The 2016 Toronto ComiCon

After a weekend of hunting for comics, the crew at GeekPortal are back from the 2016 Toronto ComicCon! We had a fantastic time meeting artists and vendors, and taking in all things geek. Here’s our lowdown on the good, the bad and the ugly.

The event had many great features that made it worth attending. The ticket prices were affordable with day passes ranging between $20-$30. The event wasn’t as busy compared to larger fan expos, so we were able to visit the exhibitors, and even have discussions with them without feeling overcrowded. Most of the areas had a good flow of traffic, and we didn’t encounter many long lines. Artist Alley was a particular favourite of ours because of the diverse selection and high quality of talent among illustrators and craft booths alike. The general consensus among the artists and vendors that we spoke with was that they were happy with the event’s turnout.  Many of the guest illustrators were also extremely happy, and some of our favourite moments were taking the time to speak one on one with the artists and creators that draw our favourite characters, like Deadpool and The Punisher.

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Luke Henderson, Toronto-based writer behind the apocalyptic comic, Our War

When we arrived at the venue, the entrance setup was awkward. Rather than finding the ticket booths at the front, we were herded around exhibitors until we arrived at a large separate room for tickets. Upon gaining entry, we walked through the retailer area to find many of the vendors carried the same types of products such as Pop! Vinyls, graphic shirts and plastic comic bust piggybanks.

Another downside was the significant price variation between comic vendors. A few shops were overpriced and didn’t take into consideration the comic’s grade or rarity. Also, food selection was limited and expensive. We were glad we brought our own snacks and drinks because the long lines in the cafeteria area didn’t look to much fun to stand in.

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Ontario Chapter of the Horrors Writers Association (HWA) - a nonprofit dedicated to promoting dark literature and those who write it.

Although Artist Alley was a main highlight for us, it was more congested than the rest of the ComiCon areas. The pathways were narrow, often causing attendees to become jammed. Vendors in this area expressed similar frustrations of feeling cramped behind their booths.

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Jen Giammarco, Owner of SparkleGirl Blog & Shop

Unlike FanExpo, there was not as much cosplay at Toronto ComiCon. While the event hosted cosplay guests, panels and Q & As, some cosplayers mentioned to us that this is not the type of venue for cosplay. We have also noticed that in recent years there has been a shift from focusing on comics, to a more general feel of a con, like FanExpo (all encompassing geekdom). Curious to see if this continues, as there seemed to be less comic book vendors there than in previous years.

In conclusion, the Toronto Comiccon is a great alternative to FanExpo if you’d like to shop and save some money. Remember though, that it will not have the same lineup as celebrity guests (it focused on comic book illustrator guests instead). The venue is also less crowded so it makes the entire con much more relaxing, allowing you the time you need to check out every booth in about 4 hours. We found that it was completely worth it for the money and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

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Peter Chiykowski, author/illustrator of Rock, Paper, Cynic — a webcomic

Guest Author: Rachel Gibson
Photographs Courtesy of: Elizabeth Horodnyk