There’s always that moment when I find the soul of a specific convention, we look into one another’s eyes, recognize one another, and embrace. This year, it was slipping into the comfortable shoes of beloved fandoms, and seeing shared passions bringing people together.
Set against the backdrop of the Metro Toronto Convention Center’s South Building, it was a thing of wonder to see so many people coming together, not for that one elusive issue, or that one must-have tchotchke but to applaud, celebrate and applaud the cornucopia of cosplayers who change their passion into costume, and bring beloved (and occasionally feared characters to life).
It’s interesting watching the people clamor around people dressed as their favorite characters, posing with them, and commenting on the love and attention they have given to their look. The spaces off the convention floor were the place to be this year, watching anime characters from Attack on Titan through to Dragonball Z from Star Wars to Batman, there was a wonderful cross section of geekery (though surprisingly fewer Deadpools than in past years, but we noticed a definite uptick in Spider-man(men)).
Set against a backdrop of nostalgic guests, from Ron Perlman to John De Lancie, from Emma Caufield to John Rhys-Davies, the convention this year seemed to want to embrace its own remembrance of nostalgia. There was a proliferation of Knight Rider gear, seemingly everywhere, the 501st made a welcome return, the Ontario Ghostbusters had staked out their spot, and The Toys That Made Us had, undeniably the best booth on hand, filled with retro treasures that sparked joy, and fired imagination.
And this year, Comic Con recognized that they have younger fans as well, and introduced their brilliant, and really fun Family Zone (if you could see it around Jabba the Hutt, who had staked out a large space at the end of the hall… Here kids could take part in a game of quidditch, socialize, and learn social skills through board games and art, meet Disney Princesses, win prizes, or duel out their aggression thanks to the folk from Medieval Times.
Artist Alley was packed as always, and I was delighted to come across a friend of mine, and his compatriots representing the Royal Academy of Illustration and Design, RAID for short. Filled with colorful designs, arresting images, and some truly stellar artwork, Artist Alley always proves to be a joy to navigate.
And you can meet some interesting people, as you come across cosplayers who are supporting the artists, and looking for a unique collectible, even while posing for pictures with people who can’t help but stop them – a fella dressed as Freddie Mercury made my day!
The diversity of fandom, and the inclusivity of it was on full display this weekend, as all genres were on hand, and the hullabaloo of joy around it, made for a fun time.
In fact, despite the crowds, Comic Con felt like a safe space for everyone this year, and it seemed to me, at least, that people were walking around with a sense of delight, and excitement, never knowing who or what would be around the next corner, the next booth, the next queue.
And while exciting guests and booths mater, as they form the physical core around which the convention is formed, the essence and heart of it is the discovery of shared fandoms and passions, and discovery of new ones. And that heart was beating proud and strong, and worn on sleeves this weekend.
And The Mind Reels team did the same. See you next time!