This past weekend, I took on the epic task of covering not one but TWO major comic cons – Heroes and Villains Fan Fest (HVFF) and MCM London.
And let me tell you, despite claims to the contrary, my body was not ready.
— David Molofsky (@AP2HYC_David) May 19, 2017
The two conventions couldn’t have been more different. MCM is well established in the UK for its expos, and its London events are the biggest of its kind in Europe. With over 130,000 people in attendance and taking up the entirety of the Excel Centre, it’s a behemoth of a con.
Heroes and Villains, on the other hand, was in London (and Europe) for the first time ever. Created by Stephen Amell and James Frazier, the event focuses mainly on guests meeting celebrities and getting pictures and autographs. While at MCM, a visit to each and every booth would have taken days – if not weeks – at HVFF, there were only a handful of vendors taking up the space not already occupied by the actors and actresses.The contrast was indeed interesting. While personally, I prefer the variety (and comics) at MCM, there was definitely room in the market for a show like HVFF. Getting the chance to meet the stars of the DC TV shows, going to panels, and buying the odd Funko Pop is more than enough for some people.
For me, John Barrowman‘s panel was easily a highlight of the weekend. He walked out in a Tardis dress and was full of energy and humour. From talking about possible reunions with his Doctor Who co-stars to farting on the set of Arrow to singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, Barrowman had the audience laughing and cheering for the full hour (not to mention myself and my photographer nearly falling out of our chairs). You can listen to the hilarious panel in it’s entirety over at our Patreon (don’t worry, it’s free).
One of the main things that stood out about HVFF was it’s facilities for disabled visitors. Designated volunteers in easy-to-spot shirts were there solely to attend to guests with special needs. There were several times when I saw extra efforts being made to accommodate wheelchairs, and every panel had an on-stage signer along with big screens with subtitles for deaf attendees. This is a niche in the market that is often overlooked and it was nice to go to an event where they made the extra effort.
MCM, meanwhile, is continuing to grow. Instead of going niche, it goes broad, making sure there’s something there for everyone. Costumes from Wonder Woman, sitting on the Iron Throne, playing video game tournaments, and, of course, plenty of great comics in the overflowing Comics Village. A “muggle” friend of mine who had never been to a comic con before was blown away by how many things she was actually interested in at the show, which I think speaks volumes about its universal appeal.
One of my favourite moments at MCM was the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers panel. Original series stars Austin St. John, Karan Ashley, Walter Jones, and David Yost reunited to talk about why Power Rangers is still popular 25 years later. The main theme was that the show was very positive and had great messages for kids about diversity, bullying, and being a hero. Inspiring indeed.
From a fan’s perspective, it seems fair to say that both shows delivered. There was a lot of positive energy at both shows, and judging by the posts I’ve seen on social media, most punters got exactly what they wanted from the shows. However, having spoken to many of the comic creators that made up MCM’s Comic Village over the weekend, the feedback from the weekend was quite different. If you want to get an insider’s take on it, see what Jon Lock and Dave West had to say.
For me, this weekend was, in a word, epic. It’s hard enough doing three days of MCM at the best of times, but throwing HVFF on top meant I was just plain exhausted by Sunday.
And I can’t wait to do it all again!