Last weekend saw the Excel Centre play host to the London MCM Expo, the largest comic convention in England, and it did not disappoint!
Over the last decade the British Comic Book Industry has been growing, that isn’t an opinion or hyperbole, it’s a fact. More and more people are engaging with the medium of comics, whether it’s through the comics themselves or the films they inspire, and those people are now going out and looking for places with other people who are inspired by those same things. This was no more evident than on Saturday morning when I visited the London MCM Expo only to be overwhelmed by the friendly spirt and camaraderie of both the fans and creators. This year saw the London MCM Expo grow bigger than ever before, not just in the number of attendees but also in pure scale as it took over the majority of the Excel Centre in central London. However, even with such a big scale the entire convention felt like one massive welcoming community!
Over the weekend, I mostly concerned myself with the London MCM Expo Comic Book Village, a sprawling mass of creativity in the form of over two hundred writers, artists and creators. The sense of community was ever present here as many writers and artists told me about how even though the stalls next to them represents ‘competitors’ everyone was willing to lend a hand, whether it was in setting up or just manning a stall while someone went to lunch. It’s this sort of environment that breeds creativity and it became clear to me that there is something really quite spectacular going on in the world British comics at the moment. It’s evolving. There are hundreds of new series created by brand new writers and artists that are finding a following and almost none of them involve capes, masks or cowls. The British comic book independent industry may indeed be the counter culture to the super hero fever gripping the world right now. But London MCM Expo wasn’t just about the comics.
The London MCM Expo saw a veritable cornucopia of panels on tonnes of great pop culture series and anime including Doctor Who, The Walking Dead and Sherlock. This, in turn, brought in some fantastically high profile guests such as Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss who wowed fans at both the Sherlock and Doctor Who panels. These majority of the guests were English which, when combine with the presence of the comic book village, gave the proceedings a very different feel to many conventions I have been to in the past. This wasn’t a celebration of eastern pop culture like the various Anime conventions we see up and down the country or a celebration of general western culture like most comic book conventions. This was, in part, a celebrations of British pop culture, past, present and future.
I’ve already detailed the remaining MCM Events of 2015 and why you should consider going to a convention (which you can find here) but let me throw something else into the mix. There’s a community being born at these events, different to the stereotypical elitist comic book geeks. People came to the London MCM Expo for two things, a sense of community and escapism, and both of those aspects felt omnipresent. So, if you’re looking for somewhere to get away from normality for a weekend with a couple of thousand friends around you, you can’t go wrong with London’s MCM Expo!
Photos by William Shacklady