London MCM Expo convention report
A time-traveller from the SFX Weekender gatecrashes London Expo
A Giger-inspired Alien chases a Dalmatian while an ace seven-foot troll, making a guest appearance ahead of his trip to the SFX Weekender, shuffles past trailed by a veritable legion of eager snappers. Meanwhile on-stage the likes of Terry Farrell and Nicole de Boer (the two Daxes, together!), the cast and crew of Merlin and the stars of Warehouse 13 thrill devoted fans with tales of on-set antics and near-incarceration in the shadow of Big Ben. It can only be the London MCM Expo!
And SFX were there, peddling our wares, meeting a few heroes (Mr Ronny Cox, Dick Jones from Robocop, who now plays a mean guitar!), greeting loyal readers able to make the trip to the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands and hosting a trial-run of our dastardly Blastermind Quiz (with a few teething problems, but more on that later).
Anyone in attendance would have spotted the bright red SFX balloon soaring majestically amidst oversized posters for the likes of Avatar, Left 4 Dead 2 and The Wolfman – hanging from the 10m high ceiling of the 30,000m² exhibition hall. More than 38,000 Cosplayers, gamers and plain old SF fanatics easily filled this space over the course of the two day event, 11,000 piling through the doors in the first hour alone.
Other highlights not already mentioned included panels and signings with Nelsan Ellis (LaFayette from True Blood, who our pals over at Geek Syndicate interviewed at Expo), Kandyse McClure (Dee from Battlestar Gallactica), Idris Elba (talking up forthcoming comic adaptation The Losers) and the fellas behind £45 zombie-flick Colin, who showed us how to create that gruesome zombie look for only a few pence live on stage. There was also the vibrant Comic Village, boasting over 80 creators and writers; the Anime Village; the Victorian Steampunk Society; and the ever-popular Cosplay Masquerade.
The SFX Blastermind quiz proved to be a huge success with dozens of you turning out to watch the five biggest SF brains at the convention battle it out for a free pass to February’s smoking-hot SFX Weekender. Before Dave G, Jordan and Ade Hill took to the stage, however, Alien Autopsy whipped the audience into a frenzy with their, how can we put this, “unique” show.
After two rounds of fiendishly tricky questions Stephen Pasqua (pictured left) and Max Pearson went head to head in a tie breaker round. Max emerged victorious by a hair’s breath, but SFX’s remedial math skills meant Stephen was the clear winner before the tie breaker even took place, sorry Stephen! By way of compensation (and because we’re such nice fellows) both Stephen and Max won some fantastic prizes and both will be coming along to the Weekender in February for free, while all those who took part won an ultra-rare copy of the April issue of SFX magazine featured in Red Dwarf Back to Earth, only 50 in existence you know. Bet you wish you’d come now!
There were some great offers to be had at the various trade stalls littered around the event (including a retro games stand where SFX spent most of its pocket money) while this year’s London Expo also served to launch the 2009 London Games Festival, with no fewer than 12 of the top developers in attendance. Decapitating hordes of zombies with a whopping huge machete in Left 4 Dead 2, gunning down Na’vi and Viper wolves in Avatar (which SFX played on a prototype 3D TV) and Jordan giving Dave G a pummelling in Tekken 6 were all great fun, but the absolutely flippin’ mental Bayonetta (where you play a kinky witch hacking her way through legions of demonic beasties) was our pick of the show.
AvP Rock Band?
Sadly it had to end sometime and even though SFX were the first through the pub doors when the final bell rang we can’t wait to do it all again. But you don’t have to wait till May 2010 when London MCM Expo returns, the SFX Weekender is taking place from 5 to 6 February 2010, where Blastermind, Alien Autopsy and the giant troll will make their triumphant return. Tickets are still available but they won’t be around for long so head to www.sfxweekender.com to make sure you don’t miss out!