London Comic Con smashes all attendance records

“Last weekend’s MCM London Comic Con smashed all previous attendance records, with more than 70,000 visitors coming through the doors of ExCel.”

“Europe’s equivalent to San Diego Comic Con, MCM London Comic Con has gone from strength to strength over recent years, and the latest show has seen another substantial hike in visitor numbers – 70,200 compared to the 64,000 attendees at the previous event back in May, which was in itself a record figure.”

Being Europe’s equivalent to San Diego Comic Con”  is fantastic.  Probably the most commercial of the 3 big comic-culture events that happened in London this year, the MCM London Comic Con was chocka-block with costumes, video games, tv stars and general fantasticness.

“Britain’s biggest pop culture event welcomed special guests from a host of movies, TV series and sci-fi shows, including Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, Hollywood legend Bill Paxton and stars from shows such as Misfits; The Walking Dead; Game of Thrones; Hunted; Primeval: New World; Haven; Eureka; Warehouse 13 and Continuum.”

The retail side of things was impressive in terms of t-shirts, toys, gimmick-items and general merchandise.  But there was literally only one actual comic book stand.  One.   It was probably the best 3 days’ business the poor guy’s ever done in his life but as a ‘punter’… I wanted more.  There were  a couple of Grovel stands which also seemed to be doing pretty good business but, this show was definitely more geared towards the general culture as opposed to actual comic books.  Cool and not cool.

The venue was big and bright and clean and loud and the atmosphere was buzzing like a carnival.  At every turn there was an enclosed and branded capsule showing a new 3D demo of the latest… ‘something’ and all these little shows, demos, classes and forums were packed with costumed fans all lapping it up and really celebrating their hobby.  It was fun to see.

“The MCM London Comic Con also played host to top games publishers such as Nintendo; Namco Bandai; Square Enix; Tecmo Koie Ubisoft; 2K Games; NIS; Konami and Microsoft.”

For me, the panels have to be set back from the convention hall itself.  They have to be in a separate room with good seating, sound and visuals.  If the panels are happening within the actual convention hall on the other side of a large curtain, people tend to come-and-go as they please and it’s impossible to hear anything.

The Guardian  ran a piece about the show and shined a spotlight on the cosplayers in particular.  Whether or not the piece is mocking these guys and girls is for you to decide, I guess.   That said, national exposure to a Comic Culture event in the UK is great news in any case.

If you’re a comic book retailer, I’d say… go to this show next year.  If you’re a fan of all things nerdy I’d say… go to the show for sure, take your bf/gf and treat it like a carnival day, have a walk around, soak in the atmosphere, play some games n stuff.   But if you’re a serious comics guy or girl and you want signings and panels from the industry’s top writers and artists or  you’re a creator looking to network these people, I’d say go to Kapow! instead.  A much better Con to spend time on your own — or with a fellow nerd — searching around for books and generally mixing it up with the big comic book publishers.

Good times on a broad stage.  A little too broad for me though.

A fantastic show for sure but, certainly more in favour of TV, video games and movies, and who am I to moan about that!

Danny Champion
Danny Champion

Danny Champion is a freelance writer and artist. Follow CandyAppleFox on Twitter.

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Walter Durajlija
11 years ago

Hey Danny, do you think a North American vintage comic book dealer would do OK there?

Danny Champion
11 years ago

I would assume so, Walt. You’d certainly have minimal direct competition on the floor. You may need some visual hooks or gimmicks to get the videoGame crowed interested. Also, pricing may factor in. I’m convinced the UK scene is a little ignorant on what some of these books are actually worth (which is great for the buyer). I picked up a stack of JLA’s from the 60’s, no grade, dumped in a box with everything else… £1.50 each. I know they won’t make me rich or anything but, some of them were in really good shape. You don’t see or hear much about CGC grades at all over here – or, at least I don’t.

With the right stock, some smart planning and maybe some ‘romance’ like… holding a miniature auction on the floor?? Stuff like this probably happens all the time on your side… But, you could give out some flyers telling people to stop buy at a certain time (maybe twice a day) and let the fans gather around a little bit to place some modest/comedy bids on some middle-of the-road books… something like that would be a bit of a novelty to most of these kids at a show in the UK. You could even have a bunch of headphones playing out the podcast for people to listen to while they flip through.

Also – I’m sure this happens a lot too but, would there be any value in current stars signing old books? Example, at this show, we had Matt Smith, The Doctor… if he signed an old Dave Gibbons ‘Who’ book, would that help or hurt the value? I guess anything’s only worth ‘something’ to the person whom wants it.

There is the logistical element too, shipping/transport across the pond etc.

We could find a way to make it work!

My knowledge on the serious collectors side could use some work 🙂

11 years ago

Having just moved from the USA to London, it’s been distressing not having my annual Comic Con to enjoy – I would love to see something similar in London – with some TV/movie/gaming talent but a focus really on comic artists and dealers. It’s also really hard to get graded comics here compared to there!!