Harley Quinn and Pikachu sit next to me on the tube. Oh, and a Joker gets on at Canada Water. You don’t have to be a genius to know where they’re going. They are going where I am going – to the second MCM London Comic Con of 2016.
A vast amount of people, from every possible universe, every possible fandom, every possible shape and form. It is a nerd heaven! Of course, it is not only the cosplay that was impressive, but also the guest line-up, the exhibitors, presenters and retailers. I personally was most excited about the presence of Agent Carter’s Enver Gjokaj, The Flash’s Violett Beane and Arrow’s Michael Rowe. And let’s not forget Harry Potter’s Warwick Davis, and the voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker. For them and many others, the devoted fans were willing to queue for hours to exchange a few words, grab an autograph, or snap a photo. It was inspiring, really, how so many people dedicated their time to spend a short moment with their idols.
Listing the names of all the fascinating people, events and shows present would take too long, but perhaps the most noteworthy ones are the cast and crew of the new British sci-fi series Humans (Season 2) , the guys from the new Doctor Who spin-off Class, and Adventure Time head writer Kent Osborne. The world of anime was represented by Evangelion animator Takeshi Honda and Psycho-Pass director Naoyoshi Shiotani. I also got the chance to hear the simply inspiring rapper and poet Akala reading his new graphic novel. The unexpected influence he had on me was wonderful. A quote from him stuck with me: “You become the books you read and the people you meet.” This seemed peculiarly appropriate or this event overall. I also got my first ever VR experience when I queued for more than an hour to visit the world of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
I spent hours wandering around and admiring the artworks of individual illustrators, chatting with cosplayers and appreciating all the fandom goodies on sale, while obviously fighting the need to buy everything. The anime and manga part of London’s Comic Con was surprisingly big and diverse, and it was great to familiarise myself with them as someone who is quite obliviously, solely acquainted with the mainstream western (Marvel, DC) comic industry. The most impressive spot there was definitely the so-called Artist’s Valley, where you can find individual artists selling and exposing their work. I left that place with a bag full of small illustrated books and prints, many of which were signed by the artists themselves. And yet I kept finding myself wandering around the same area again and again.
To summarise this overwhelming, yet positive experience – it was worth it! But trust me when I say this, you will surely feel like an outsider without dressing up as your favourite movie, comic, or media character. You do not have to be the biggest geek on the planet to enjoy this event, you just have to embrace yourself and your passions, whether it’s a TV series or just dressing up as Baymax or Sailor Moon. There is something for everyone – sports fans, gaming fans, steampunk fans, anime fans, superhero fans, princess fans. Everyone will have fun, whether you’re 8 or 58. Just be prepared to queue.