One of my favourite moments from this year’s MCM Comic Con in London was a cosplayer dressed as a Los Pollos Hermanos employee, and after praising their costume, he offered me crystal meth. Panic not, the ‘meth’ was actually sugar in blue dye, and the cosplayer was not a ruthless drug kingpin. Whichever direction you turn, you’ll see droves of cosplayers sourcing their ideas from anime, horror films, superheroes, and video games.
There was an eight-foot-tall Chewbacca, God of War’s Kratos, a multitude of Peter Parkers, Bruce Waynes, and Diana Princes, Chainsaw Man, Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head, and for those familiar with The Boys, and a particularly risqué scene from the controversial “Herogasm” episode, a cosplayer costumed as the Deep with an octopus. That scene. One of the first things you realise, as was pointed out to me by a Doctor Who cosplayer (queueing for a photo op that drained my bank account), is that regardless of whether this is your first or fifteenth Comic Con experience, there is absolutely no shame in what you wear, and nobody will judge you on your chosen attire (within reason).
Let’s break down the weekend a bit more because it was a busy one. Initially, I was making the trip for one day. Then I changed my mind and returned on Sunday. I was adamant I’d spent as little money as possible (excluding tickets, travel, and expenses such as food and drink – which you will need). However, I paid for a photo op with not one but three incarnations of Doctor Who’s Time Lord, so that plan went out the window. When it comes to money, it’s best to plan ahead and if possible, avoid ATM machines. I had intended to avoid them as well until I didn’t.
So I’ve backtracked three times, but at the end of the day, the weekend was an invaluable memory. Sentimentality triumphs over excessive spending. Once you’ve navigated a half-mile of queues (which can be bypassed pretty fast since it’s always moving), and you get inside, particularly for any newbies reading this, it can take a moment to adjust to the numbers. On Saturday, there were millions of people, and that’s not an understatement. Sunday, it died down a tad, but it was still heaving. Unless you’ve researched and planned out your entire day before arriving, for most, the weekend will be spent walking. You’ll be clocking up some serious feet mileage. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the two main buildings at the Excel Centre. The S building and the N building. That’s how I remember it.
They probably have actual names, but let’s be honest, nobody’s thinking about that when you’re getting selfies with Chewbacca. Take some time to get your bearings and explore as much as you can. It’s best not to splash your cash on the first stall you find with your favourite things but to search around a bit more first. This way, you might find the same thing for a better price. I did come home with a few trinkets from over the weekend, from a hoodie to a chameleon arch fob watch (Doctor Who fans will know).
My biggest expenditure of the weekend, as mentioned before, was the photo op on Saturday afternoon with three incarnations of the Doctor from Doctor Who. Unashamed to say I’m a super-fan and prepared to pay (redacted) to meet them. Three out of ten off the list: Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann. There is, sadly, a drawback to the photo op. You will pay a lot of money to queue, jump into a booth, and stand with them before your picture is taken. Then you’re escorted out, and that’s it. Done.
From my experience, it could be preferable to grab an autograph and pay extra for a photo, which is exactly what I did on Sunday when I met Colin Baker. That’s Doctors five to eight off the list. Autographs allow you to actually speak to them, and it’s overall a more direct, intimate, and personal experience. It’s a preferential thing, so it’s best to consider your options before you make a decision.
The rest of the weekend was occupied by a lot of walking, catching a glimpse of Tomska (the ASDF creator) amid long queues. I grabbed a snap of the TARDIS and new costumes for the 60th-anniversary specials and played video games (Halo 3 on the Xbox 360 and Gran Turismo 4 on the PS2). If you didn’t know, you can play for free on a range of consoles from the Xbox 360, Playstation 2, 3, and Nintendo Gamecube. Queue up, grab a controller of choice, pick a case, and you’ll be given the disc to play. It’s a good opportunity to get all nostalgic for the consoles of yesteryear.
If you’ve read to the end, then I hope this has been entertaining as it has been informative. As someone whose never been before, Comic Con is an experience worth living at least once. Most importantly, the things to remember would be to spend wisely and set a budget, drink plenty of water and have some nibbles to hand. Be courteous to other cosplayers if you ask them to take their photo (often people are pretty friendly and will let you, but ask anyway), and most importantly, enjoy yourself. It’s all about what you take from the day. Here’s to the next one. Did you attend either of this year’s Comic-Con events in London? Let us know if you did, we’d love to know what you made of the experiences, whether this is your first or tenth.