We’re back now from MCM London Comiccon, and aside from the exhaustion of being in our feet for most of the last 96 hours or so we’re still buzzing.
The last few times we’ve been there, we didn’t really know many people; so on our single day excursions we tended to run around like mad things.
There are usually four main areas covering merchandise, films, computer games, and comics – and a lively cosplay community. As our introduction to MCM came through Lady P, we’ve usually gone in costume but never really felt a huge part of the community.
This year we got Priority Weekend Passes so we didn’t feel the need to rush. More importantly, we’d been engaging online with a number of groups on social media who we knew would be arranging meets during the weekend.
The UK Cosplay Community group, Squad UK, and Marvel and DC United all looked positive and proved fun and engaging. Lady M led the charge, and as we got nearer to the day, I joined them.
They each had mass photoshoots arranged for each day, which was the initial draw. Then, as if we weren’t already going to be busy, Lady M started booking individual sessions with photographers to give us a more structured day. I have to admit that I did grumble that it was starting to feel more like a working weekend than a holiday.
We posted elements of our designs and pictures of the costumes as works in progress, and as we got to know people we felt more comfortable anticipating the weekend.
We were not disappointed. We soon ran into names and faces we recognised, and were very pleasantly surprised to find that the people behind the Facebook identities were even warmer and more supportive in person.
Cosplayers and photographers alike actively sought out Lady M under her persona as Mothermafiacosplay – based on those prototypes – and the boost to both our confidence just can’t be understated. Big grins were soon fixed on our faces.
Even better, we very quickly realised that no one was doing characters or interpretations of characters quite like us. Lady M’s roster included an elegant Victorian Poison Ivy, Baby Groot, and Mrs Potts – the animated teapot from Beauty and the Beast. Mine included a dark wizard escaped from Azkaban, a gender-bent Harley Quinn, and the philosopher/martial artist Inhuman known as Karnak.
In between photo shoots, we wandered the exhibits and bought souvenirs, but we kept being drawn back to mingle with this welcoming, positive and supportive group of people who never failed to make us smile – either by words, actions, or just general humour and shenanigans.
Whether general members, or personable group administrators, we were treated like old friends rather than strangers known only online. Each group has a strong anti-bullying ethos, battling poor behaviour and snobbery at every opportunity. It was a large part of what had drawn us to them.
People of all ages, whole families even, were united in having fun and displaying their love of pop culture heroes and villains. No matter how popular or obscure the characters – how complex or simple the costumes and props were – people were admiring each other’s work and passion.
It was, and is, truly inspiring.
The weekend passed in a blur, punctuated with quiet moments back at the Sunborn Hotel – the yacht parked next to the Excel Centre – where we enjoyed convivial gins while younger and more boisterous convention-goers ran riot. Well, relatively boisterous – as far as I know, the police were only called once to The Fox – the local hub of after-hours debauchery.
Even better, the proximity of the yacht meant that we didn’t get overloaded with bags of loot, and so we could stay focused on socialising and playing.
Monday came, and we made our way home. Exhausted, foot-sore, slightly muddle-headed, and above all wanting to get on with preparing for the next one.
That said, I’m really very pleased that we both have this week off to recover.