Josh & Kenzie here, the first junior reporters for Coaching for Geeks, reporting on the one of the biggest comic cons in the UK and giving you our survival tips!
When we were asked if we would like the opportunity to be junior reporters at one of the biggest comic cons in the country we couldn’t believe it. We had no idea what to expect; we had listened to our Dad talking about these events but nothing prepared us for what our senses were about to take on!
The last few years we have been introduced into the amazing world of comic conventions by our Dad. He has organised and volunteered at many small town events now over the years and it has been absolutely crazy to attend and see absolutely everything involved, we have danced with a WWE wrestler, been hugged by an original star wars actor, rode in the Deloreon, sat with the Simpsons on their sofa and so much more.
MCM Comic Con – the full experience
After an early start 4:30am gah! (Totally worth it) we arrived at the Excel and were instantly spotting hundreds of people cosplayers absolutely everywhere, we soon woke up with excitement, instantly we were in a huge environment full of like minded people and it didn’t matter what you looked like or who you are absolutely everyone is accepted here and it’s incredible, we even saw a Donald Trump cosplayer!
We got our passes and headed into this huge exhibition centre to see hundreds of people lined up at barriers in front of huge shutters both sides all waiting for those shutters to rise up and release the comic con to the public. We were blown away to see the crowds rush in and filter into this huge eye opening event , we didn’t know where to go first, luckily our Dad had a plan which was to get us to experience as much of the event as possible, which involved an interview with Veronica Taylor the voice of Ash from Pokemon. We found the Koin club stand and they drew us in with their shiny coins and a free MCM exclusive coin for free, for us free stuff is awesome! We then took part in a Coca-Cola sensory challenge which was actually quite educational in the history of the huge corporation, and their mission to make new products, especially the sugar free variety. We were all rewarded with an ice cold coke zero in a cool glass bottle this needed to be drank there and then, at 9am! (We did drink some.)
Our day became more and more of a awesome learning experience, because it was the Saturday it was becoming increasingly busy throughout the day and peaked for us at around 2pm with it being the busiest, crowded place we had ever been too, but strangely still friendly – if you wanted to take a picture with a cosplayer they always said yes. As it was so busy we stayed together (most of the time) and did everything together, we all had phones on us just incase and Dad would use landmarks to get us around as it can get confusing which hall your in! MCM filled the entire exhibition centre which is split into North and south all along the walls there is markers ie N12 and S3 this came in very handy.
Swag and Purchases
We saved hard as soon as we knew we were doing this so we could buy some awesome comic con swag, and we were blown away with the choice of all the different trade stands, you can buy everything, Funkos, t-shirts, mystery boxes, rare collectables, exclusive collectables, retro games, new games, swords, everything!! There was also lots of free swag like Doctor who/Mr men badges from the BBC stand, a Chupa chups lolly’s from the Chupa Chups stand it was amazing for us guys.
Meeting Veronica Taylor (Ash from Pokemon)
We went to join in with the Veronica Taylor interview which was all new for us and suddenly very quiet away from the main halls. Microphones, dictaphones & cameras and a small bunch of reporters. We didn’t get a chance to ask Veronica a question but we did meet her after the interview as my Dad has met her before and they were catching up. We went back to the main halls into the massive crowds and queues, we could see a lot of the Guest signers sat at their tables doing autographs and the queues were seriously long but everyone seemed happy to wait. We took part in some photo opportunities with a Grinch section advertising the new film, a Rick and Morty stand with life size models and a Game of thrones section that had a huge Dragon skull.
Top tips: Take breaks, keep your energy up.
We learnt that stopping for regular breaks was a good idea as it is a lot of walking and we kept drinking loads throughout the day. Our Dad swears by his ‘bring a pack lunch rule’ and ‘keep hydrated’, we know it makes sense, but MCM/Excel does have so many food outlets and vendors that are massively tempting.
We found the massive gaming section and was blown away with all the consoles you could play on and watch, for us two we could have stayed there all day, but the event is so big we wanted to see everything. If you can do more than one day then do it!
Throughout the day we would stop people around our age to ask them what they thought of the event – most people said that it was awesome, busy but worth it. We also spoke to loads of cosplayers getting tips as we have both been inspired to hopefully start cosplaying at future events. Dad thinks we should do Kevin and Perry! We’re more into Fortnite!
We had an absolutely amazing time and it was good to be able to enjoy an event like this but also learn from it putting our Dad’s tips into practice. We hope to get in on more interviews and do more in depth reports on cosplaying and gaming.
Things we have learnt for convention survival
- Keep drinking, water is best although we would prefer something with flavour
- Take rest breaks when needed
- Always have a meet up point just incase you become separated
- You will be queuing so be prepared , we went on the Saturday which is the busiest day and queued for lots of things, just be patient it’s worth it
- Take cash, the Excel does have cash points, this was the first time we ever saw large queues for cash points. Also most traders do accept card
- Don’t be afraid to ask cosplayers for a photo or even talk to them
- If you can get an early bird ticket as it really does get busy when general tickets enter.
- Bags will be checked so don’t bring anything you shouldn’t.
- Freebies everywhere! Just make sure it is free before you help yourself
- Pick up a copy of the show guide as it has a map, show times, and lots of info. It’s also an awesome keepsake or for us something cool to show off at school.
- Take photos, there is so much to remember you saw so take a photo
That’s all from us and we hope this helps you realise that these events are awesome for all ages we will definitely be attending MCM events for years and soon hopefully be cosplaying with everyone else.
Josh & Kenzie: CFG junior reporters.