So the news just broke that MCM is calling time on its shows in Telford, Northern Ireland and Liverpool, following the group’s takeover by events company Reed POP.
Reed POP is the group behind big events like PAX, Twitch Con, New York Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration – all massive, prolific events with huge worldwide recognition.
So while comic creators and vendors like yours truly are waiting to see how Reed’s takeover will benefit the MCM roster of events, I don’t think the first thing we expected to see was a round of event closures.
That goes double for the Belfast and Liverpool shows – which I’m told were profitable, well run, enjoyable events for many vendors I know across the UK. (I’ve heard less favourable reviews of the Telford shows but some people still really enjoyed it)
The question many are asking today is – what impact will these closures have on the UK vendor and events circuit at large, and how will this downscaling benefit the remaining MCM shows in the long term?
The answer, simply, is that we don’t know. Speculation is natural when events like MCM get a big shake up, but is impossible to know why exactly Telford, Liverpool and Belfast were placed on the block.
As some have speculated on social platforms, this could be a financial exercise – a way of diverting funds to bolstering the remaining shows with bigger guests, more things to do and more marketing.
Will this benefit trickle down to the indie comic creators? – the MCM pessimist would say no, and that we’ll all get overshadowed by the TV and Movie guests/stalls.
But as with all things MCM, I’m optimistic. I do very well at their shows and have never had a bad experience. Perhaps I’m lucky, and of course I can only talk about what I’ve experienced over the years. But based on trader emails coming from MCM, and after attending Glasgow and London, it seems they genuinely want to help indies thrive there.
And I’m hopeful that additional funds will help bolster the Comics Village further. How? I’m not sure yet, but I like to give the benefit of the doubt until convinced otherwise.
As to the shows that got cut – it is undeniably a shame, but I suspect (and this is pure speculation) that, for the organisers, those were the least financially profitable shows of the year. House cleaning and cost cutting after a takeover is inevitable, and it’s necessary to make improvements in the long term.
So never say never, basically. I’d like to think the cancelled shows will return one day in a new and improved format, after MCM and Reed POP have got their head straight on the remaining shows.
It sucks for the local fans, and particularly vendors, whose businesses now have a financial gap thanks to those shows being deleted from their schedule. I hope no one is too severely impacted by this.
To everyone else: chin up, let’s see where this goes and cross fingers that community wants and the needs of the indie circuit outweigh corporate interests in the long term.
Agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment below