Con Report: MCM Comic Con Ireland 2014
Date: 2014 April 29th Tuesday [17:09] | Posted By: Eeeper
Our report is nearly derailed by con flu but here's the rundown from MCM Comic Con 2014 in Dublin!
It's always hard when you set out to cover a new con that you've never been to. On one hand, you want to do your best and cover everything, video everything and take pictures. On the other hand, it's a new con, dammit, and you want to buy everything, attend every panel and play video games. Things are helped by the fact that the con is brand new to your area so everyone else is feeling the same way you are. MCM Comic Con has slowly been taking place in major cities across the UK for the last few years and April 2014 was the turn of dear old Ireland. Let's check it out.
Let's start by talking about the location. The RDS Arena in Ballsbridge in Dublin is one of Dublin's oldest public exhibition halls and after the demolition of the Point, is one of the best locations to hold an event this size. Getting to the venue is pretty easy as it's serviced by four bus routes and the DART station is nearby. As I boarded the bus to the con, it was amazing to watch run of the mill folks double take seeing a girl board the bus dressed Harley Quinn, complete with oversized mallet. As the bus wound its way through the city, it became very obvious who was going to the con. I wish I could show you but Dublin Bus have strict rules as to what you can take pictures of. It was nice to see the con goers get into the spirit. Fans shouldn't have had a problem getting into the venue. Over 3,000 square metres with capacity for over 10,000 people, the venue is perfect for stalls, panels and anything a con needs. (Con staff were hoping for a footfall of at least 10,000 and I believe they got it) Crowd control was very good with the crowds being able to walk around and a minimum of crush points. The stalls were where you had trouble but that only meant having to wait a second or two for people to move on. One point of contention: while the floor plan was a welcome addition on the day, there were no major ways to navigate the stalls and with some of the stalls vendors having partitions and some having none, it was hard to figure out where one vendor was from the floor plan. Having them being labelled aisle 1, aisle 2 and so on would have been great as it would have corresponded to the floor plan. A major gripe I had, though, was that the con decided for some bizarre reason to have the wrestling arena right next to the panels area. This had the net result that at times we had to strain to hear the panelists or guests as they talked while bodyslamming went on on the other side of the changing areas. When I attended the Colin Ferguson panel, he even made a joke out of it as he began to talk. I would suggest putting the Wrestling in with the stalls area next, but that's just me.
The guests were very good with voice actors Mallie Flanagan and Bryce Papenbrook, actors Colin Ferguson, Hannah Spearritt, Lyndie Greenwood and Ian McNeice and artists Glenn Fabry, Simon Bisley and John McCrea. While I couldn't attend all of the panels, the guests themselves seemed to be enjoying themselves and I look forward to seeing what guests MCM Expo bring next year. Expo had a clear area for guest signings and the lines were wide enough that people could pass by without getting caught in the crowd. I also was heartened to see members of Star Wars costume fans, the 501st Ireland Outpost, out in force at the con. They always look the part, have fun and generally make the fans day when you get to pose with a stormtrooper. The dealers area is the one part of a con that I spend the most time in. It's also where most of my money disappears when I do to these things. It's always a good idea to expect to buy something at the con because the whole of fandom was catered for. Toys, costumes, games, DVD's, blu ray's, posters, wall scroll, custom artwork and cosplay photos were all in abundance and I hope that people who decided to have a look in came away with some of the booty, if only a fraction of what I saw. The Konami tables where the redoubtable Yu-Gi-Oh! card game could be played for hours on end, if one wished to. One of our reporters had a go and came away with a sufficiently pleased feeling. I can't get into the game but if it can impress a diehard fan, I'll give it points. One of the things that makes MCM Comic Con different from say, Eirtakon or NomCon (I'm only using Irish examples here), is that Expo is being run for profit whereas the previous cons are run by fans for fans. This makes the Expo a little less homely, less spontaneous and more official. However, being a professional con, it has less headaches than a fan con: lines are more controlled, fans don't act so out of control and a sense of security. Comic Con has to be all things to all people and for the most part, I feel it succeeded in having a great debut here in Ireland.
For more images, check out the full photo set on Flickr.