Sunday, 28 October 2018

MCM Comic Con London Review - Day 3


Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending MCM Comic Con London, the UK's largest pop culture event, which took place at the ExCel centre.
Having attended New York Comic Con back in 2013, this was my first major Comic Con since then and my first on home soil, so the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture and unleash my inner geek for 72 hours was very exciting.

Here is a roundup of the events on Day 3, the final day of the Con (Sunday 28th October)

Day 3
  • Funko
  • Chris Claremont
  • The Dark Knight Retrospective panel
  • #SaveShadowHunters panel
  • Outlander season 4 preview
  • Critical Role
  • Into The Spider-Verse preview and panel
The final day began with the one activity I had wanted to partake in since I saw the frenzy on the opening day - visiting the Funko stand!
It was clear that this one probably the number one draw of the Con, outside of the Critical Role panels... but we'll get to that in a minute!
Simply by walking the floor at the ExCel, if you were not aware of the name of the event you were attending, you would not be surprised if it was called MCM Funko Con. Beyond the compact Comic Village area where all the artists and dealers were set up, the overwhelming majority of the independent stands were selling a wide variety of Funko POPs!
It was a real insight into the insane popularity of these toys which was the subject of the documentary Making Fun: The Story of Funko (available on Netflix) and a glimpse into the slightly murkier world of the second hand dealer market for these toys, particularly Con Exclusives, which the doc doesn't explore.
So armed with my trusty Starbucks (with the name Devos written on the side), I marked out my territory early at 8.30am to allow for a straight shot ahead to the Funko stand and landed in the first 10-20 people in the queue who were very excited about getting their one shot (is that a Hamilton reference?), yet I couldn't help but smile and stifle laughter at the rage and indignation shown when the crowds discovered that certain exclusives for Fantastic Beasts and a Ghost Rider Doctor Strange were not available having sold out on the Saturday. You have never seen so many grown adults with the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems on their foreheads shouting about how it was a "disgrace" and Funko should have had a certain amount of each one available for each day of the Con (a fair point to be honest) but as someone not particularly interested in FB, I must have ended up looking like Ryan Gosling when it was announced Moonlight had won the Oscar instead of La La Land.


(Full disclaimer: I have secured a Ghost Rider pop which is why I could afford to laugh because I could immediately visualise the dealers at the Con who had scooped up these Pops on the Fri/Sat frantically scoring out the prices and writing new inflated ones to capitalise on the demand!).


Heading over to the main stage, I had the time to pay a visit to a comic legend in the form of Chris Claremont (X-Men, Wolverine) who was kind enough to sign my copy of X-Men #1 from 1991.
This was the very first comic that I bought and it opened up a whole new world to me and I was fortunate enough to tell him this which he thanked me for but lamented that it was one of his final runs on the characters but I flipped it round and said that it introduced myself and many others to the X-Men and his work in his back catalogue which he found a comforting thought.

From one comic legend to another as I took my place in the Main Stage area for The Dark Knight panel by DC which featured, among others, Frank Miller the mind behind The Dark Knight Returns, Year One and Daredevil.
Moderated by DC editor Chris Conway, the panel hosted a staggering array of talent from Miller to Tim Sale, John Romita Jr, Brain Azzarello and Frank Quitely (who I hadn't realised was Scottish until he started speaking in thick Glaswegian accent!).
They talked about the legacy of the character; their first introduction to him (for the majority of the panel it was the Adam West TV show),

Here's where the fun begins...

By the end of the panel, the stage area was completely full. It was standing room only and even then it was at capacity.

Before Saturday, the Main Stage was simply that. The Main Stage. However following the chaos yesterday over the Critical Role panel (with hundreds of fans or “Critters” as they are known denied access due to the room being a capacity), today it had become London’s Hall H with fans camping out in the hall from 10.00am for a 2.15pm panel.
It made for an interesting situation. As per other conventions, the hall is not emptied after each panel. Therefore the only way to secure your place for a particular panel is too grab one early and stay there till the event. This means you are guaranteed to see the panel you want but it does mean that you could have people sitting in on panels they have no interest in and at the same time denying entry to others who want to see a panel on prior to Critical Role.
This led to a situation where in order to guarantee a seat at the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse panel on directly after the CR panel, I had to stay in the Main Stage for 6 hours! Hardcore! Good thing I didn't have anything to drink that morning besides coffee! However due to this unplanned encampment, I did miss out on the Chris Claremont spotlight and the Hasbro Marvel & Star Wars reveal panels which was a shame.
Instead I got a Save The Shadowhunters panel and the first episode of season 4 of Outlander (of which I have not watched a single episode prior to this). The episode certainly seemed to please the fans who made it into the hall but there is nothing more awkward than watching a sex scene projected onto a giant screen surrounded by thousands of people!
Finally at 2.15pm, it was main event time (for the overwhelming majority of fans) as the Critical Role team took to the stage to a reception that would have rivalled a One Direction concert!
(Again full disclaimer time: before this weekend I had not heard of Critical Role and had to speak with several fans in the queues in order to understand what it was and why it was so popular).
Standing among the fans, it was easy to see why this show, the actors and D&D has become so popular since Stranger Things brought it back into the mainstream. The kindness, humour and respect they showed the audience and people who asked questions was humbling to see. This was a San Diego Comic Con levels of a reaction.
Once the panel was over, it was time for my main event... the preview footage of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.
Introduced by the directors and voice of Miles Morales, Shamiek Moore, the crowd got to see the first 30 minutes of the film and the immediate reaction was "WOW!"
This is unlike any Spider-Man you have seen before... and any animated film for that matter. Inspired by Miles Morales's background and love of graffiti, street art, the film looks like a moving street mural.
The footage begins with your traditional Spider-Man story but quickly becomes a meta take on the superhero genre with references to all the other Spidey films (including the dancing scene in Spider-Man 3). This looks like it has the potential to be the best big screen Spider-Man movie we have seen and as the footage concluded just after one of the film's big twists, it left us wanting more and counting down the days till the film is released in December.

This was the perfect way to end a fantastic convention and a huge shout out must go to the staff and volunteers who kept the whole con a fun, safe, enjoyable experience... even under very challenging circumstances on the main stage.

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