MCM Manchester Expo 2012 - It happened.
MCM Expo Manchester Comic Con 2012 - so good they named it a shit load of times.
Photo courtesy of this lovely lady. Hopefully she won’t mind me putting it up here.
On the morning of the convention I had a super bad feeling. I was convinced this show would be a bust for me. The thought of exhibiting at a new convention with only its second outing with its larger sister-conventions more notorious in industry circles for the abundance of cosplayers and lack of interest in actual comics had me freaking out. Plus, they say “home is where the hatred is” and I’m a new creator with a new book that is still finding it’s audience (GIRL&BOY - available here). My nightmare that I was going to spend 9-5 stood around like a spare part doing nothing would come true and I would be completely irrelevant being shuffled out of the way by posing furries.
And that happened (except for the furry bit). For the first hour and a half our table was a dead-zone. Then it all went nuts.
Maybe that’s how long it took the crowds to do their first recon lap to see what they would buy? Maybe that’s how long it took for people to find me? Whatever, after that the crowds at the my table with Mark Penman just grew and grew. In one day I smashed sales I made at Bristol Expo over two days. In one day I sold what Manchester’s Travelling Man shop sells in Batwoman comics per month. People were coming by with copies of GIRL&BOY they had bought elsewhere so they could get them signed. People were buying PEABODY & D’GORATH posters without ever reading the comic. I even signed some of my back cover to Adam Cadwell’s BLOOD BLOKES issue 01. I was officially living the dream.
I really don’t have any complaints about Manchester Comic Con 2012, except for the kinda clandestine way you go about getting exhibitor tables, but that all worked out. It was busy all day, there was no trouble from the crowd, and the crowd was totally enthusiastic. So no complaints. Maybe just a suggestion…
How about making the C in MCM a bit more prominent? It does stand for Comics right? I’m not talking about me because I’m a rookie but give those experienced UK comics creators a bit more shine. Make them feel important just like the actors and voice-actors. Because they are. And don’t make it look like London Expo In Manchester, make it look like this is where you come to see the Northern talent. Because any Manchester comic convention that doesn’t make a big deal out of Adam Cadwell appearing is crazy.
I know the organisers need that advertising coin… but just imagine how cool it would be if instead of the STEP UP 4 and DRAGONBALL Z (holy 1993 Batman) banners everywhere, there were some Chloe Noonan banners? Imagine the Bad Machinery cast in the air on a 10 foot tall canvas? That’s the future I want to live in. And if the performance of mine and my friend’s books at MCM Manchester is anything to go by, it’s a future that could happen soon because the UK indie scene is going off the chain right now. There’s something happening. It’s in the water. People are fired up or pissed off or inspired or all three and it’s making major things happen in UK comics. Any convention that doesn’t pay attention to this growth in publishing and doesn’t cater to that growing fan-base is going to be caught with their pants down.
Manchester Expo really surprised me, in a really good way. Even though I never got to leave my table I met so many people there. People who swung by to say hi, or pick up comics or just chat were all awesome and so many people followed me home via Twitter and Facebook. My gratitude to you all, I hope you’ll be back next year… I certainly will.
And one last thought for the organisers. Exhibitor Lanyards. With names on. Maybe even a floor plan of Comic Village. Just putting that out there…