Comicon Toronto - FanExpo Canada - Metro Toronto Convention Centre - March 10-11th, 2012

Photos and Review by Darren Eagles

Comicon Toronto, presented by FanExpo Canada, held its first event of the year in Toronto this past weekend.  It was this writer’s first foray into the world of a Comicon convention and I must say it was quite an experience.  It goes without saying that many people who frequent these types of events take them very seriously.  Cosplay was out in full force this weekend.  This is the act of dressing as their favourite superhero, anime character, or other alter-ego.  From Ghostbusters, Batman, Lara Croft and The Joker, to horror comic characters, Star Trek personnel, Japanese anime girls, and almost all members of the STARWARS franchises as well as everything in-between, this was quite the gathering.  Full sized remote control R2-D2 models were seen whizzing around the venue and stopping for “photo-ops” with their devoted fans.  And everyone who was dressed up was more than willing to stop and strike a pose for the camera.  It was one of the friendliest events I’ve had the pleasure of attending. 

Included was a bustling vendor space where all manner of comic, anime, artwork, and the corresponding truckloads of merchandise were all on sale.  From vintage STARWARS trinkets out of their original boxes and lumped together in bargain bins, to original hand drawn vintage comic artwork worth thousands of dollars, all price levels were covered….. a event-goer’s shopping bags were filled to capacity. 

While all of this in itself was a lot to take in, the real draws of these types of conventions are film and television stars that are in attendance, as well as an army of artists on hand to show off their wares.  These conventions have traditionally been great opportunities to attend Q&A sessions, get autographs, have photos taken, and generally interact in very close quarters with the heroes fans have grown up with and have come to love.  Star Trek The Next Generation and Breaking Bad actor John DeLancie drew large crowds at all levels of his visit.  His Q&A sessions were standing room only and he was gracious, patiently answering all sorts of fan questions spanning his whole career.  Interestingly, his story about his teenage years living with dyslexia, yet rising to the challenge and embracing Shakespearean theatre was quite uplifting.  

Other characters like STARWARS “Chewbacca”, Peter Mayhew, Celebrity Apprentice and Relic Hunter’s Tia Carrere, Star Trek Voyager’s Robert Picardo, Revenge of the Nerd’s Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine, Terminator II’s Edward Furlong, Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Charisma Carpenter, Babylon 5’s Bruce Boxleitner, Terminator III’s Kristanna Loken and Smallville’s Aaron Ashmore had the fans lining up for all their points of contact.

There was also a tournament gaming area for card-based games like Magic The Gathering.  Throughout the weekend this was a bustling area where gamers went head to head for the chance to win cash and prizes. 

Artist’s Alley was allocated a full third of the event floor, where artists of every caliber were on hand for drawing demonstrations, small commission works, and offering their books, prints and original works to the fans that swarmed the areas in front of their tables, standing shoulder to shoulder with high hopes of seeing their favourite artist performing their magic.  It was quite impressive to watch up close as these masters worked their piece and brought them to life on the page.
There are a few of these conventions in Toronto each year.  The next one presented by FanExpo Canada will take place on August 23-26, 2012 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  It is the larger of the two conventions offering more exhibits, more high profile stars, and a more in depth fan experience.