It appears that there might have been a little bit of worry from both the organisers and some of the exhibitors that the MCM Expo Manchester may not have been a popular draw. These fears were however completely unfounded as, having spent almost all day there, I can confirm that the Expo was very popular indeed!
We had pre-booked our early entry tickets, which meant that we were allowed entry to the MCM Expo an hour and half prior to the rest of the public, and, if we were in the first 2,000 through the door, entitled to some free goodies. Getting there shortly after the doors opened we were efficiently directed to one of four queues and waited patiently the not too long a period of time before being allowed in. This extra waiting time gave us a chance to marvel at the effort and skill many cosplayers put into their costumes and to spot Griphook breaking into Gringotts. I mean of course Warwick Davies being escorted past us all.
The exhibition hall was packed with goodies from computer games to comics, from movie memorabilia to the stars of TV and film, from foodstuffs from around to world to football legends. A good explore at the start of the day gave us our bearings and an opportunity to spot the talks lined up and the start times of a number of Robot Wars battles that were planned for the day.
The Robots Live event was a wonderful spectacle and gave a new perspective on an old TV favourite. Neither of us expected the robots to be so large in the flesh, so to speak. We watched three bouts, a light weight content, a three round boxing match and a heavy weight contest where the robots weighed at least 100kg. It was this last battle that was the more spectacular.
We then made our way across the hall to watch a selection of forthcoming film trailers before listening to a Q&A with Kenny Baker (R2D2 and Fidget from Time Bandits). The crowd for the Q&A sessions grew and grew and we had to almost battle our way out for lunch. The MCM Expo Manchester had a handy hand stamp, which allowed for rapid re-entry and once we got outside we saw the double benefit in this. Hundreds, if not thousands of comic fans, movie buffs, cosplayers, furries and more stood out in the Manchester sun (yes there was some!) just to get in.
Suitably refreshed and refuelled we headed back in past the queue, admiring yet more cosplayers en route before re-exploring and making a few choice purchases. Not only did we get one of the remaining ‘This is my Zombie killing t-shirt’ t-shirts we also found some beautiful Japanese paintings by Yasunobu Shidami and picked up a copy of Chloe Noonan Monster Hunter by Marc Ellerby. Out of funds we were only able to admire the interesting ‘Wired’ novels by Alex Keller (a fine man to talk to) and the copper embossed journals of Pheonix Copper Art.
I also found time to quickly draw up a small piece for the art competition, and having seen some of the other pieces handed in I am sure I shan’t be getting a call from the Expo organisers. It was, however, fun to draw and reminded me a little of the Manchester Comix Collective Drink n Draws. In fact we saw some of the collective selling their wares in artists alley and got to say hello to Rob Jackson and Adam Cadwell.
It was particularly noticeable in places like artists alley that the number of attendees had far outstripped expectations as more and more were reluctantly putting up ‘out of stock’ signs.
We chose to leave before the very end of the Expo, being old and wanting to avoid travel chaos, but are sure that it continued to be an exciting and interesting event. The rumour is that there are plans already for the MCM Expo team to return to Manchester next year with a bigger and better event. Quite right too we say!