Friday, May 18, 2012

Ottawa Comicon: to boldly convene where no one's convened before.


Last weekend, Ottawa hosted its first-ever comic book convention, or 'comicon' for those in the know. This was a big deal for me...well actually, for a lot of people, because some of us have just never had the opportunity to head out to San Diego for the major comicon. For us local nerds, tthis con was like having the mountain come to Mohammed. We have talked of little else for months preceding the event.

The back door line to get in. 1.5 hr wait.
I was raised on comic books, thanks to my dad. He got us hooked on the XMen from an early age, throwing in the occasional spiderman or Batman title. I learned about justice, honor, hubris, and spandex from the heroes on the pages. I found role models in the female characters--women portrayed as surrealistically beautiful, yes, but also powerful, assertive, and yet, still sensitive.

Don't roll your eyes, I'm being serious.
Anyway. Walking in the doors at Ottawa Comicon, my dad in tow as my official photographer for the day (all these photos are his), there was a palpable atmosphere that can only be described as 'happy nerd vibe'. I thought of the years when my comic book obsession made me a pariah amongst female peers who were far more interested in Cosmo than comics, and I smiled. This here was my 'It gets better' moment. So let me just say to all he young nerds out there: you may get teased a lot right now, and you may find your potential mate pool to be sadly small at present, but one day you will go to your first comicon, and you will know it gets better. You are not alone, not at all. The nearly 20,000 people who showed up for Ottawa's event proves that quite nicely.

We observed that the organizers seemed pretty overwhelmed by the turn-out--in fact, there were people lined up around the block, most waiting over an hour-and-a-half to get in. Hopefully next year, there will be better organization, and hopefully some more entertainment going on in the main hall, because the space was a bit too focused just on selling/buying. But it was still great to walk around, see the Magic card tournaments, the incredible artists in Artist Alley, and the many, many costumes on the fans. The talk of the town wasa couple of weird pyramid-headed monsters from a game called Silent Hill...a game I will never, ever go near, now that I've seen some of the nightmares that are found in it.

The Comic Book Shoppe had a large presence, and it was at their booth that I finally caved and bought something: a pair of Batman bootie shorts. I have already found an opportunity to wear them, I swear. They hosted the Magic card tournament, and sported some of the best-costumed staff.

I enjoyed watching people gawk as they noticed my
Magic Card tournament.
Battlestar Gallactica-inspired tattoo (the one that Brian and I share), because while they may have had some rockin' cool costumes, clearly I am queen of the nerds, having adorned my skin permanently with a giant sci-fi tattoo.


Many celebrities were present for signings, but the fees were high (a separate cost for signature, photo, etc, and some as high as $80), and the lines were long, so we stayed away. I did, however, see Lou Ferrigno from a distance, towering over his fans.

I also caught a glimpse of Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek TNG)
Happy Jordan!
up on his feet, shaking hands and beaming at his fans. (Beaming as in smiling, not transporting somewhere. Sorry, that could be confusing given the fan base.) I was wrought with jealousy, however, on Sunday as my BFF and Brian came home from the con where they'd been helping out at a vendor booth. Apparently, they actually got to chat, touch, and eat fudge with Data. I'm a bit fuzzy on how the fudge got involved, but the looks of nerdy joy on their two faces was priceless.

Putting aside the celebrities, shopping, game tournaments, and panel discussions, I think one of my favourite parts of the comicon was simply being surrounded by other sci-fi and fantasy dreamers. It's a pleasure to be amongst others who understand what it's like to love a band of characters so much, they become real for you. To be with kindred spirits who have also cried when a superhero has died, or who have cheered aloud when a villain has been vanquished...that was a really great experience.

Oh, yeah: and getting my photo with a storm trooper...also pretty damn cool.

The original Delorian.




  1. We opted not to go, Jason has an aversion to HUGE crowds that overshadows his fandom.
    Instead, we worshipped at the flat screen altar watching ST:TNG for the umpteenth time - we are two eps. away from finishing season two.

    1. If you don't like crowds, it was probably best to stay away. There were so many people! Glad you enjoyed the post and found your own special way to enjoy the con!