It’s been a difficult couple of years for everybody. We’ve had to struggle against a virus that still exists in our midst to this day. Sacrifices were made with comic cons being among them. Comic cons were cancelled in light of the COVID-19 situation throughout 2020 and most of 2021. For those of us who see our friends at events like comic con, it was a hard pill to swallow. For those of us in the United Kingdom, restrictions have come to an end and events like comic con can now come back into swing. My first event back since the pandemic as a cosplayer was MegaCon LIVE Birmingham 2022, an event that unofficially replaced the axed MCM Birmingham’s March fixture. How did this event hold up?
I have to start this article by discussing the general atmosphere. COVID seemed like a thing of the past with no COVID pass requirements to get into the con. You didn’t even need a negative lateral flow. This is in keeping with the lack of restrictions here in the UK. It is
however worth noting there was a lot of open space for people to move around in. The comic con wasn’t that big in attendance so people weren’t squashed together like you may find at any bigger event. This created a more relaxed environment which put folks at ease. The queueing system was pretty efficient for Priority/Weekend ticket holders like myself. There were reports of massive queues getting in on the standard ticket. As someone who struggles to stand up for long periods of time, I felt quite relieved I got in on an earlier ticket.
The event itself may not have been huge but it had plenty going on. There was a Steampunk Emporium in the middle of the con floor with a variety of super interesting items to look at and plenty of knowledgeable staff on hand to answer questions. There were many eclectic stalls selling a variety of items. It wasn’t just rows and rows of the same stuff at ridiculous prices: there were plenty of unique things to buy from independent vendors. There was an Iron Throne set up for paid pictures and nearby was the cosplay zone. There were also a small range of celebrity guests ranging from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to voice actor JB Blanc. The guests didn’t dwarf the event but they received plenty of attention. What helped the event a lot was its location within the NEC. It was in Hall 1, very close to a gorgeously versatile outdoor area perfect for photography and outdoor hanging out which was very appealing with the beautiful weather. All these factors combined made for a great comic con experience.
Of course this can’t be an article on Daily Cosplaynet without discussing cosplay. The aforementioned cosplay zone was run by Guild of Nerds, a cosplay group who run cosplay zones at comic cons across the country. They held a couple of talks and ran a repair station full of various items to repair your costume. The repair station is a brilliant aspect of any cosplay area and it’s good to see it adapted into more cosplay zones. It’s never fun when a cosplay falls apart but as you fix it up it’s a learning opportunity waiting to bloom.
Guild of Nerds also ran the cosplay masquerade. I admittedly missed the Saturday masquerade but I was motivated to watch the Sunday masquerade. I speak with some experience that masquerades, competitive or otherwise, are not easy to run and easy to screw up. You have to get people’s names and cosplays right, sort out music where applicable and ensure a smooth process all whilst herding many people on/off the stage. It’s a lot harder than it looks so I have to give props to Guild of Nerds for doing a pretty good job of it. What impressed me most were the cosplays themselves. There was a rich variety of entrants from a variety of sources. We were even treated to some wonderful performances ranging from dancing, singing, acting of a scene and sea shanties. It was a lot of fun to watch and demonstrates the multi-faceted talents cosplayers possess.
Would I go back to a MegaCon event? Absolutely! Do I recommend it to people? Yes. The relaxed atmosphere was perfect for both veterans and newbies.