For many years now, Toronto Comic Con as been viewed as the younger sibling to its now very big brother, Fan Expo. Indeed, Fan Expo is growing at a rate that has it competing, at least in sheer size, with the likes of San Diego and New York Comic Cons. However along the way Toronto Comic Con, now held every March, has expanded into a three day event that has allowed it to slowly emerge from the rather large shadow cast over the city by Fan Expo.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is how wonderfully organized this event was. While there were still lineups to get in and for certain autograph signings, photo ops and celebrity Q & A panels, it was all very low key and low stress. Lines at a convention are to be expected but sometimes they are much too long The volunteers were very helpful and events like this always have moments where things go off the rails, being so well organized helped keep everything relatively on schedule and moving at a good pace.
Speaking of going off the rails, I need to talk about the almost disaster involving Karen Gillan.
Last year at Fan Expo, she was forced to cancel and then thankfully, they were able to bring her in to the March show. However, Friday night the news came down from Karen herself via Twitter that she was working all through the night and would have to cancel coming to Toronto yet again. However, just as tempers flared and accusations went into overdrive, the people behind the scenes at Toronto Comic Con, and Gillan herself, worked out a solution that saw her arrive here for a few hours Sat and then also spend some time at the convention on Sunday. This was a great save by the guest and staff alike and a lot of credit should go to them for somehow making this happen for the fans. Gillan was just one of many celebrities appearing over the three days and I have to say, in all my years going to conventions this might have been the happiest and most fan friendly collection of guests I have ever seen.
Another big hit with the fans was Artist Alley, where a lot of the comic talent gathers. The writers and the artists both seemed to have a great time talking fans, signing copies of comics (for free) and even doing some personalized work for fans as well. This is great to see because with comics making such a huge comeback these days, it would be easy to see some egos getting inflated but these men and woman seem very grounded and very appreciative of their fans and enjoy spending time chatting with them at conventions about their artwork or the stories they write.
It was also pretty easy to move around the convention and while it was held exclusively in the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Center, fans were allowed to move back and for the between both the North and South buildings, allowing for less fan congestion and more smiling faces. Cosplayers also took advantage of this by leaving the South building on many occasions to do both planned and impromptu gatherings and photo shoots. As always, some of the work people put into their outfits is just amazing.
Without a doubt, this year’s Toronto Comic Con was a runaway success and let’s hope they continue to apply what they did this year to the conventions in years ahead.
[Images via VeryFrankPictures and Chris Borges]