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!

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 Midlands Comic Con ~ Telford International Centre

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

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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!

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MCM Expo – NEC, Birmingham

 

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Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

MCM Expo at the NEC, Birmingham was a fabulous joy to behold and scheduling it post-Halloween and Bonfire night makes for great timing as the highlight of the autumn calendar for Cosplayers, gamers and film/TV fans alike. If this con was anything to go by, we’d say that the number of Cosplayers has increased and long may it do so – we’re considering joining in next time, too.

The downside of this particular event was that we could only stay for Saturday, so we missed out on some promising talks on the Sunday. To give you a flavour of the line-up, there was an opportunity to join the cast and crew of upcoming movie “The Call Up”, a Q&A session with voice actor, Todd Haberkorn, and a panel for the 50th anniversary celebration of ‘Goldfinger’. All of that and much more, and that was just on Sunday!

On Saturday, our visit got off to a tremendous start with various members of UK Garrison meeting and greeting outside the hall. Mostly Stormtroopers at this particular point, they were all resplendent in their gear, spot on as usual. These guys are an asset to conventions and we feel it wouldn’t be MCM Expo without them. The layout of the event was well planned, plenty of room for manoeuvring a buggy (our youngest and newest member of the team joined us, this year!) and it was an ingenious idea to allow the Steampunk area to stand out upon entry. The Victorian Steampunk Society, who have been part of MCM London for 11 Comic Cons were immediately visible and packed a great programme into the two days.

So many famous faces to meet and obtain autographs from, too, they ranged from a few cast members from hit TV series ‘Allo Allo’ to stars from ‘Doctor Who’ and a variety of Movie stars, with some ‘Only Fools and Horses’ thrown in! An impressive line-up, to say the least, and the schedule of panels for the day were outstanding. We joined the ‘Red Dwarf’ session where Chris Barrie, Hattie Hayridge, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn and Chloe Annett answered some insightful questions from the audience who had gathered inside of ‘the marshmallow’ aka the theatre area which consisted of an inflatable marquee. We applauded the fact that Chris Barrie launched so easily into the voice of ‘Gordon Brittas’ and there were some respectful nods towards Craig Charles who has prematurely left ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ due to the death of his brother. It was an interesting panel and one we would be keen to see repeated in future.

The arrival of ‘Harry Potter’ star Tom Felton was the ‘piece de resistance’ and we think it’s safe to say, a moment that the Potter fans who, were clambering over one another to get a space in ‘the marshmallow’ will never forget. Tom is fronting a documentary for BBC3 about ‘what it is to be a fan’; it’s a good concept and a subject which could easily go on and on. An hour passed and he still hadn’t gotten through all of his questions, but it was a panel with a difference, with all questions being aimed at the audience instead of vice versa. We felt this added an extra dimension to the Con and it was a privilege to be part of it.

All dates and venues for next year’s MCM Expos are available on their website www.mcmcomiccon.com, and as always, this is a must-attend event for ‘Break A Leg Review’.

Please check back for an exclusive interview with author, Andrew Ross – who has written “Too Happy A Face” (which is an authorised biography of screen legend, Joan Sims) published by Fantom Films. Andrew was signing copies of his book at MCM Expo and it was a pleasure to meet him.

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Members of the cast of Red Dwarf                    Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter)     

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