So if you’re reading this you probably haven't been to a Comic-con yet, and have a few questions. I recommend going to a Comic-con at least once. Even if you have no interest in pop culture. It's just one of those bucket list things you have to experience and with the rise of video games and comics, it's not just a niche anymore. Let me get the FAQ’s out of the way first. No, you do not need to be in costume. I would say about 50% of people there, are in full blown costume and cosplay with a majority just wearing cat ears or a nerdy t-shirt or such, as to just dip in their toe into the waters of the phenomenon that is cosplay. When buying tickets, priority entry just means getting in earlier than people with general entry tickets. You also probably want to buy tickets in advance as they are cheaper.
What to Bring!
So there will always be a crowd. The key to walking around successfully is having the least amount of stuff on you as possible. You will be walking around for the majority of the day alongside cosplayer’s swords and dinosaur tails flailing around everywhere. The best tactic to have the least amount of sweaty nerd touch you, is to not have a massive bag to carry around, then you are more nimble to duck and dive in and around what ever may be poking out of a giant ogre or a space wizard. If you have a car or booked a hotel, USE IT! And store all of your magic potions, and any invisible cloaks. Keep only the essentials!
So what are the essentials? Money. A lot of stalls don’t take card, and lines for the cash machine are always long. Take money! Now you may not smell, but the amount you’ll be around people in large cosplay who are sweating plus the amount you'll be walking, you may want to bring deodorant. Scratch that. You will have to bring deodorant. Food and drink will be expensive inside so if your not that excited for greasy Japanese street food you may want to bring your own food, but a necessity is water. If you don't have a drink on you, you will have to wait in a long line to get drinks which aren't always the cheapest.
Take your Time!
Once you get into the venue, it can seem like a lot and your excitement may get the better of you and you will want to go round the entire venue quickly once just to scout out your options and then go in for the kill. This is a big mistake. If you rush around too quick you will finish seeing and doing everything and you may think you have seen it all well before your time at MCM will finish. My advice is to let MCM take you by the hand slowly and lead you to whatever you happen to stumble across. It's much more fun just taking your time at every stall and finding some hidden gems you may not have seen without rushing. Even if you are just there for the day I still urge you to take your time.
The only time you will need to rush around is if you are there on a Sunday near closing time and you are rushing around to find yourself a good bargain. Towards the last couple hours of MCM, stalls slash prices in the effort of getting rid of all their comic-con stock they have just for the event. Not all stalls do this but I have managed to get some Pokemon merch from £30, to £15. So if you’re a cheapskate like me, you might want to wait till the final hours.
Queues, Lines and Waiting
There are many reasons you will be in a line at the event. Meeting Youtubers, celebrities, to play games, to buy food. Waiting in line is unavoidable, but here are a few tips to make it more bearable. First of all if you plan on waiting in any lines that aren't restricted by a certain person being there at a specific time, then you can get yourself a priority ticket to get into the show before anyone else to guarantee a better place in line. For example on the Friday I got into the line very early, with my priority entry to play the new, Super Smash Bros Ultimate. I only waited about 15 minutes. I then tried again on the Sunday but the line was over an hour and a half long. To get into the rooms which the “Live Stage” is in or any sort of celebrity signing or meeting, you will just have to get there early enough. It really does depend on how much you are willing to wait and how desperate you are. Chances are if you didn't get to see one of your favorite actors or go see one of your favorite TV show panels. You didn't want it enough.
My next tip, is to actually go to panels. Panels are a sort of live Q&A with directors, actors and producers of many famous TV shows, movies or Youtube channels. For example the cast and some crew of Netflix’s Shadow Hunters were at the last comic-con and I am sure the room it was being held in was at capacity. This year I manages to line up half an hour early to grab myself a place in for the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse panel. I got to see the first 38 minutes of the film and was so happy I took the time to do so. (On a side note, Into the Spider-Verse is going to be amazing!) To find out what panels are happening where, there are free MCM guide books available at the front desk and there are a lot of huge boards dotted around with the schedule and also its all online and on the app.
Being in Groups
Speaking of technology, there is little to no Wi-Fi in the building. If you are in a group of people it's a good idea to make a meeting point if people get lost, and also stepping outside is a good way to get internet again.
Believe it or not but the is some stuff to do directly outside of the con too. There are usually a lot of meet ups outside where people cosplaying characters from the same anime, game TV show or whatever will come together and get great pictures. If you have come to Comic-Con dressed as a niche character like Brock from Pokemon (which I may or may not have done) and want to find a Misty and Ash to take pictures with, then here is where you will find them. Meet ups are usually organised on Facebook, so be sure to search for meet ups happening.
There are, plenty of the time a stage where musical guests come to play music suited to our kind. This includes, j-pop, k-pop, metal, chiptune, dubstep and much more. There is also a big TV where trailers of the newest games, films and TV are shown off so it's another great rest spot.
Use Rest to Gain Your Stamina Back.
Speaking of rests, you are gonna need plenty. Every now and then it's nice to just sit down and take in all the weird and wonderful around you. Instead of exploring Comic-Con, let Comic-con come to you. There are many places to stop and chill. Nintendo usually have a bean bag area for people to charge their Nintendo consoles and just sit and play, and sometimes they even have shows and stuff happening on stages. It's pretty great, I got onto one of them by coincidence. Chances are, where ever there are seats, there is something to entertain you with. Shout out to the Popasia stage where they have fans perform anything they want!
And now that Comic-Con is coming to a close, you will have the absolute pleasure of having to leave whilst rubbing shoulders with the other hundreds of people that have been there for the whole day, or maybe even weekend. To avoid the crazy insane rush of the con closing. I advice you leave about 40 minutes before closing time. This is especially helpful if you are travelling by train. It saves queuing to get onto a packed smelly train.
If you are planning to stay past closing time and enjoy the wonders of the MCM Comic-Con nightlife, or want to know how I got onto the Nintendo stage, then be sure to read my other article on tips to survive that, here >>> https://www.fragradio.com/london-mcm-comiccon-2018/ That about does it for all the tips I know, feel free to comment anymore tips and ticks you have learnt over the few years