It's been a few years since I was last at a comic con and was super excited to be heading back into London for the day to go visit MCM London Comic-Con. However, I left really disappointed and now contemplating if I can be bothered to go again.
I remember my first MCM comic con when I was 16 (2004), I took my younger brother and sister with my Dad and we spent the whole day excited, exploring tables and tables of indie comics (did not even know that's what they were at the time). I picked up a whole run of books from the Etherington Brothers about a drunken rabbit called Malcolm Magic which they had printed on their home printer.
I took my brother who was obsessed with horror movies to go and meet Jason (Kane Hodder) and get a picture taken. We spent ages looking over the tables from the big names of DC, Image, and Marvel. We spent ages looking at stands of the latest movies and games coming out and of course finally purchased many figurines.
It was excitement nonstop all day and I left excited to get home and read everything I had purchased and regretted not having more money to buy more and even more feeling like I could have been there a second day.
So what made this visit bad?
Having spent the last few years in Lockdown and having missed loads of comic cons and opportunities to buy comics and to keep hunting for the last remaining Silver Surfer issues I need for my collection, I was geared up and ready to dive into long boxes and explore the small press world.
Now for full candor, I did go on a Sunday. Which in the past has never been an issue for me so I am comparing this experience solely in comparison to my other visits on this day.
I said it. There was no one to take my money. Comic Village has gone, the big names in comics were nowhere to be seen and in its place were rows and rows of big gray walls filled with artists selling prints, stickers, pins, and other stuff that is really well designed but not for me.
I saw a few good friends on the day who had tables at the convention and were selling really well. Some were even almost sold out and I can tell you why. They were the only ones there. That is not to say that those individuals make bad comics and wouldn't normally sell however I saw rows deep of people trying to get to the few tables of comics that existed. I reckon I could have sold tissue paper with a comic on it and done very well. I walked around for 2 hours going up and down the isles again and again hoping I would find a table I missed and nothing.
For the tables I did find, I was immediately put off by the prices. It's no secret that prices are a constant argument in the small press world but frankly, I am not buying any comic from anyone if it is 24 pages for £8 or a GN for £20. The stuff I did pick up was because I could take a chance on new creators. Dropping either something like £4 or 3 for £10.
Early I stated that another excitement of mine for heading to Comic-Con is looking to complete my Silver Surfer Collection. I counted around 5 stands in the whole convention hall that had long boxes. The first stand I went to had nothing but newer comics and they were all marked from £8 upwards claiming near mint conditions. No thank you. The second stand had some long boxes for £1 but I was immediately turned off when I overheard the store owner communicating with a buyer. Here is what I heard.
'Hi I see you say you do DC comic bundles for £10, can you tell me what comics they are please'
Picks up a pack and throws it at him 'Here, it's a pack just £10'
Then the seller just walked away, and so did I.
I sadly spent another hour diving in what long boxes I could find and found no Silver Surfer Issues I wanted, however, I did see a bargain of a comic. If you want Silver Surfer Annual no 2 for £65 near mint let me know I will give you a spare copy I have for a fiver.
50 Shades of grey.
Maybe this is something to do with the post covid era but the new layouts of massive grey walls separating each aisle on the convention just made the place feel small and boring. I miss being able to look down the whole massive hanger that is the Excel center and see hanging signs, people's banners, and colors. Now it just feels like herds of people being shuffled between walls.
So after 3 hours of just walking around hoping something would stand up slap me in the face and say hey we know you love comics so this is for you. Sadly I did not. So after chatting with a few friends who had stands I left for the day. I usually spend a whole day wandering around having fun but this time I just left bored.
Is it time?
I dunno but for me, I think it's about time that MCM drops the comics part of its name as clearly this is not true anymore and I dunno when I will next be back. I had to travel for an hour by train and spend around £40 for the train and £18 for the ticket and frankly, I do not feel it was worth the money.
I do not even know who the convention is aimed at anymore it now just seems like a shambles of unorganized mess.
Did you spend any time at the convention this weekend, if so can you let me know how your experience was. Especially if it was a different day and I am not just being hit by the fact it was a Sunday.