So it is that time of year again, MCM Comic Con at Birmingham’s NEC arena. The hordes of Film, Comic and Video Game fans from across the UK and afar all attending to celebrate their love of all things nerdy.
Last year’s attendance of the con was a great experience for me as one day I went in normal clothes and the second day I experienced the magic that cosplay brings to the convention but this time I decided to attend just the one day this time, as much as I enjoyed it last year my schedule is getting crazier every week and I just couldn’t attend another day, I suppose that’s a good thing right?
The convention was set up in a different hall this time, a much smaller hall it seemed, everything seemed rather cramped together but there was a wide range of Pop Vinyls, Comics, Autographs, plush toys and more from your favorite TV, Movies and Anime series.
The main reason I attend these events is solely because of the stars that attend, if the Special Guest line-up is good I’m the first in line to buy tickets and this year hit me at my weak spot, The Walking Dead. Christian Serratos, Laurie Holden and Tyler James Williams were all in attendance talking about The Walking Dead, instantly when we arrived, I ran to grab a programme to check what times the cast were discussing the wonderful series in a special Terminus named panel. In a twist of fate we somehow beat the huge enslaught of zombie-hoardes (Also known as Comic-Con attendees) to get a seat at the panel and listen to the cast discuss the wonderful Walking Dead franchise. If only Press badges gave you front seat admission, instead we were quite near the back and unable to get a decent picture.
It was great to hear Christian who’s character Rosita is still in the show, going over a selection of her favorite moments and discussing her ideas about where the future of the show could potentially go. On the other hand there was quite a contrast with Laurie and Tyler who used to be in the show going over their earlier moments in the series and what it was like working such long hours in tough conditions with late nights and a great little discussion about the cast performing their own stunts.
Once again the Q&A brought a whole host of repetitive questions from the audience that if I was on the panel, I’d be lulling myself to sleep answering the same questions over and over again. Poor Laurie had three questions of who her favorite person was to work with with all three answers being Scott Wilson, Scott Wilson and wait for it.. Scott Wilson who played the wonderful Hershel on the show, she did give a special mention to David Morrissey who played The Governor and Andrew Lincoln of course out of courtesy of presenting a panel in the UK.
Tyler gave a special mention to the lovely Emily Kinney and Christian just seemed bubbly and happy to be working with so many talented people.
Aside from the mundane questions from the audience it was great to see that every answer was elaborated by the panel to give that extra sparkle to an otherwise dull set of questions, it was nice to see such professionalism in how they handled it. Time flew by and a 60 minute panel was over and now it was time for the cast photo shoot.
After pre-booking my tickets I was thinking that I’d be straight in and straight out in enough time to cover the rest of the event, or so I thought. The queue was a two hour queue that had one person in charge to look after 500 people to maintain an orderly fashioned line. There were people pushing in, people being told to queue in different sections for no reason other than to clear up space and when more organisers finally came an hour later the damage had already been done.
The organisation was atrocious and it was an absolute shambles to the point where a few of the staff members I’d spoken too (Bare in mind this was within the photo shoot stall and not the queuing section) said that the tickets had been over-booked. Not only was this going to annoy fans with long waiting times but the poor stars had to stand around for 2 hours taking pictures with at least 50 or 60 more people than they were booked for, yes they’re getting paid for it and yes the fans deserve to meet their idols but the pendulum swings both ways and this was looking real bad for MCM and their staff who had put both parties in this predicament.
Once the mayhem had subdued and I’d been waiting two hours in a queue, most of my coverage of the event had disappeared, I came out one hour before the show closed, unable to get any extra content or additional opportunities which was a real shame.
MCM do not provide any extra press benefits such as a front of line access for badge holders or a priority queue for advanced ticket holders, everyone is thrown into the same boat and left to their own devices. An absolute shambles.
There is a silver lining thou however, as my photo’s were booked separately I was told to wait in the photo shoot booth whilst each star had taken all of their pictures with the other guests, this meant I had more time to spend talking with Laurie and Tyler which was really nice as this wouldn’t of been possible otherwise. A small perk that I got that helped the process along more smoothly, if this hadn’t of happened however my review would of taken a more antagonist character approach.
So my Press Badge gave me no perks other than the much appreciated free entry, but all in all the badge was as much use as a condom made in a hedgehog factory. No front of line / Priority line access, no front row seats at panels so my photographer could take decent photo’s or any other benefit of any kind.
Thankfully the guests were polite and kind with full credit to the Walking Dead cast for being incredibly patient with the over-booking situation.
The wonderful Warwick Davis was soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying himself in addition to the other members in attendance. I had a great chat to the lovely Eileen Dietz (The Exorcist) about an upcoming project we will be working on and as a whole it was a great day out with some great cosplayers walking around and some wonderful stores with unique merchandise on offer.
I love Comic Con and always will, but if you want me to cover your event, at least grant SOME perks that allow me to do my job properly and within a decent time scale.