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Report On: Toronto ComiCon 2015

People who remember the Toronto ComiCon from the days when it was nicknamed “M-TAC” can recall the tiny convention that was just for getting extra mileage from leftover costumes and getting two or three back-issue comics. A lot of people gave up on it and now miss out on how by March 20th, 2015 it’s grown to feel larger than FanExpo once was.

For the complete photo gallery from the event, check This Week In Geek’s Facebook Album. 100 photos!

One notable change to Informa’s continually refined convention system is that the exhibitor’s hall was on the outside of the convention’s pay wall. Before they’ve struggled to reduce external loitering but now they’ve accepted it and the frugal outsiders were welcome to see promotional tables from the Toronto X-Men and Canadian voice actors like the always energetic Megan Fahlenbock. But the real surprise of the neighbourhood was Spock Vegas, who used his inexplicable resemblance to the recently departed Leonard Nimoy to build a career at buskerfests and he’s now raising awareness for Epilepsy Canada.

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Cosplayers in the thousands with their props all verified by convention staff for safe mobility. There was a gaggle of Spider-men, the usual number of X-Men, and now that Homestuck has died out, it feels like the popular brand for this show was Legend Of Zelda, but one individual felt that being in-character as “Navi” made it her mission to be irritating, and convention staff really should have noticed this.

The name “ComiCon” is a bit of a misnomer, although the name reflects the culture of the convention, the biggest emphasis feels like it was placed on Television Sci-Fi. Many crowds of fans of the Canadian series “Orphan Black” and “Defiance” herded into panels The uncontested queen of the convention was Karen Gillan, known for her roles on the legendary Sci-Fi series Dr. Who and her role in last year’s surprise hit Guardians Of The Galaxy. Even though she missed much of the convention (arriving late Saturday) a legion of her fans were willing to wait for her.

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Other professional actors were there, perhaps the C and D-lists of the industry but A-list to their fans. Like Stargate’s Christopher Judge and anime veteran Mike MacFarlane (both cool dudes!). And if you want free Autographs, you can seek them across the dealer’s room where a range of professional comic artists paused from their current projects to work on commissions. Regrettably, G.I. Joe artist Robert Q Atkins was unable to make it due to personal reasons, but mythic G.I. Joe Larry Hama was in a better mood than usual.

The dealer’s room had all the regular items from conventions – back issues of comics, imports from Japan. Second hand toys and video-games. Things you might never find in a shopping mall, and some extreme exotica like the Skull Store selling actual animal craniums. And a few exhibitors were just happy to spread awareness of their projects, like D’n’DUI. So even without a wallet, it’s easy to have a good time just perusing and interacting.

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Hours after the convention hall closed for Saturday night, The Cybertronic Spree again claimed a stage, this time at the Hot Docs Cinema to first air Transformers: The Movie and then perform live renditions of most of the songs from the film while adorned in robot warrior attire. Like any good band, this time they added a few new songs to their playlist (like the theme from “Droids.”) The event should have had much better awareness to answer the people who felt the convention needed more excitement.

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On the whole it was another fun year for people willing to explore it – but it wasn’t the party package that Anime conventions are expected to be and it wasn’t very intimate. It wasn’t there as a favour to the fandom, it had a business model. But being in a world class city with hundreds of families that saw Guardians of the Galaxy, the business model works and can help a lot of nerds have a lot of fun.

-Michael Ryan, March 25th 2015

I have a bad camera, too bad!

About Michael S Ryan

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