhere too. The number of people who choose to Cosplay at the events always increases and that ‘makes’ a con for me. As a self-confessed geek, big movie and TV fan, as well as a gamer – I am delighted that cons exist for us to all be geeks together and have a lot of fun free from judgement. All fandoms meet in harmony and I know that some fans are brave enough go by themselves and make friends there. Long live comic cons say I, and long live MCM, too!

I had a great opportunity to network so watch out for some amazing interviews…

Here’s the link to book your tickets for all of MCM’s glorious events: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/

Photo Credits: Garry McWilliams

 

MCM Comic Con ~ Birmingham ~ 19th & 20th March 2016

March madness descended upon NEC, Birmingham on 19th and 20th of the month and a myriad of Cosplayers were out in force to seek out their desired goodies from the massive range of stalls available. The layout seemed much improved with fewer bottle necks and easy access for a family with a buggy (aka us!). I found it easier to find a space to treasure hunt at the stalls and there was an excellent variety of dealers on hand, The Sword Stall and Stateside Stills proving particularly popular.

The number of guests signing in the memorabilia area was phenomenal, ranging from Carry On Stars, to Star Wars actors, to Primeval favourites as well as the ever popular Red Dwarf contingent. UK Garrison are a regular feature at Comic Con and they had their usual storm troopers doing the rounds as well as Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Wicket the Ewok in residence. They had brought along an interesting display of trooper helmets and the famous pod-racer was also a highlight. A good array of photo sessions were also on offer with a variety of stars present over the weekend.

A superb line-up of panel sessions took place in the theatre, Warwick Davies was by far, top of the bill, but there was also a fantastically lively panel with the Red Dwarf cast.

The cosplayers never fail to impress with their magnificent costumes, it was interesting to see some different characters make an appearance this time. The attention to detail with some of the costumes is faultless. The quality and organisation of MCM’s comic cons gets better at every event and I can’t wait for November!

 

MCM Expo Comic Con ~ NEC, Birmingham

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

10420140_10152785900947549_8002763578667595983_n 1795741_10152785901652549_7546333372477933194_n

MCM Expo presented comic con and memorabilia at its best on 21st and 22nd March at Birmingham’s NEC. Easily our favourite venue for this event, the halls were buzzing and the tills appeared to be ringing as some stalls were more than ten deep at frequent periods during the weekend.

UK Garrison and Rebel Legion had brought along their best storm troopers as usual, with a wide variety of characters from the ‘Star Wars’ franchise available for photo opportunities. Actor, Warwick Davis was also present, with a lengthy queue of fans at his table and it was a fortuitous time for him to be there as UK Garrison celebrated their 15 year anniversary. Congratulations to you from Break A Leg Review.

Funko Pop seems to be one of the ‘must have’ items this year, we saw many dealers with a huge array of the figures and stock appeared to be flying off the shelves. As Disney fans, we can appreciate the draw of them and long may they reign!

Cosplay is always such a key element at comic cons and on this occasion we saw many Disney characters strolling around, there were particularly impressive ‘Sleeping Beauties’, perfect Captain Jack Sparrows and a superb Zarina (the pirate fairy) from the ‘Tinkerbell’ films. We never cease to be amazed by the effort that cosplayers put into their costumes and we have been fortunate enough to interview two regular con-goers who are cosplayers, themselves. Their interviews can be found here: https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/break-a-leg-review-interview-ian-blyth/ and here: https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/break-a-leg-review-interview-samantha-kent/

For the first time, this year we caught the cosplay parade, and we were impressed with the confidence that all of the participants displayed. It’s an inspired way for enthusiasts to showcase their ‘talent’ and we will look out for the parade again at future cons.

The next Birmingham events is 21st to 22nd November and you can buy tickets in advance here when they become available:  http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/birmingham/

The next MCM Expo will be on 22nd to 24th May and the venue is Excel in London, advance tickets can be purchased here: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/

 

 

 

 

MCM Midlands Comic Con ~ Telford International Centre

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

1796469_10152710756742549_1024781942196853001_n 10987622_10152710756852549_2299218947014175335_n

 

 

 

 

 

Our first visit to Midlands Comic Con in Telford was a fantastic experience, so much packed in despite the fact that the event is on a smaller scale than we’re used to seeing at the NEC in Birmingham. 

Cosplayers were out in full force, with some amazing efforts, please look out for interviews with some of the cosplayers we have been fortunate enough to meet so far. We thought that the amount of cosplay was immense back in November 2014 in Birmingham, and Telford’s attendees certainly maintained the standard. We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with for the Birmingham event next month. 

There was a modest MCM Theatre Schedule which included a ‘Red Dwarf’ panel with Robert Llewelyn and Chris Barrie, they drew a predictably large crowd of enthusiastic fans who were delighted to see the ‘Rimmer ‘salute’in its entirety. The two stars also commanded a queue of autograph seekers in the ‘signing zone’ and were definitely a ‘hit’. The appeal of ‘Red Dwarf’ never wanes and we look forward to seeing more panels featuring the cast at future cons. 

Prior to the ‘Red Dwarf’ panel we attended ‘Commander Shepard Uncovered with Mark Meer’ which was extremely insightful and there were some good probing questions from the audience and Meer was an engaging interviewee. We are keen gamers ourselves and we were particularly interested to listen in on this. We hope to see this item repeated at future events and it is evident Meer is such a coveted voice actor. 

UK Garrison and Rebel Legion UK were present for Star Wars fans to have photographs taken with, their costumes never fail to amaze us and it wouldn’t be MCM without them. This time we were excited to see Chewbacca, no mean feat remaining in that size of costume for such a length of time. We had an interesting discussion with one of the members of ‘UK Garrison’ with regards to putting together our own costumes, and we recommend any Star Wars enthusiast who would like to ‘cosplay’ as accurately as they do to get in touch with them and join the forum. Equally you can speak with ‘Rebel Legion’ if you would rather be a Jedi or similar. Links are here http://www.ukgarrison.co.uk/ http://www.rebellegion.com/ 

We look forward to reporting from future MCM events throughout 2015, suffice to say that Telford has kick-started the year with a bang!

10418172_10152710752782549_1438196337858295285_n

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: