MCM’s odyssey began – appropriately enough – in 2001, when Bryan Cooney (Wolf Events) and Paul Miley (Sci Fi Shows) got together to plan a large-scale collector’s show in London along the lines of the established Memorabilia shows at Birmingham’s NEC. A year later, in May 2002, London Expo opened its doors at the new ExCeL centre in London Docklands.
The next few years saw London Expo grow and flourish. In 2003, the show expanded to be twice yearly, taking place in May and October; in 2004, it rebranded as London MCM Expo – the ‘MCM’ standing for ‘Movies, Comics, Media’; and in 2005, we took the first steps that would transform it from a collectors’ and autograph event into a US-style comic con, with the addition of dedicated comics, anime and videogame areas plus film and TV content.
In 2007, the first MCM Comic Con outside the capital was born, with Telford’s International Centre playing host to the MCM Midlands Expo. A year later, the newly-founded MCM Expo Group further expanded into the Midlands market by acquiring NEC Birmingham’s Memorabilia show from Expo Management.
In 2010, the flagship London show not only ran over three days for the first time and hosted the inaugural EuroCosplay Championships, but also rebranded as ‘Comic Con’ – the culmination of our plan to create a UK event in the mould of San Diego and New York.
2011 and 2012 saw MCM spread its wings again, launching the MCM Manchester Comic Con at Manchester Central; co-locating MCM Birmingham Comic Con with Memorabilia; and moving into publishing with the acquisition of entertainment magazine MyM. MCM London Comic Con also continued to thrive, blasting past the 60,000 visitor mark.
MCM launched even more new shows in 2013 and 2014, first heading north of the border with MCM Scotland Comic Con at Glasgow’s SECC, whose 20,000 visitors made it the largest comic convention the country had ever seen, and then across the Irish Sea for MCM Ireland Comic Con at Dublin’s RDS and MCM Belfast Comic Con at Kings Hall.
2014 also marked MCM’s first foray into mainland Europe, teaming up with Artexis to create Comic Con Stockholm, as well as the expansion of both Scotland and Manchester Comic Cons to cover the whole weekend. Meanwhile, attendance at MCM London Comic Con soared ever upwards, with visitor numbers at the May and October shows each topping 100,000 for the first time.
2015 confirmed that MCM London Comic Con’s meteoric rise the year before was no fluke, as over 130,000 sci-fi fans, gamers and cosplayers flocked to the ExCeL event – cementing its position as Britain’s leading pop culture festival and making it the third largest comic con in the world. Our overseas expansion also maintained momentum, when we teamed up with Game Stop to launch a second Swedish show, Comic Con Malmö.
2016 saw MCM continue to expand at home and abroad with the launch of MCM Liverpool Comic Con at the new Exhibition Centre Liverpool; MCM Hannover Comic Con at Deutsche Messe and – in another collaboration with Game Stop – Comic Con Copenhagen at the city’s Bella Centre. MCM also acquired Summer in the City, the UK’s leading YouTube festival, while Belfast Comic Con moved to the larger Eikon Exhibition Centre, rebranding as MCM Northern Ireland Comic Con. Re-naming
was also on the cards for MCM as a whole with the company adopting ‘MCM Central’ as its new core brand.
The London May 2016 show had a record breaking attendance of over 133,000 visitors with exhibitors over the year including Amazon UK, Sony, Warner Bros, and Universal.
In the future, MCM looks to develop and expand our modern pop culture portfolio, as well as some other incredibly exciting opportunities.