posted by @HeyItsKamo
Have you ever been so surprised and overwhelmed by something that you didn’t know what to do? Like, you had to just stand there and try and think of where to even begin when trying to comprehend what you were seeing?
My birthday was last week, so as a gift to myself I bought two tickets to the Toronto Comic Convention. I dragged my girlfriend along, and while she isn’t a very big fan of comic books/toys/collectibles like I am, she IS a pretty big fan of me, so she agreed to go. Plus I bought her breakfast and lunch so it was totally worth it for her.
I’ve been to comic book events in the past, from local shows at Legion halls, to small scale Cons (the Buffalo Comic-Con was a surprisingly fun time), but nothing prepared me for this event. It was incredible. Every single possible stereotype, rumor, expectation, cliché, whatever you want to call it…it was there. And it was amazing.
From the booths overflowing with long boxes full of cheap comics to the high priced single issues kept under bulletproof glass, they were all there. The t-shirts with superhero logos plastered on the front, hooded sweatshirts with (somewhat) clever puns, fuzzy bathrobes complete with the Starfleet insignia on the left breast, Tardis beach towels…they were there too. Full length body pillows with anime characters, plush dolls from Pokémon to Transformers, and helmets and swords were all up for grabs.
The Cosplay ranged from the half-assed to the extreme. Women dressed like their favorite sexy Batman villains -personally, I was a *points to crotch* “big fan” of the Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn costumes, but there was a female Mr. Freeze which was a bit confusing on more than one level- Princess Leia, Aeris from Final Fantasy, and other random comic/video game/film characters were out in spades- I’d like to add that not all of them were sexy. At the other end of the spectrum, I saw guys dressed like Ghostbusters, Stormtroopers, Halo Spartans of all colors, Deadpool, Batman, Dr. Evil, random Jedi, Finn and Jake, and Trekkies of all sizes. Intricate Zoids costumes stole the show for me, but there was an incredibly detailed Batman walking the floor, who I overhead say was 6’10” tall- dude was knee deep in convention-goers trying to get a picture. And of course there was no shortage of the good Doctor.
In fact, this show didn’t have a shortage of anything Doctor Who related. It had a LOT of Dr. Who. Too much Dr. Who? Or not enough Dr. Who?
Then came the toys, collectibles, posters, bobble heads (Game of Thrones!), Mighty Muggs, original art work, Steampunk jewelry, cat ear headbands, anime and manga (this show was Otaku heaven), buttons, and unbelievably random celebrity sightings and picture ops. The 501st Legion, Canada’s premiere Imperial Star Wars cosplay group was on hand, in character, and ready to take pictures with Con-goers against various backdrops- Tatooine was the most popular among the fans. The Dr. Who Society of Canada was another fan favorite, mostly because you could take pictures with the full-sized Dalek replicas they brought along (I could’t resist getting one myself) and were more than happy to discuss the show with eager fans. Various Steampunk groups had tables, as did the Ontario Ghostbusters, a ‘busters fan group that had tons of replicas from the movies for people to goof around with and snap pictures of.
Of course celebrities were on hand, including Sean Astin (Rudy, The Goonies, Lord of the Rings), Laura Vandervoort (Supergirl on Smallville and all around attractive blonde actress), Daniel Logan (Boba Fett from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones), and the ENTIRE GOTT DANG LEADING CAST of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Seriously, everyone was there: Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, and Brent Spiner. The lines to meet these actors and actress were packed, so the best I could do was yell “RUUUDDDYYYYY!” and hope Astin heard me.
The most impressive thing to me at this convention, besides the intense armpit smell that was prominent throughout the room, was the section of the show known as Artists Alley. That’s not to say I didn’t spend my fair share of time digging through boxes of comics (sorry, Ash), but this section blew me away. If you’ve never been to a Comic-Con, this region of the floor is a series of rows filled with artists selling their, well, art. I could have spent all my money in just this area, the works were that impressive and desirable. Custom made jewelry ranging from comic book panel earrings to intricate Steampunk clock necklaces, water portraits of the characters of Clone High, perler bead crafts of Super Mario characters, and self-made comic books are just a taste of what artists had to offer. Paintings, sketches, graphic designs, and random prints littered the aisles- what do I buy first? Should I take a look at the vintage looking Wolfman movie poster, or the Heath Ledger/Joker sketch?
My first purchase ended up being a small, independent book that was actually a collection of comics- Horror in the West. Every comic in this book combined two of my favorite things- Westerns and Zombies. Next stop was a booth just over in the next row selling Steampunk and faux antique jewelry- Ash couldn’t resist and I have to admit the stuff she bought was really cool. Something else caught my eye, and I ended up walking away with a few “Standees”, which are foam cut-out stands that are drawn to look like various cartoon characters. The uniqueness of the collectibles grabbed my attention, but when I saw the ReBoot characters and Lumpy Space Princess magnet…they had my money before I knew what even happened.
One of the most interesting (and also popular/crowded) booths at the show was the table selling Blockhead characters. Basically, this guy named Aaron Goulborn designs these paper (not quite cardboard but still pretty heavy) characters that are almost like bobble heads- the best way to describe them is, “they’re paper Mighty Muggs.” Each character is unique, with only 144 of each being made. And every single one of them is awesome. He had so many different characters, from video games (Kratos, Minecraft), to cartoons (The Simpsons, to television shows (Sons of Anarchy, Dexter, Big Bang Theory), and just random characters. It was a great idea and he probably made a killing.
Another unexpected sight at the Convention was a booth that specialized in tattoos- seriously, is this a common thing at these events? Either way, the table was packed with on-lookers as a brave soul sat down for an ink session. The subject matter of that tat? Boba Fett, of course!
Exhausted and still overwhelmed, but more than satisfied, we left the show with a treasure of items. From my newly acquired Alf comics, to the Creature bobble-head, I left Canada a happy boy and eagerly await the next Fan Expo in August.
Next time I hope to be more prepared…and maybe I’ll dress up like the Doctor, too.
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