It is not unusual for me to travel around the country for different comic conventions. I’ve been doing this for several years now and I plan on doing it for many more. If there is a reason for me to go, I will do my best to make it there.
That’s why it is strange to me that I’ve not made it to another MCM event outside of London yet. Well, that has all changed now because last weekend I attended MCM Birmingham on Saturday 16th November 2019.
Sometimes, it can seem that if a convention is not based in London, the guest list won’t be as big. Well, that is not the case this year with MCM Birmingham. This particular event featured Sean Astin (The Goonies/Lord of the Rings), Anthony Daniels (C3PO – Star Wars), Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop), Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who) and many more. These were only a small number of guests available to meet for either photo ops or autographs.
The Comic Book guest list was also not ignored at this event either. It featured guests who had worked on comics for My Little Pony, Adventure Time and Over the Garden Wall. These are big project names and it just goes to show that MCM cares about every event it runs.
While the event itself may not be as big, they still do there best to run the same kind of experiences that you would see at MCM London. They are just on a smaller scale. This means you still were able to see Live Stage Pannels, the Cosplay Stage, Pannels on the Main Stage, Workshops and so on.
The moment I arrived I was greeted by a friendly, energetic and loveable MCM worker. The reason I mention this is because it is why I love conventions. Being able to attend events with people who are all friendly and just here to have a fun time. Several times throughout my day I ended up in conversations with random people about all things pop culture. I always welcome that kind of interaction and celebration.
As for the event itself, while the size was decent I found it to be tightly packed. I’m not exactly sure what kind of layout I was expecting but I think it could do with some rework. I have attended other comic conventions at the NEC and they utilise space in very different ways. It might have just been the fact that there was also a lot of people but I think they could try spread out the stalls some more.
It can be a nightmare to try to look around when you constantly feel like you are trapped and surrounded by the crowds. I have to say, this might have been because the turnout was bigger than I expected. In my mind, with London being only a few weeks before I did not think this event would be as highly attended but it was. At least in some way, it means the event is getting the love it deserves despite any of the concerns I have. Birmingham feels like London in turnout but just more tightly packed together.
The start of my day was spent browsing the stalls and the convention floor. While doing this I passed by the Live Stage and I caught part of pannel with Monical Rial and Kyle Phillips entitled ‘Creating the perfect anime dub’. Monica was discussing how sometimes she and Christopher Sabat (Vegeta) end up talking to each other in character. They can’t tell if that’s just years of friendship or years of doing the same voices.
The Live Stage is one of the many things I do love about MCM events. This is just a small open stage where you can sit down or just stand back and see these kinds of discussions. You might catch something passing by or it might be something you specifically head for. Either way, it can add unexpected delight to your day as it did for me.
The reason I attended this event, was to meet the voice actor Steve Blum. He has a lot of voice acting credits to his name, some might know him as Spike from Cowboy Bebop but to me, I met him for his role of Tank Dempsey in the Call of Duty Zombies Storyline. He was a pleasure to meet and he did the iconic Tank voice for me while signing a Monkey Bomb Funko Pop I had brought. I find voice actors some of the most fun and interesting people to meet because of moments like that.
That was kind of the main big thing for me that happened at this MCM event in particular. The rest of my day was spent browsing. I hope this gave some understanding of what an event outside London is like. I should note, this is just my particular experience and opinions. I try to cover it all but I mainly just focus on what I encounter.
Personally, I would say while this event may not be as big as London, it is still one worth keeping on the radar. There are many stalls, smaller versions of what other MCM events offer but the soul/heart of the event is still as big as ever. It is one I would attend again if I wanted to meet a particular guest or just to experience that MCM convention vibe once more.
Check out more about the event here – https://www.mcmcomiccon.com/birmingham