Niagara Falls Comic Con 2012 was enormous and the crowd seemed to love it as much as those of us in attendance.
More than 5000 people descended on the Scotiabank Convention Centre and many of them had pulled costumes off the rack, made something by hand to wear, or slipped into a phone booth along the way to show their true colours during this special occasion.
It is strange for me as a guy who fell in love with the characters and craft of making comics, to see an event like this draw in 3 and 4 generations of families to celebrate together the bigger than life characters that entertain and inspire them.
Over the past decade or more, film and TV producers have managed to find the right projects and approach them with a respectful treatment and that has caused TV and movie audiences to embrace this version of the same characters that I first fell in love with on the printed page all those many years ago.
On Saturday, I looked out over the sea of smiling faces and there were dozens of Captain Americas and Batmen amidst Predators, Stormtroopers, droids and a fine version of Dr. Evil.
Events like this encourage the fans to have fun and engage in the mythos of the characters they love while providing an opportunity to meet the celebrities who play those parts on the screen as well as the artists who bring the pages to life in their favourite comics.
Celebrity guests included stars of TV and film including Burt Ward (Robin), Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voayager), Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead), and a who’s who of the biggest names in professional wrestling. There was a chance to see the DeLorean (Back to the Future) and the Batmobile, a convention-within-the-convention devoted to horror movies, an opportunity for kids to interact with droids and specialty vendors for those looking for a rare collector’s item along the way.
I was fortunate enough to co-host a panel on careers in comics with the amazing Ty Templeton (writer & artist of books like Batman and Spiderman) and we had a room filled with curious comic fans who were intrigued by the prospect of cartooning for a living.
The organizers of this event, Paul Tappay and Christoper Dabrowski have every reason to be proud of their success and are already discussing a longer (2 day) event with twice the floor space for next year!
Whatever the plan for next year, I am confident in saying that pop culture fans have embraced the idea of having their own comic book convention here in Niagara and it looks to be successful for a long time.