October 29, 2019
With thousands of diehard fans and pop-culture consumers landing at ExCeL London last weekend, MCM Comic Con returned to bring the latest in collectibles, gaming, toys, TV and comics to attendees. License Global looks at some of the trends from the show floor.
Welcome to the Funkoverse
Funko was a major presence at London Comic Con 2019. Outside of most stands selling rare editions and new launches of the POP! SKUs, Funko’s own dedicated ‘Limited-Edition’ retail space brought a carefully designed store experience exclusively to fans at Comic Con.
“It’s exciting to see everything coming together at Comic Con,” says Alex McIntyre, social media manager, Funko. “Not just our Limited Editions but our other ranges. We have expanded the Funko brand, so we have our Loungefly bags here, advent calendars, POP tees, which are really popular, so it’s nice to see it growing.”
Funko hosted not one, but two focal spaces at the show with a dedicated booth for the launch of its first strategy board game, “Funkoverse.”
“This is the first time we’ve had a Funko games stand, which is really exciting,” says McIntyre. “Funkoverse, our new strategy board game, launched in Europe at the start of October, and we have a lot of different versions planned for next year. Right now, we have DC, ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Rick and Morty’ and ‘Golden Girls,’ and the best part is you can play them together.”
With a “Back to the Future” edition already teased, the Funkoverse game gathered players across the weekend, and with consistent lines for the Limited-Edition retail experience, Funko has proven its own rule that everyone really is a fan of something.
Gaming Blockbusters Get the Preview Treatment
Another key attraction at the show came from the new and upcoming gaming titles being screened and demoed on the PlayStation stand. Attracting thousands of players who came in search of a firsthand look at upcoming titles, new games available included “Final Fantasy VII,” “Death Stranding,” “Predator: Hunting Grounds,” “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and “Medieval.” This giant activation, which offered rows of consoles for different titles, dedicated preview rooms with lines of up to 45 minutes and live tournaments, put PlayStation on the level of headline exhibitor at MCM Comic Con.
Bandai Namco also offered previews for fans with hands-on experiences with “Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot” and drew lines of fans to a giant screening area dedicated to “Cyberpunk 2077,” offering an exclusive look at CD Projekt Red’s latest gaming blockbuster.
TV Previews Bring the Buzz
The build-up of a major movie or new streaming series is building more and more of a following with fans, as on-demand shows challenge the box office and fans obsess over what’s to come.
The headline TV previews on display at the show included STARZPLAY’s “Pennyworth,” Netflix’s “The Witcher,” Apple TV’s “See” with Jason Momoa and Channel 4’s “The End of the F***ing World.” Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” took to the preview area with a dedicated photo opportunity and store, hinting at the new series in the works.
Manga and anime were no exception to the rule, with presenter Jonathan Ross taking to the main stage on Friday to introduce a new Crunchyroll premiere of two new series.
In comparison, the movie previews of “Doctor Sleep” and “Birds of Prey: The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” – while offering exclusive photo opportunities and preview activations – were dwarfed by the upcoming TV shows on display.
A New Kind of Star Power
The signing areas, photo-op lines and panels were the crowning attraction for fans, bringing huge names such as Simon Pegg, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Jaeden Martell and Jason Momoa to the forefront. However, Comic Con also cemented the position of a new cultural icon, the voiceover artist.
Iconic game and animation voice talents including Nolan North, Troy Baker, Tara Strong, Roger Clark, Bryan Dechart and Charles Martinet generated huge queues of fans looking to speak with the people behind today’s most-loved digital characters.
From Esports to Quidditch
It’s no new trend that esports is a rapidly growing industry, and a huge attraction was the esports stage. Hosting live tournaments of “Player Unknown’s Battle Ground” throughout the day, swarms of fans took to the Allied Esports truck to prove that the “rising esports industry” is now a new normal for consumer culture everywhere.
Fans are looking to engage with the properties they love in so many different ways, from watching games to playing the games found in the books and movies we love. Adding to this, a new player emerged at the show straight from the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Quidditch, the broomstick-centric sport from the Harry Potter universe has come to life
Fan Experiences Add to the Kidult Trend
From the experience of cosplay and buying a line of licensed accessories (from movie weapons to Stormtrooper armor) on the show floor to taking a photo in Rick Sanchez’s garage or in “The Shining’s” iconic corridor, the fan experience at Comic Con was what drove crowds crazy.
Getting tattoos at the “Birds of Prey” stand, plunging a sword into the Witcher’s worst enemies and hanging out with Predators at the PlayStation stand, the Instagram movement has only intensified the fan-driven opportunities to be a part of the worlds fans love so well.
Comics are at the source of some of the most popular movies, games and TV shows of all time, but with the comic book world taking a slight back step at the show, fandom is reflecting that.
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