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

 

 

 

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Coventry Comic Con 2018

Star rating: *****

Comic Con, a staple part of my geekery diet which must be dosed up on regularly – last year our team were delighted that a new convention popped up in Coventry and we were so impressed that we made damn sure that their 2018 sequel was in the diary. We were not disappointed, Coventry Comic Con has got it all – here are a few of the many positives:

  • Well organised – the organisation is top notch, this con has been well though out and the planning that must have gone into making it as successful as it undoubtedly was is evident. From the car parking stewards, to the security to the box office staff, everybody does a seamless job in helping us fans have a great time. No complaints from us!
  • Easily accessible – the event itself is very easily accessible, with the stalls, guests, attractions and talks all on the ground level. Likewise the facilities are also at ground level making this ideal for any fans who may have a disability. Fun for everybody, quite literally – that’s a massive double thumbs up.
  • Expanding each year – in comparison to its debut year, the growth and expansion is clear. From the larger variety of stalls and artists introduced to the additional space used to house the event which was also utilised for the guest talks. The layout was ideal and it’s fantastic to see the convention already going from strength to strength. Bigger and better again next year? Let’s do it!
  • Stalls offering affordable collectables – the number of stalls offering budget collectables made such a refreshing change. Often many of us save up for an event like this in case there’s a tempting item or two. However, if like us, your four year old has spent your pennies over the school holidays, there’s still plenty of merchandise available at affordable prices. Many pocket money options too which is superb for the four year old who’s gleefully continuing to spend the money you don’t have…
  • Cosplay galore – the number of extraordinary cosplayers on the loose appeared to have increased since the previous year. The grounds of the venue offer opportunities for cosplayers to have professional photographs taken too. The details that goes into the costumes is eye-catching in the extreme. Of course a convention isn’t a convention without a few Stormtroopers on hand and a flossing Chewbacca!
  • Plenty of space to walkabout (and run, skip, meaner about) in – is you’re easily claustrophobic, the amount of space left between stalls and attractions allows room to breathe. It’s notable how easy it is to have a proper look at the merchandise and the displays. Definitely a big plus and one of the top features that Coventry Comic Con has going for it. All the more room t floss in!!
  • Reasonably priced refreshments available – the refreshments available are at affordable prices too, so you don’t need to make a decision between the action figure and having a burger, you can have both! The staff who runs the facility are efficient and the food is delicious too. Big thumbs up to the best Comic Con catering!
  • A room to ‘chill out’ in – although we didn’t make use of it, we heard that there was a room to take a break in and that in itself is a genius idea. It can be an overwhelming experience to be in the hub-bub of a Comic Con, especially if it’s your first. This initiative should be adopted comic con-wide. It could be used as a time out room for cheeky Stormtroopers too…
  • Free retro arcade games – we all made use of these, a quick game of Street Fighter and even on Fix It Felix didn’t go amiss and was a welcome break from walking, looking and daydreaming over what we’d buy if money was no object. Making it a free area for everyone to enjoy was a bonus. We love a bonus!
  • Guest stars – the Guest Stars meeting and greeting fans appeared relaxed, with the volunteers looking after them well and plenty of chances for the Stars to chat with fans. A nice, easy approach was taken and surely that means repeat visits from the amazing Stars the convention attracted?
  • A friendly team – the overall atmosphere of Coventry Comic Con was spot on, all members of the crew should be commended on their approachable manner and thanks to all who gave our boy a bit of a boost by showing love for his Porg tee!

We’re only sorry that Coventry Comic Con is an annual event, every six months would be great thanks! Highly recommended by all three of us, it’s a good convention to take the small fans to, particularly if they’ve not explored the world of Comic Con before. Where else might you meet a baby dinosaur beside the rogue carousel horse of Mary Poppins fame? This event is not so large scale that you would worry that you’ve missed anything and it’s become one of the highlights of our yearly calendar of geekery!

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