MCM Comic Con Manchester Review – First Year
I had never been to Comic Con before and it had really bugged me that I hadn’t visited the event in my home town of Manchester, so I tried my luck on Twitter to get a late ticket about a week before the event but was pointed to the Press applications section of the website. I duly filled it in, expecting it to be too late if I’m honest but I was pleasantly surprised I was approved for a Press pass.
Not being a train user much, I had no idea that Deansgate station in Manchester had a bridge that let you cross the Metro track and enter from the rear of the building but luckily had to take a train to the same station a week previous and noticed it at the time, so I simply had to go just for travel convenience. Irlam station is only about a seven stop jump but if you choose the right train this drops to just four with a 21 minute journey, making it about as fast as getting to the Trafford Centre area in a car, so on the day, I drove up to the local station and using the Train-line App, had my travel plans booked and paid for shortly before arriving.
Manchester Central is a venue more commonly known in past years as The G-Mex Centre but with all the events and concerts I have been to, it had never been at this venue so I was more than curious to discover the layout as well as the Comic Con itself so I entered from the rear of the car-park and was guided to the front where entry had recently started.
Luckily for me there was no queuing for Press and as I wasn’t carrying a bag, I breezed past the security checks and straight into the venue. After a couple of minutes inside and after taking in my first glances of the building and the Cos-Players walking around, I found my head buried in a sea of boxes filled with retro games (only later checking the value of the deal compared to eBaY really wasn’t in my favour).
It can be quite daunting walking around a venue for the first time on your own, no matter your age, but the benefits are, you can listen to your earphones and pretty much head where you like, not having to worry about losing others and I quite enjoyed that perception of my first visit and would recommend trying it at least once rather than dismiss the event completely.
After buying a couple of games for Playstation 2 and Sega Saturn, I continued my tour, soaking in the style of stands on offer, which included a lot of smaller Etsy style craft shops with pre-made wares based around Manga, Jewellery and sofa pillows (almost bed dividers) amongst other objet d’art which were pretty impressive.
Around lunch-time, furiously clinging to my wallet and forcing it to stay hidden away, I met a friend (Graham – The GameFace Show) and his daughter and we slid off for a pub lunch after savouring some amazing Cos-Players posing outside for pictures. We could have taken a selfie and opted for a free burger or hot-dog but the queue before opening was already rather lengthy so we chose to toddle off to Wetherspoons instead.
Later that afternoon once back inside the venue, I took one more tour and succumbed to buying the aforementioned Manga pillow I found most pleasing on the eye and then headed home with no view to return for the Sunday. However… plans change.
Later that night I invited a friend to come and visit from work so attempted to arrange a second emergency press pass. We took a trip back to MCM Comic Con Manchester after breakfasting in our rather posh Irlam train station and managed a 2nd wrist-band on the door (which was fabulous of the staff) and dug a little deeper into some of the stalls I had paid less attention to. My colleague had never tried the event either and we both agreed that the trade areas were very diverse and provided a great range for those looking to improve their costumes, collections or ornamental eye-candy.
The venue is deceiving large as it is split somewhat down the middle with the main hall being on the left side and a huge seating and rest-room area on the right (which was absolutely packed due to poor weather). All in all, we all had a great time and picked up some pieces whilst there as a treat and I for one would certainly go again in future, perhaps with a little more planning in hindsight.
The security and staff were extremely professional and courteous and even for the younger generation, it came across as a very well controlled environment, especially when one of the female attendees appeared to be in pain from a foreign object in her eye, the staff seemed to calm her and call for a first-aider and take it in their stride.
I never did try the food at the venue but plenty did and I didn’t see any disgruntled faces unless you were looking at the rain clouds outside. I guess even they had a silver lining in Manchester that weekend.
Check out the full gallery below and click for larger pictures
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