On Saturday morning at about 11.00am, I was sat on a packed Docklands Light Railway train on my way to The Excel Centre at Custom House in London’s industrial East End for the MCM Expo London Comic Con Summer event. The carriage was full of the cosplay Alumni. I was sitting next to a manga pirate of some kind and the space by the doors was full of fake bearded lady Hobbits.
As the train pulled into the packed platform at Canning Town Station, the announcer on the train came on its speakers:
‘Yes. This is the train for Comicon. But be warned, (hehehe) all the tickets have sold out…. (hehe)….(crackle, crackle)…. everyone alight at Custom House (laugh) ….. for Comicon.’
The reaction in the carriage was a combination of outrage, confusion and shocked silence. “How dare he laugh at us?”
My reaction was utter glee. Surrounded by manga quoting, plastic sword flailing, fake bearded, overly serious cosplayers I was having a hard time keeping my laughter down too.
Maybe I am just a grumpy old dude. Probably.
To be fair to MCM, they have really gone all out and created a smaller version of a San Diego type Convention. The venue was completely packed and lines went round the building and back. They had a sound stage outside where wizards, super-heroes and robots partied the afternoon away joyously. It was a hell of a sight.
As I collected my badge and made my way down the central thoroughfare there were signs a plenty directing me to ‘Comics Village’, which was fifteen rows long of some really excellent small press, indie and mainstream creators and titles. I got to catch up with some old faces and some great new talent.
Jon Scrivens, Brett Uren and Patman Cline were there representing the brilliantly creative Dead Universe Publishing. We’ve featured all these guys recently here at DTT and Brett has really pulled out all the stops to get his current Kickstarter project for TorsoBear Volume 2 printed. Enthusiasm never fails to impress where these guys are concerned and it was great to hear about their process and upcoming projects.
Pop over to Kickstarter and help out with their new project. It’s a great twist on the Childhood Toys idea.
You can find Jon on Twitter @JonScrivens
Pat can be found at his day job at Dead Universe Comics in Aylesbury or on Twitter @PatmanCline
It was great to finally meet Martin Ian Smith after really enjoying and getting to review his excellent comic The Watchful Sea last year. He has a great grasp of horror and this book is well worth seeking out. He’d come up from Wales for the event and it was great to hear about his future projects.
You can find Martin at www.attackosaur.com and buy a copy for just £2.99.
Quite easily the hardest working guys in the UK small press scene, Mike Garley, Mike Stock and Andy Clift between them are behind a string of great books. Dead Roots, Samurai Slasher and the Kill Screen Series amongst there isn’t a wrong foot in the bunch. They are a great crew to just chat about comics in general with as well. Seek out anything by this bunch.
Pop over and have a read of SGT. Steel at www.taptastic.com: it’s a great newspaper style story told by these guys – and it’s free.
Sarah Millman was there and not only very knowledgeable about comics but also great at helping me with isle directions. We featured her new Heart of Time collection last year. She had the completed version (pay attention, Kickstarter users) and it’s looking great.
I also got to meet Joe Sparrow, after only recently reviewing his comic The Hunter out of NoBrow publishing. It was great to hear his thoughts and inspirations for this comic and I grabbed a couple of issues of his self published series Omnipathy. He’s got a really individual style that harkens back to classic animation. It has both innocence and depth to it’s style. Seek it out.
You can find Joe at www.joe-sparrow.tumblr.com
I got to meet Anastasia Catris who was releasing her illustrated prose book Cirque Du Mort: Volume One. It’s a collection of brightly coloured yet gruesomely realised and illustrated short stories and art pieces side by side. It looks great and I will be digging into it at the earliest opportunity. Anastasia has previous to this been working on some Marvel and DC trading card pieces and illustration work.
This was a huge event and it has even outgrown its venue at The Excel. If you can put up with the crowds, then it is well worth a visit for the Comics Village alone. It was great to see Gary Erskine and John McCrea representing the mainstream and companies like Marvel had tables as well.
Once again, the back issues were a bit lacking and it was easier to buy a Captain America man-bag than buy a Captain America comic – but those are the times we live in, I suppose.
• You can look for an MCM event coming to a city near you soon at www.mcmcomiccon.com
Many thanks for reading.