Little Brother Has Grown Up … Toronto Comicon 2018

FanExpo Canada is the biggest pop culture show in Canada. In fact, Fan Expo Canada is the third largest comic book convention in North America only falling behind New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic-Con in terms of attendance. Taking place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada by the Global Exhibitions Division of Informa PLC it is a behemoth of a signature show with the exhibitors, guests and crowds to match. But this is not the only Toronto-based show Informa puts on. The little brother to Fan Expo is the Toronto Comicon which occurs earlier in the year and the 2018 event has firmly established that Toronto Comicon has grown into a premier event all on its own.

Lots for the kids to do … and us kids at heart!

Toronto Comicon is a solid three-day event with all the bells and whistles you could expect. Tonnes of vendors with comic book back issues, retailers with every possible pop culture collectable, fantastic celebrity guests, a bevvy of comic book professionals and an Artist Alley brimming with up and coming talent. This year’s event had over 400 exhibitors covering more than 150,000 sq feet of floor space. I’ve been attending the Toronto Comicon for quite a few years and to see the event grow as it has is wonderful.

Sam Tweedle, purveyor of the Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict website is also a veteran attendee of comic conventions and he had this to say about Toronto Comicon 2018 …

“Toronto Comicon is one of the highlights of my year, and this year it continues to be the sure-fire good time that it always is. It has all the excitement of Fan Expo and provides a chance to meet with friends, has real conversations with comic professionals and enjoys the hobby we love. Where else can you meet Hodor, Anne of Green Gables and Matilda in the same day? From the cat outside dressed as Spider-Man to all the costumes and seeing so many familiar faces and friends, Toronto Comicon is one of the best weekends of the year.” – Sam Tweedle

Great merchandise everywhere!

Artist Alley is easily my favourite part of a comic convention and Toronto Comicon was brilliant in this regard. It took me nearly 45 minutes to get down one row due to all the creators I stopped and chatted with. Artist Ken Wheaton and I swapped some vintage Captain Canuck comics to complete his collection. Alien Toilet Monsters co-writer and artist, Eric Barnett was chatting about getting his comic into Diamond’s Previews catalog and we can expect issue #2 shortly. Scott W. Sawyer had a beautiful original art double page spread on display from his comic book series, North. The first three issues of North were for sale along with some darn nice looking t-shirts. I also managed to bump into Kevin Briones showcasing his comic book, Neon Black. Ricky Lima and Shane Heron shared a table filled with great comics but the gem was Morris #0, Shane’s new book which I received as a reward for supporting the Morris Kickstarter. Mike Rooth is an artist whose work I have admired for a bit now. He has done some really epic Auric variant covers and is, in fact, the designer of Auric. Mike has an upcoming project he is drawing and the few details he was willing to divulge instantly put this new book on my pull list radar. What a great concept. Expect to see his name once the comic is officially announced in the Premier Publisher section of the Diamond Previews catalog. And this was just the tip of the iceberg, I came home with some great new books to check out. Auric of the Great White North artist and Chapterhouse Publishing’s resident letterer, Andrew Thomas had a guest table in Artist Alley. When he wasn’t busy showing off the latest Auric issue we talked a bit about an upcoming project of his and writing partner Davis Dewsbury. I’ll have details on that shortly. Andrew also said …

“I had a blast. Getting to meet new and returning readers. The highlight was my sketch battle with Jason Loo and Dave Ross. Loads of fun!” – Andrew Thomas

Alfonso Espinos of Studiocomix Press

Some great Publishers were in attendance as well. I stopped by the Source Point Press table and picked up three new books that I was unfamiliar with. My friend Alfonso Espinos from Studiocomix Press had copies of Yaron Betan’s Heroes Manufactured documentary. An excellent film showcasing several independent comic makers and their journey through a typical convention season. Chapterhouse publisher, Keith WTS Morris and I talked for a while about some of their new projects including the prose novel The Crystal Key by Robert William Gronewold. The first part of the Wellspring Trilogy this book is about a 16-year old girl that lives in a world where the sun has not shone in over a thousand years. My daughter Aeryn is currently reading that book and I’ll report back once she is done. Keith also talked about the new design changes in the comic book lineup which he hopes will encourage more readers to try out all of the Chapterhouse offerings. I asked Keith for a quick comment about the show …

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see fans, both old and new, engaged and excited about what we’re doing at Chapterhouse. And the fact that Toronto Comic Con and Kevin Boyd really care about promoting new and unique comics is wonderful for the industry!” – Keith WTS Morris

I met up with Steven Andrews, publisher of the Toronto Comics Anthology series of books which I have featured several times in my Marty’s Kickstarter Picks feature. This year, alongside the previous volumes of the anthology Steven had a copy of the latest project, Wayward Sisters, for sale. The printing of this book is fantastic with so many extra little details. Steven let me know his thoughts on the show …

“The best thing about making art is seeing folks get genuinely excited about it. Sometimes it’s easy to forget why we pour so many hours into telling stories, but seeing someone light up as they read makes it all worthwhile. Enthusiastic crowds like the good folks at Toronto Comicon remind us why we make comics.” – Steve Andrews

Outstanding celebrity guests!

“What about back issue comics!” is the lament of the more established comic convention goer. The folks that just want to find some old comics to fill holes in their collections. Well, I had no problem finding a copy of Spider-Woman Vol. 1 (1978) #31 that I was on the hunt for. I found several copies and eventually settled for one in fantastic shape for a measly $2! All the big comic shops were present. My own Local Comic Shop, Comic Book Addiction from Whitby was there. Steve from CBA had a huge $2 comic section, half priced nicer books and a great selection of wall books. Carlos’ Gotham Central Comics and Collectibles from Mississauga had a massive booth featuring a tonne of new and old comics, Pop! Vinyl, statues and other merchandise. Key books were everywhere. I saw 1st Silver Age Flash Showcases, a few Amazing Spider-man #1 issues, iconic Batman covers … it was comic collector heaven.

Toronto Comicon is flat out a great event. I saw families having fun. I saw amateur cosplayers being very generous with their time posing for photos. I saw gracious celebrity guests chatting up anyone that lined-up for a chance to meet them. All the organizers deserve a very solid pat on the back for putting on a monster of a good show. Make plans to attend next year and I don’t think you will be disappointed. But buy your tickets early as the event is more and more popular each year.

Toronto Comicon 2018
Friday, March 16th to Sunday, March 18th, 2018

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