Your intrepid Screenrobot team marched off to the London MCM Expo Comic Con this weekend, armed with cameras, dictaphones, and an unparalleled joint knowledge of the comic book universe. Although our Marvel vs DC argument remains unresolved [Edit: Marvel. Obviously. -Hannah], here is a list of things we learned by the kind of trial and error that would probably make a great reality show. Enjoy our discomfort, and learn how to make sure you have the best time when you go to Comic Con.
Saturday is mind-boggling chaos
Conventions are going to be busy but Comic Con 2014 took this to a new level. There were over 100,000 people in the ExCel over the weekend and Saturday was the busiest day. I could barely move, there was little chance of getting to play games and it took an age to walk anywhere. I just hid for several hours. The convention was still awesome but the amount of people was hellish. JM
Fly your geek flag proudly
I spent my first day at Comic Con in a suit, having come straight from a job interview. I spend the second day in jeans and a sweater, and the third day in my best Deadpool t-shirt. Guess when I made the most friends. Cosplaying works on the same principle- you find your tribe fairly quickly, and wind up making friends in the inevitable lunch queues. No matter how niche your interests are, someone else is interested too, and the accepted MO is for everyone to talk to everyone else, so you might as well make some new friends with the same interests. HC
Play the big games first
Don’t even think twice about this. I decided to play Evolve around 30 minutes into the Friday event and I was waiting for nearly two hours! If there’s a big game there, get to the event early and go straight to it. If you don’t, I fear for the length of time you are going to be waiting. JM
Bring any children you have in your possession
Your children, nieces, nephews, and siblings will have the time of their lives. Remember when you were little and seeing someone dressed in a costume of your favourite character was totally mindblowing? Now consider how awesome it would be to your six-year old self if every adult you could see in every direction was dressed as a favourite character and you were on a Japanese candy-induced sugar high. MCM pride themselves on being family-friendly, and attendees of all ages were doing their best to make sure children stayed safe and had a great time, and kids are welcome to participate in all events over the weekend. HC
Free hugs are fun. Up to a point
I love this idea. Love the idea of letting random people hug you. Until you think about how Comic Con is a hotbed of illnesses. One glance at the MCM Facebook page and you’ll see Comic Con’ers moaning about dying of varying strains of the Comic Con flu. With this in mind, why would you want people to keep hugging you? You’re just asking to get ill! JM
Bring a camera. Do not bother using it inside
Comic Con is a photographer’s dream. Great costumes, lots of cool exhibits, and a general lack of inhibition from people striking ridiculous poses. The lighting inside the ExCel centre though, is like the worst thing that has ever been bad. It is pants and ruins everything. Instead, bring a camera and head outside. The lighting is better, and its also where the MCM Fringe, a loosely organised collection of cosplay meetups, takes place. If you ever wanted a picture of 45 perfectly-executed Pokemon cosplayers having a mock arena battle, or Alien vs. Predator happening in real life, this is where you will find it. HC
Try some panels
Comic Con has a range of panels you can watch and they all seemed to have space. Not only is it nice to sit down and relax but you’ll get to hear your favourite ‘celebrities’ talk about the shows and games they’re involved in. Sure you can spend £20 to get their autographs and a poorly taken photo or you could learn about some cool stuff from them. Your choice. (Well, I suppose you could do both.) JM
James Cosmo is actually huge. Like, enormous.
James Cosmo is currently best known for his role on Game of Thrones as Jeor Mormont, Commander of the Night Watch in Game of Thrones, where he looks like this.
That’s a big cape with some serious shoulder pads, you say. It’s camera trickery to make a 66 year old look bigger and more intimidating, you say. Nope. He might actually be a mountain. He is 6’4” and 18 stone, and all of that is horizontal bulk. He is built like the bastard offspring of a rugby prop and a fridge. Chris Hemsworth did not make me feel this tiny. HC
Try the indie stuff
No, you’re not going to have heard of any of the games but there’s also going to be minimal queues to play them. Not only that but it’s usually the developers are the ones showcasing the games, meaning you can ask them all sorts of questions about game development. I fell in love with a game called Salvage, which I’ve now brought, and got to experience a wide variety of games that so many seemed to ignore. JM
Talk to everyone
Comic Con is a social event and brings lots of people together, with lots of interests outside comics and science fiction as well. Over the course of the weekend, I had chats about feminism and horror movies, England’s drone manufacturing industry, the powertrain systems in modern motorbikes, and a deadly serious conversation about glitter eyeliner. As someone reasonably new to London, I actually made some new friends, and have made proper plans to hang out with them in the future. Very rarely do you have the opportunity to meet so many people without it all being a bit weird. Take advantage. HC
Images: Hannah Cogan, except Cosmo: HBO