From the 27th to 29th of May 2022, the UK’s largest geek culture convention was held in London; MCM Comic Con
After a hiatus and subsequent socially distanced, post-pandemic iteration, MCM Comic Con London 2022 marks the convention’s return to form. There were no restrictions on attendee numbers, stalls or areas; this was the full experience.
However, this year felt different from previous ones. I had personally started attending Comic Con in 2016, which is pretty recent compared to most veterans. That year had several high profile companies holding exhibits and stalls, such as FromSoftware who let fans try out Dark Souls 3 before its release.
Back then, the convention was more like an Expo. Whilst there were some avenues for socializing, they did not compare to the sheer amount of activities this year. MCM Comic Con London 2022 felt friendlier and grassroots on most aspects, which I think was a massive improvement.
Here are some of the highlights of my visit, to showcase what made this year’s Comic Con really special and give you a taste of what you can expect if you were to join us!
Stalls and exhibits
This year, only Paramount and Mihoyo had exhibits in the convention, showcasing the Halo TV series and Genshin Impact respectively. The majority of the exhibits and stalls were actually filled with independent artists and businesses. Moreover, after speaking with a lot of them, I discovered they were all part of the fandoms that their merchandise represented.
A stark contrast to clerks who don’t even know the name of the characters, that are on the shirts that they are selling.
There was certainly no lack of choice. From anime, to cartoons, to movies and games, there was a plethora of figures, badges, stickers, posters, art prints, shirts and even cosplay props that you could buy. If you wanted it, Comic Con was likely to have it.
These big company stalls specialise in officially licensed merchandise. They will cost quite a bit, but they are guaranteed to be genuine and high-quality. You may even find imported items that you wouldn’t be able to find locally and have the chance to personally inspect them.
Outside of established intellectual properties, you also had artists who had their own original creations of unique, geek culture-inspired pieces. A candle sculpted into the form of a dragon, dice sets made of amethyst and pins of biblically accurate angels were just some of the many artworks on sale.
During the shopping spree, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the artists, who were extremely friendly and kind enough to give me some of their time despite how busy they were.
I spoke to BMAGrieveson and AbbieB’sArt, who were running the stall that sold the aforementioned angel pins amongst other artworks. They told me that they had previously participated in other shows and conventions, and only started selling at Comic Con in 2019 once they were more confident.
“We love the people here. We’ve had great conversations and met so many artists!” Bec Grieveson excitedly proclaimed. Abbie added that Comic Con London had “much more energy and more artists than other shows” they’ve done and that “everyone here is so supportive”.
Interestingly enough, the art community is quite small and tight knit. So, it’s not uncommon to see an artist running a stall for another fellow artist whilst they get lunch or enjoy the convention for a moment. The amount of trust here really surprised me.
Both of them warned me however, of the logistical nightmare that comes with setting up a Comic Con stall. “We’re from Norwich…so we have to figure out how to transport everything, the logistics, the planning and how much we’re going to sell”. Bec also lamented the physical burden of moving the goods into their assigned spot from the loading bay and the eventual task of bringing unsold goods back.
I can only hope enough stock was sold so that the return trip was somewhat less arduous.
What’s good on the menu?
After you have sufficiently bolstered your merchandise collection, you may be rather hungry. If so, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Japanese street food section.
You can find freshly made riceballs with various fillings (including vegan options) and Japanese street food like fried ebi (prawns), yakisoba and the much beloved takoyaki (fried octopus balls). I am happy to report that the prices were reasonable and the dishes were packed with umami (flavour).
Of course, there were plenty of other stalls that sold burgers, hotdogs and even bubble tea! Lines were long though, so be warned you might be standing for a while.
What is there to do?
Once you’re re-energized, go ahead and check out the various activities in the convention. I really appreciated how this year had plenty of options for social activities and photo opportunities. You could visit the Side Quest section filled with old consoles and play local multiplayer games like Smash Bros 64, party on the outdoor dancefloor, watch Kpop dances in the PopAsia section or play DnD one shot campaigns with other convention go-ers on one of the many available tables!
Comic Con has now taken this identity of being a largely social event and has provided plenty of spaces and activities for you to meet new people with similar interests and passions!
Fan Meet Ups
This was made more obvious with the fan meetups that took place in the courtyard. Several fandoms gathered around, with everyone rocking matching costumes and showing off their community pride.
As I walked through each group, I could sense a really welcoming, warm atmosphere amongst the cosplayers. There was an overall sense of familiarity between members of the fandoms as they spoke to each other, exchanging references, in-jokes and commentary.
This year, the Fan Meet Ups were organized by Reed Pop in conjunction with community figures of different fandoms. Though Reed Pop may have set everything up, these fans were the ultimate reason why the convention was so enjoyable!
I’ve never met a friendlier gathering of strangers in London that’s for sure.
Speaking of the fans, the cosplays that were on display this year were phenomenal. The sheer creativity and work everyone put in was, in my opinion, unrivalled from previous years. We saw plenty of handmade props, carefully styled wigs and breathtaking outfits.
Here are some of the cosplays that impressed me during the day. The main things I held in high regard was craftsmanship, character accuracy and effort of the cosplay.
Duos and squads that got the dub.
These groups really inspired me to potentially coordinate my cosplay with my own groups of my friends. They looked good individually, but together they exuded extraordinary energy that turned heads.
Fun fact, the cosplayer playing Bow from She Ra is none other than All Maverick’s very own Assistant Producer, Nova! They not only made their costume from scratch, but they also made the props that their group uses. Moreover, Glimmer was responsible for sourcing and styling the wigs for the group.
With their results, its clear that teamwork really does make the dream work.
The power couples
These pairs put their shared adoration for these games and movies on full display, with their fantastic matching style and vibes. In addition, it was nice to see each individual’s personal expression within their common theme, as it created a vibrant contrast that made these couples really stand out.
Special mention to the weaponry these pairs were packing; they were incredibly badass and well-made. In particular, Alfhild’s rifle precisely captured the brutality and nobility of the Bolter rifle, with its mechanical controls contrasted by a bloodied wax seal.
Also, Resinliant’s Frostmourne is every nerd’s dream with its identical colourisation and menacing profile; I mean just look at that ram skull on that blade!
Strength doesn’t always come in numbers, as these cosplayers proved with their creativity and insanely complex costumes. I was a big fan of mechanical and light integration, as well as the handmade full body suits.
Pretty much all of these individuals had what I can only describe as “main character energy”.
I was not joking when I said that the cosplays this year, blew previous years out of the water; everybody here brought their A-game! It was like being in a giant game of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, but better.
Be sure to check these creators out on their Instagram and Twitter pages for more content and cosplays!
Finally, here are some honourable mentions of cosplayers who were dressed as my favourite characters. The more observant of you might say, “hey wait, these are all characters from Final Fantasy 14”.
You would be correct… So anyway, here they are!
A huge thank you to all the cosplayers who gave me photo opportunities. You were all so friendly, polite and patient and the reason why I love being a geek. If you have not been credited in these photos, I apologize for the mistake and invite you to contact me at Allmaverickjames@gmail.com so that proper due credit can be given.
Reed Pop have done a fantastic job with rebranding MCM Comic Con as a celebration of geek culture and community! The focus on promoting businesses, cosplayers and fans has given the convention a new breath of fresh air. If you’re looking for a fun day out, to buy cool stuff for yourself or your room, and meet new like-minded people, you can’t go wrong with MCM Comic Con.
Maybe you saw an awesome cosplay I didn’t mention here? Or maybe you’d like to share your own experience of the weekend? Whatever it is, go wild with your thoughts down the comment box!
As always, don’t forget to join our Discord and discuss all things gaming and entertainment with the All Maverick team and community!