Wednesday, 24 July 2013

MCM Manchester Expo 2013


Although I actually did go to a festival this year, the early summer season will always be convention season to me. I always watch the coverage of San Diego Comic Con, and keep up to date with other announcements at cons through the nerdvine. Twitter is often a-buzz when exciting things happen, such as Tom Hiddlestone's appearance as Loki, or the announcement of a Superman&Batman film (both from SDCC'13).

Me? As much as I'd love to go to San Diego one day (what nerd wouldn't?), my convention adventures are on a much smaller scale. In 2011 I went to the first MCM Manchester Expo, also known as Manchester Comic Con. MCM group (that's Movie Comic Media) run London and Midlands Expo, the biggest conventions in the UK. They've always been popular, and Manchester has a thriving alternative culture base, so it was only logical that MCM would venture north to the wilds of Winterfell Manchester.
It's held at Manchester Central Convention Centre (formerly, and still to most Mancunians, GMEX), with a couple of thousand attendees. In 2011 it was much smaller, with only half the convention centre being used and not as much going on inside. This year, however, was different.

It. Was. Hammered. As the heatwave weather spread to the North West, we all trundled around waiting lines like cattle in a pen. It was so hot that they were selling bottles of water along the queue. Most of us melted slightly, luckily I was in a lightweight outfit. I felt sorry for those dedicated enough to come out in multi-layered leather cosplay. It is a brilliant feeling to get off the bus in Manchester City Centre and see cosplayers wandering around, descending like a nerdplague onto the convention centre.

The layout of the convention, from inside the con guide.

It seemed like a Big Deal this year. There were even taxis and buses advertising the con beforehand. Everything inside the con was bigger, brighter, and more bustling than previous years. Guests included were three of the knights from the hit BBC series 'Merlin', and Warwick Davis, of Harry Potter/Star Wars/Doctor Who/etc fame. Nintendo brought along some Wii U and 3DS consoles, and it was a UK premier for the new Pikmin 3, and Universal Studies showed trailers for KickAss 2. Giant inflatable Minions (from Despicable Me), a DeLorean, and Robot Wars were just some of the attractions, as well as endless stalls selling cute/nerdy/badass merch, and the Comic Village showcasing new artists. There was so much to see and do! Of course, there was a little café selling pies and Oreos and water, all of which needed to replenish dwindling energy reserves after traipsing up and down stalls in the heat!

Some flyers/cards I got from stalls. Clockwise from top left: Starburst Magazine, Artbox, Bunny Boutique, TofuCute.

Cosplays ranged from baby Batman to Ghostbusters to Daenerys Targaryen. I was so pleased to see so many people putting so much effort in! I was in just in my humble Japanese school uniform, which is adorable and comfy. Even though I wasn't a specific character, I got asked for a few photos, ha. Some cosplays were extravagant, like the full Iron Man suits, or simple, like L from Death Note. Most importantly, everybody looked like they were having a great time in their outfits. The numerous Deadpools went down a storm (as Deadpool always does) and there was one Riddler prancing through the crowds.

I actually had a purpose to being at MCM Manchester this year! The International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club had organised a meet-up, so I was going to meet the other ladies of the club who live in North-West England! We played Buffy Top Trumps, ate sweets, played 'Spot The Hot Khal Drogo', and laughed a lot. Our leader, Em, was in a wheelchair following a hip operation, so I got to push her around/into people.

The contents of the IGGPPC Swag Bag that our leader gave us - flyers, business cards, stickers, and sweeties! We wheeled around the con firing flyers at susceptible young women like ninja stars.

 Derps all round!

It was a small meet-up, but lots o' fun.

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Despite there being a million and one things to buy at the Expo, my impoverished student status means I couldn't splash out. But I did buy some sweet treats from TofuCute!

Pocky is a key foodsource for cosplayers, and I really like all the different kinds. It's sold as Mikado in UK supermarkets, but you can get the real stuff at Expo.

'Coated with banana flavour confectionary' sounds like a very dodgy description, but these are really nice!

Match [green tea] Mousse also sounds like it should be disgusting, but it's creamy and lovely.

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If you're a geeky type and you have £10 and a Saturday to spare, go to MCM Manchester! You'll have lots of fun with like-minded people. This year was such a success that 2014 will be a two day-er, wow! I'll certainly be going.

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