The Road to London Expo: Shopping in the (comic) Village

Ever looked at a price tag with the words ‘SALE’, ‘WAS (insert ludicrous £price)’ and ‘NOW (insert reasonable £price) emblazoned across it in bright red and thought, ‘No, there’s no way it could have been that price before…’?  It happens almost every time you walk into a shop on the high street right?  Well you can prepare yourself to experience it all again at this Expo weekend, only this time the sales are very real, and dangerously tempting!  You’ll want to have your battle plan ready if you want to take full advantage of what’s on offer, so here’s how to save for what you crave.

Before The Expo

Train tickets, entry tickets, party tickets, parking tickets…it all tots up pretty quickly and you haven’t even got to the Expo yet.  Do yourself a favour this week, be penny wise now so you can be pound foolish later!  Pack your lunch and skip your morning Starbucks caffeine hit.  Still under 25? Get yourself a ‘Young Person’s Railcard‘ before you travel and save 1/3 on your train fare.  ‘Pair’ your YP Railcard with your oyster card and it automatically lowers your maximum daily cost of tube travel too!

Then, feeling tired and perhaps a little bit malnourished, check out the MCM Expo website to see if the official booklet has gone online yet.  This is where you’ll find a number of adverts from new and more well established sellers who will be at the expo.  A particularly good example for anime fans each year is the Manga Entertainment stand who have DVD’s for £1 and box sets for a fiver! Manga fans will find similar expo-exclusive deals at the Viz Media stand.

If you’re planning to shop around the Comic Village you might want to check out the personal websites of the artists who will be attending on the official listing.  Many comickers announce what you can look forward to on their blogs such as t-shirts, badges, prints and even the ability to commission a sketch in advance of the show!

At The Expo

Finally!  You’ve arrived at the Expo!  Time to rush to the stalls and grab all the hot deals before anyone else right? Well, almost.  Unless you brought a sufficient funds with you on the London Undergound, you’ll need to stock up on cash at the atm, and getting through the long queues that build up can take up to 30 minutes to get through.  Don’t carry unreasonable amounts of money with you, but do withdraw your cash early to avoid disappointment at the booth with the exclusively one of kind figurine that you need to complete your collection.

Then the Expo is your oyster!  There’s shops selling Yu-Gi-Oh cards, video games, special edition soundtrack cds, bags, flags, dolls, dakimakura (hugging pillows), nekomimi, DVDs, posters, magazines, books…the list goes on.  You might even want to grab your favourite ‘yaoi’ comics before Amazon bans it all.

Then there’s the free stuff.  Apart from hugs (still free), you’ll be pleased to know that Letra Set is still running the drawing competition for a chance to win £111.59 worth of pens, screentone and much more.  Sweatdrop Studios won’t be running the event like before but will still be around for comic goodies and help with enquiries. Letra Set often has special Expo exclusive deals if you’re in need of funky markers too.

nattherat comics and cardsThen there’s the bargains and there’s no better place than the Comic Village.  If you haven’t been down the lanes before, you might be surprised to discover there’s a whole lot more than comics on sale!  Many of the artists attending make their work available free online for your reading pleasure and to bring in a little cash, they show up at the Expo with goodies!  You might want to pick up one of Marc Ellerby’s funky t-shirts, or a cute bitbot toy.  Sometimes artists show up with special artwork like this series of prints drawn bits of cardboard.

Of course, you couldn’t call it a ‘Comic’ Village without some comics and of course there will be plenty of those!  In general you’ll find that artists keep the prices insanely low in order to get their comics out there so take advantage of it!  With 10 artists from Sweatdrop Studios you’re spoiled for choice at their stand as always.  There’s plenty of exciting newcomers like nattherat who’s bringing ‘Those of No Class‘ and then others who are celebrating their 1st birthday like the manga and japanese culture magazine non-repro.

Whether you’re looking for imported goods or fun little toys from your favourite comics, you’re likely to find it at the Expo this weekend, just remember to get there early if you want the limited edition stuff!  Some artists only print a single run of certain publications so get ’em while they’re hot of the press.

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