Leave your hockey sticks and Curling Brooms at home and breakout your Overwatch cosplay best, because Toronto Comicon has returned to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Boasting 100,000 square feet of shopping madness, with over 400 exhibitors, panels, workshops, and great celebrity guests, Toronto Comicon has the makings to become a main stream Comic Con destination place.
Upon parking in the depths of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) parking facility I began my journey to the South buildings 800th level to secure my press credentials. Unwittingly, having parked under the North Building, I slowly discovered that I was in for a journey which included nine floors, seven escalators, and one elevator ride. The inhabitants of the MTCC slowly began to morph into Joker’s, Spider-men, Harley Quinn’s, Jedi’s, and the like I knew I was getting close.
As I descended the last escalator the excitement was palatable, I was barely able to glimpse the main floor as it was hid strategically behind the Toronto Comicon Exclusive kiosk. Their guests were able to buy Comicon exclusive merchandise like; Amazing Spider-Man #25, Wonder Woman #9 variant (Liam Sharp), Comicon t-shirt (too small for me), Comicon mug (fit me fine), Harley Quinn vinyl figure, and much more.
However, before I could consider those wares and secure my credentials I was captivated by all the organizations that were placed in the lobby. Before even entering the main hall you were able to mingle and meet with cosplayer celebrities such as; Holly Wolf, Elise Laurenne, Karli Woods (Geekin Gorgeous), and the cast of Youtube’s The Sean Ward Show. The Canadian Garrison of the 501st Legion was there in force, with Darth Vader, Royal Guardsmen, Stormtroopers, Tie-Fighter Pilots, and more Star Wars baddies interacting with guests and offering great photo ops. The lobby was rife with other organizations as well; The Doctor Who Society of Canada, Toronto Steampunk Society, and the Ontario Ghostbusters to name a few.
Upon securing my entrance I was awestruck by the attendance, I was immediately swept up into the current of fellow geeks seeking their various pop culture destinations. Shoulder-to-shoulder I waded my way through ten isles of Comic Con retail wonder as the offering from the vendors was fantastic, however the pricing was a bit heavy-handed. There were not many deals to be had but, you were sure to see or get something you could not typically get at your everyday shopping centers.
As I progressed towards the back of the Hall I discovered Artists Alley which housed over 200 artists. Of those artists Toronto Comicon secured Comic book Legends Trevor Von EEden (Co-creator of Black Lighting), Alex Saviuk (Web of Spider-man), Gerhard (Cerebus), and Tony Harris (Star Wars C3PO) who were on-site for signings and sketches. In true Comic Con style Toronto Comicon offered a great panel with these legends perfectly entitled, the Comics Legends Panel which allowed guests to pick the brains of these accomplished creators.
In typical Comic Con form Toronto Comicon was able to host the advertising efforts of two blockbuster films about to release this year. Representatives from Ghost in the Shell were handing out posters and patches and The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had a huge Power Ranger’s backdrop and each of the Ranger’s helmets were on display, they too were also handing out posters.
Toronto Comicon also hosted some fantastic Celebrity Guests. Kevin Sussman (Big Bang Theory), Ray Park (Star Wars), Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), Mick Foley (Wrestling Icon), and more were on hand for photo ops, selfies, and autographs. They had the celebrities in a row against the wall which allowed for great access for Con goers alike.
The volunteers were plentiful, there wasn’t a moment when I could not find a volunteer. The majority of the volunteers, sadly, were not familiar with anything more than their assignment. Most volunteers were not even familiar with the celebrities, artists, or pop culture vernacular necessary to be helpful in any way other than asking where the bathroom was.
Although Toronto Comicon offered some fantastic experiences, they never made any announcements. They only had one hall and could have made announcements about when celebrities were available or tell the masses of the great talks and panels that were about to take place. I did not partake in the food options from the concessions, the line was crazy. The line for food was consistently longer than most if not all the celebrity guests. To belabor that fact, the concession line formed parallel to the entrances of all the Celebrity guests which potentially discouraged fans from standing in line to meet their favorite celebrity.
With all of that said I had a great time at the Toronto Comicon. Meeting with the independent comic book creators, interacting with and taking pictures of all the awesome cosplayers, and just being surrounded by like-minded people was a blast. Great job Toronto Comicon, I look forward to next year. I give my overall experience at Toronto Comicon 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars.