The UK’s largest bi-annual ‘modern pop culture event’ took place this past weekend in London. A pathway to the Excel Centre was lit by hordes of avid cosplaying fans, making for an unusually colourful journey on the otherwise grey underground. The trip was further cheered by the occasional struggle of fitting a prop through said small train doors.
Upon arrival at the centre itself, without the purchase of a priority ticket, one must queue for a substantial amount of time among throngs of other enthusiasts, but upon entry, the atmosphere quickly dispels the annoyance of the wait. Whilst this October lacked appearances from certain well known faces in the cosplay scene, such as Jessica Nigri, it was more than made up for with appearances from other internet celebrities such as Jack Pattilo of Rooster Teeth and youtube’s TomSka. The latter gave a presentation that over-filled the room leaving most to stand, and the fan-favourite gave a live performance at the Twitch stage on Sunday afternoon.
There were plenty of booths advertising well-established franchises and opportunities to experience media that won’t be released to the general public for a substantial amount of time, such as the much anticipated Dark Souls III. The game, which is due to be released next Spring, boasted a long queue and an interesting change in the graphics and lighting of the game, though not everything is finalised yet. Next month’s Fallout 4 made an appearance as well, with a larger-than-life Pip Boy giving the crowds his trademark thumbs-up. Many fans were intrigued with the surprisingly highly-customisable character creation system and the addition of a trusted canine companion, echoing the Fable series’ with the addition of human or robot sidekicks similar to Skyrim’s followers. Other, more obscure series such as Persona made much loved appearances, Persona’s interactive dance floor booth being a popular choice and a personal favourite of my own.
Whilst this year did have many intriguing and fun experiences available, there was a surprising amount of stalls selling very similar merchandise to stalls several yards away, all with varying prices, which seemed to equal if not outnumber the amount of artists stalls. Whilst undoubtedly many MCM-goers relish the opportunity to get their hands on merchandise that they could not otherwise obtain, the appearance of so many vendors could herald the increasing commercialization of the community. Though this arguably began a long time ago, it does not add much to the community atmosphere of the event. However, the increase of commercialization could lead to a greater mainstream presence, only widening the genre’s community and creating an even larger fan base.
London MCM Comic Con was at the Excel Centre from 23rd-25th October.