A couple of days ago brought the news that MCM, the group behind the Comic Cons and expos in the UK, were going to expand over here in Ireland, in the RDS next April. While I’m not completely adverse to them holding an expo over here, I do have to wonder what effect their presence will have on the Irish convention community.
It’s biggest effect will probably be on Anime Dublin, since AD was created to attempt to fill the void that was in the Irish con scene around April time. I’ve already heard from a few people that they would skip AD to go to MCM, even if they were a couple of weeks apart.
There may also be a slight effect on the other events in the months surrounding. Gas Con in DIT might escape the influence, being at the start of March; but the newly created Kaizoku Con in UCC at the end of March might take a hit, if people decide to skip going there to save up for a trip to Dublin. Aka-con I believe is far enough away (end of May) to not be affected.
Comparisons to the recent Dublin Comic Con will be inevitable. It remains to be seen just how different the two events will be, although MCM do have experience on their side. There are rumours that they decided to enter this year after seeing the huge attendance figures at DCC...
I do hope that the folks organising the MCM Comic Con Ireland will liaise with the rest of the Irish conventions to ensure that there’s no toe-stepping. The last thing we want is to see large groups/corporations muscle their way into a country and kill off it’s own thriving scene, just to see the monetary profit.
UPDATE (12th Sep) – MCM have just tweeted that they will also be holding a Comic Con in Belfast on the 7th-8th of June next year. This rapid expansion into Ireland, while it could be considered good for the convention scene as a whole, it seriously putting pressure on the native convention scene as run by independent people/groups.
The Belfast weekend takes place the weekend immediately after Aka-con, which depending on the intentions of it’s attendees, could put even more pressure on an event which already had rather mediocre reports from it’s first year; it’s also only a couple weeks before Q-Con, where you will likely find the most grumblings, particularly if the presence of MCM negatively affects the attendance of Q-Con, which itself saw a rather large spike this year. Yes, Q-Con does have it’s roots as a gaming convention, but the increasing presence of anime and comics, as has been seen over the past few years, could potentially be in jeopardy.
I really hope the MCM group know what the hell they’re doing...