MCM Ireland Comic Con Review

Posted: April 13, 2014 in Comics and Cosplay
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Probably one of the hardest con write ups I’ll ever have to do mainly because of the alleged stigma attached to MCM and their handling of the con scene in Ireland. Although I have no solid evidence to back this up it’s been heard through the grapevine that MCM Ireland would be a con to avoid and to save your money for some of the other conventions that will be happening throughout the year. Personally I don’t believe this and I find that all conventions seem to be the same, they have the same vendors, same atmosphere and the same goal. But this con just seemed a tad different in my opinion.

Hosted by the RDS in Ballsbridge it seemed like the perfect place to host a convention, large open floor plan, easily accessible and the RDS’ reputation as a convention host. But once again the usual demon of the con world reared it’s stinky head and took the trade hall by storm, crowds! Now I’m all for popularity in cons like this, it shows people are interested and are willing to attend, but MCM just felt like an nerdy moshpit, a proverbial geeky oven,a big stinky sauna! I have been to my fair share of cons throughout the year and all have been vaguely hot, given my choice of costume too, but this was almost to the point of being unbearable!

Heat exhaustion and crowds aside MCM did have an enormous array of vendors and trade for you to peruse, everything from comics to bags, to bean bags and coasters, all with their own geeky or retro theme to them. I found myself drifting towards anything Breaking Bad related and there were plenty of BB gear there to leave this poor reporter’s wallet empty!  The artist corner featured some the most talented artists in the Irish comic scene, and some that I am proud to call friends too, all of which were selling pre-made sketches and also doing various fan commission for reasonable prices. But I feel they were put in the corner of the event, the majority of the floor plan was taken up by bigger shops and stalls, where the independent artists were just left to one side. It just didn’t feel right, but that didn’t diminish the quality of the prints on sale though!

One thing that really bothered me though was lack of any decent entertainment, a supposed esports section that consisted of League of Legends and other games like Rock Band and DDR…this is what really sets me into a nerd rage! Esports is so much more than LoL, if they wanted to call it Esports they should have had some Starcraft tournaments or Dota 2 matches, and to say that they are not popular enough to be used is just downright stupid, Dota is becoming just as popular in Ireland than LoL with it’s own competition going on as we speak.

The crowds by the gaming section and Comic Village! Photo Courtesy of James Keogh

As mentioned above there was vendors selling everything from t-shirts to pillows to coasters and more, but my goodness could they not have come up with some original ideas for merchandise! Everywhere I looked there was copied artwork being plastered or printed onto t-shirts and being sold at prices that are nowhere near the original price. One for example, a Legend of Zelda t-shirt of Link as a zombie was being sold for 15 or so Euro, I bought the same shirt off Qwertee for 10€ and that supported the original artist. And the worst part was that the entire convention was vendors, it wasn’t a comic con more than a trade expo. There were a lot of independent artists and vendors there too, of course there always is, but they seemed to be shadowed by the vendors selling copied t-shirts and hoodies, one independent vendor I do have to mention, not only for his niche business but also because he is such a gent is the guy from A Beads C Start. It just didn’t feel like a comic con at all.

All I can say were things were looking grim for MCM, from what I’ve heard from friends and other attendees they seemed to have the idea that just because they have set themselves up as a big convention in the UK that they can simply set up here and become a giant in the Irish con scene… well no! Just because you rent out the biggest expo hall and fill it with vendors that sell comic related gear doesn’t make it a comic con. With two main halls being packed to the walls with people and cosplayers may be good for the organisers pocket but not for con goers and people who may not be aware of what is actually going on. They could have had so much more in the room for gaming for example, where a lonely food stall sat there could have been a Delorean or Kitt from Night Rider as photo ops, simple stuff like this can change something from a money grabbing trade expo to a truly memorable comic con experience for the attendees. They go home saying “Look I sat in the car from Back to the Future and took a photo with zombies from The Walking Dead!” Instead of “I bought a poster with an image from the first page of Google images and paid €X for it!”

This may seem like I’ve set out to bash MCM but this is what I honestly thought of the event, they were good points about it, of course. They had a good line up of guests, including Warwick Davis, which is a really awesome guy by the way, although I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t have a clue who the majority of the other guests were. MCM provided space for storage and changing rooms for cosplayers, which is actually a pretty big thing even though you may not think it. But one thing I did laugh at was there “Emergency Cosplay First Aid Kit”, which was basically a box with various thread and tape and whatnot, I’m pretty sure every house has one of them, cheekily disguised as a biscuit tin! Even though it was small and quite laughable in a way it was still a nice thought I guess.

Umbrella Corp make sure the con is safe from the undead! Photo Courtesy of James Keogh

Now I know what your thinking, no…this is not a review for Dublin Comic Con. I tried to avoid this topic as much as I could but I can’t help it. As an independent con goer and paying customer I do have a right to say what I want about the conventions I attend. But what annoyed me more than anything was the supposed relation to Dublin Comic Con (DCC), I got in touch with the organisers of DCC and was surprised to find that they have gotten a surprisingly high amount of emails from ticket holders complaining that they either had missed Dublin Comic Con or went to MCM expecting guests announced for DCC in August, then voicing their disappointment to the organisers of announcing guests and then them not showing up. When in my opinion, it’s MCM that did some misleading, throughout the show I’m sure I heard them announce themselves as Dublin Comic Con during the event. But the main question on peoples lips was “Where is Kevin Conroy and Ernie Hudson?!” Which I think sums it up pretty well!

All in all it wasn’t a total failure as some may think, but from a PR point of view I feel they really could’ve handled it a bit more maturely then they did. They may have had the biggest expo hall in Dublin but that doesn’t make it the best con, I’ve been to comic cons and anime cons in college campuses that have been infinitely more enjoyable that MCM Ireland Comic Con. It just goes to show that it is definitely quality over quantity when it comes to the con scene in Ireland. There are terms that we use to described the pre con feelings and the post con feelings, sadly I did not feel any of them at MCM, I didn’t get any “Pre Con Jitters ” and definitely, and most disappointingly, no “Post Con Blues”.

As I mentioned at the very start of this review, this is the hardest con write up I may ever have to do. I tried to be as fair as I could and although Facebook and other social networks may have had extreme responses from either end of the spectrum about how they felt the con was handled, I do pride myself in blocking that out of my professional life as a journalist and remaining as fair and honest as I can be. Everything you have read is all my honest opinion with a few questions from attendees and other people in the con scene. Although the opinion may not be the one you were expecting, it is the sad nature of journalism that not everybody shares the same opinion.

I hope you enjoyed this review and would suggest you read some of by other con reviews all listed in the above menu titled “Comics and Cosplay”.

And for people who seem to have set their sights on bashing MCM, this is their first year in Ireland, think of it like dipping your toes in a pool before you dive in, you could say testing the waters. For the attendees of MCM there are a plethora of other conventions coming up and I would urge you to try each and every one, in the next 3 months we have Arcade Con, Nom Con and Dublin Comic Con, all with amazing guests and more!

Thanks for reading.

Adam.

Before you go, check out this amazing CMV of the event done by the extremely talented Grahamedia

Comments
  1. cat says:

    Whilst I agree about the heat and needing a bit more to see I am surprised that you couldn’t find any original designed merchandise as I found a whole Island doing almost nothing else. Names included Studio Giblets, Khaos, A lovely Irish girl doing her own jewellery and Genki Gear whilst there was also a kimono and Japanese stall which whilst having some usual pikkachu hoodies also had some really tempting Japanese clothing. it seems a bit harsh to tar every dealer with the same brush.

    • Akroview says:

      Hi Cat,

      Thanks for the comment, i will agree with you on that and i do apologize if I offended any of the true independent vendors at the expo. I have edited the article to point this out.

      Thanks for the spot Cat.

      Adam.

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