If you live with three huge anime fans, like I do, you will probably be familiar with MCM Comic Con. It's not just for anime and comic book fans, you'll find an array of people in the most amazing cosplay outfits, artists, authors, voice actors, actors from film or TV and plenty of unique sellers. It takes place in London twice a year (usually May and October) at the ExCeL Centre in the London docklands.
What is MCM Comic Con?
The Movie Comic Media (MCM) Expo Group organise this fiction fan convention. The event is usually on over three days and focuses on comic books and comic book culture, fans gather to meet creators, experts, and each other. There are events throughout the year in London and Birmingham.
Is Comic Con suitable for children?
Yes, Comic Con is child friendly. We bought general tickets for Saturday , which meant we could arrive from 11.00am. General tickets are £20 each but children under 10 can go for free. There are a few activities aimed at children which they can go and join in with but there is plenty there to keep everybody occupied for hours.
Where is MCM Comic Con London?
Comic Con is held in the ExCeL Centre, which is a flexible event space that is regularly used for conventions. It is huge at 100,000m2 and can hold a capacity of 68,750 visitors. It is in East London in the Docklands area and the closest station is Custom House. We reached the venue on the new Elizabeth Line. You'll see plenty of cosplayers on the train and there are loads of event staff guiding you towards the venue.
How big is the queue to get in to MCM Comic Con?
On Saturday the queue was huge! We had booked tickets online but the ticket needs to be collected from the queue hall. This resulted in a huge crowd, which moved fairly fast, gathered outside to then be ushered through for bag checks. I would say we probably took 20 minutes to get in. As we had a child under 10, we were allowed through the priority gate once we were inside. You'll be given a card with a lanyard and any under 10's will get a wristband.
What is it like inside Comic Con London?
In a word; massive! The main food hall area runs through the centre, which I believe is 600m long. Either side are the convention areas, they are zoned into areas such as Pop Asia and Cosplay Central. There is a main stage where they have speakers, an autograph area and demonstration areas. The reason most people go there is to dress up, meet people and spend their money on various goodies. We went 3 years ago and I must say, this time round, it was far more crowded. Almost overwhelming. This made browsing the stalls quite hard as it was so busy. The queue inside the large rooms for the food stalls were also epic. We did manage to buy a rice ball, my son is a huge Naruto fan!
What my children enjoyed the most at Comic Con
My son is 10 and he is a very big fan of anime and manga. He dressed up as Levi from Attack on Titan and he loved seeing so many people dressed up as some of his favourite characters. He really enjoyed looking around the stalls and seeing everything out on display. There were voice actors there from some of the anime series that he watches. I believe we would have had to pay extra to see them for an autograph. My daughter is 14 and also a huge anime and art fan. She was looking for prints to put on her wall, and found plenty that she loved, she also bought two keyrings and chatted to an author and artist.
Are the stalls inside Comic Con expensive?
As you would imagine, you will be paying an inflated price as the sellers have paid a lot to have their stands there. Things from independent sellers are pretty reasonable. You could get 3 postcard prints for £5 for example. I am sure if you are looking at more commercial things you may be able to find them a lot to cheaper online. For example they wanted £20 for a Luffy straw hat from One Piece. You could pick up similar online for £5.
Is Comic Con worth the entrance fee?
Although it was £20 each for a general ticket, if you are a genuine fan, I think it is worth it. It was great to dress up and see other people dressed up too. In my opinion, it did feel a little overcrowded which made my daughter feel a bit panicky, but that is to be expected after a break through the pandemic. You can easily stay all day as there is so much to see and you will pick up things that are unique. I really didn't take many pictures this time as I felt like it was a bit too busy to keep stopping people. But there really were some amazing outfits!