Nerd Cons in Brum: MCM Birmingham Comic Con

While it’s perhaps the most well-known geeky convention in the West Midlands (local press showing up to photograph the best cosplayers doesn’t hurt) Birmingham Comic Con can be a victim of its own success; they’ve had to rent out a nearby hall just so people can queue to get in. On top of that, I’ve had to stop going on Saturdays, because frankly it’s just too busy on its first day for an old duffer like me. In my defence, the last time I went on a Saturday I was in a human traffic jam for the majority of my visit.

However, I’m not being entirely fair to MCM. They’ve clearly revised their layout plans since then to give far more room for congoers to walk about, without sacrificing floor space for vendors of neat stuff that actually comes from Japan, you guys.

Oh dear, I’m getting arsey again. Make no mistake, Comic Con is a wonderful experience – just wandering around and seeing so many people coming together to let their freak flag fly is genuinely lovely to see, and if that involves buying a replica of that sword from their favourite anime or a crossover t-shirt, then who am I to sneer?

But the two real problems I have with Birmingham Comic Con are the rather steep ticket prices (£15 for one day‽) and – this is probably definitely the pedantic arsehole in me talking, but it doesn’t quite “feel” like a comic book convention. True, there’s loads of cosplayers dressed as comic book character, the artist’s alley and a half dozen local comic book vendors selling back trade paperbacks at a loss or back issues of Commando and Starblazer for £1 each, but they’re a bit crowded out by the celebrities and weeaboo nonsense…

Let’s be honest: this event has always been a film & TV convention with a more-than-healthy helping of anime stalls, and no doubt always will be. Nothing wrong with that, I’d just prefer honesty over brand unity, that’s all. Whilst I was perusing artist’s alley, I felt duty-bound to throw some of my hard-earned nerd cash their way, and so I bought a few issues of Space Captain, and a few prints from Kelly Angel. Everyone on those respective booths seemed very lovely, so I suggest you give them money like what I did.

As for the celebrities themselves, I decided to give them a miss this time round; I’ve got dozens of autographs already, and the major star there (Liv Tyler. Yes, the Liv Tyler.) was charging £45, had a huge line, and was charging £45.

Ah well, there’s always next year…

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