Last year’s Hammer Town Comic Con was a first rate convention with not enough people to appreciate it. This year’s convention had the world out, some for the guests, some for the deals, some for the spectacle. Now the name has been renamed to the more technical “Hamilton Comic Con” which is a less exciting title but avoids confusion with Hammertown Ontario. But the excitement that has been lost from the name has gone into the experience.
There were plentiful dealer’s selling comics, comic merchandise, and general memorabilia. Because you’re buying from vendors and not retail storefronts, haggling is often a option on old issues of Wrestling magazines. There were also a supply of regular Toronto artists doing sketches commissions. The amateurs pitch their books to people walking by, the professionals are too busy working on their material. And the small horror corner was an entertaining reminder of how horror can be campy and fun.
Once you’ve walked past the guests, you’ll come to large number of former Professional Wrestlers (although the favourite was clearly “Mean Gene”) and three former Power Rangers from when the show was at it’s peak. Their Q&A was entertaining, but while Austin St. John had the biggest role on the show and is a fan-favourite, it was Walter Emanuel Jones who had the most stage charisma. And despite being 81, Julie Newmar has only gotten more attractive as she’s aged (comparatively), while 62 year old Lou Ferrigno has stopped ageing altogether. It was a good mix of guests who were great to see. Although all of them are either no longer involved in their memorable roles, thankfully convention attendees never forget the best days when Ken Osmond was the coolest guy on television.
Like any fandom convention worth attending, a big draw was just the chance to see cosplayers. All manner of costumes at every level of design was there. They were all willing to stand and have their photos taken, even if there wasn’t enough room for photography.It might not compare to the cosplay at an anime convention, but many of the outfits were still showing competitive dedication. Because the con had less of a suffocation factor than Fan Expo, a few families were there showing off adorable group costumes.
For tag-able versions of all these images and many more, check out This Week In Geek’s Facebook Gallery for the event.
The Hamilton Comic-Con drew more attendees than last year, so occasionally the flow of traffic became a bit tight, but rarely un-navigatable. Putting the main events stage in the same room as dealer’s never works at any convention and means people need to shout their purchases but at least the costume contest had some much-needed elevation. There could have been a few more panels to kill time (almost any of the guests or exhibitors could have hosted one).
In terms of multi-genre appeal that doesn’t skew towards Anime or YouTube culture, the Hamilton Comic-Con is a solid alternative to Fan Expo for people (still) too angry at Fan Expo’s organizers for their December and March conventions, and that’s very impressive for a second year convention. It’s the kind of event that’s helping bring people to see that Hamilton doesn’t smell bad any more.
–Michael Ryan, October 8th 2014
Special shout out to my Co-worker Laurie who I was able to share the adventure with.