Wizard World Toronto Comic Con - Mar. 26-28

Discussion in 'Transformers Conventions and Get Togethers' started by Aernaroth, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    This year, Wizard is coming to Toronto, and putting on another of their globally known conventions!

    Toronto Comic Con Wizard World Convention: Toronto, Wizard Conventions, Comic Convention, Wizard World Toronto, Wizard World Tour

    Guest lineup looks to be pretty impressive, especially if you're a BSG or Stargate fan, and ESPECIALLY if you're a fan of pro wrestling. Also, Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters! Also, it looks like the SPACE network and the ROM are getting involved, so it should be a good show!

    Don't know how much TF stuff there will be, but there will most likely be some stuff there. Anyone else planning on going?
     
  2. Super_Megatron

    Super_Megatron Twitter: @Super_Megatron Administrator

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    I'll be there.
     
  3. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    I had the opportunity to represent TFW2005 at the show with a press pass, here's a report:

    From March 26-28th, Wizard held their first Toronto show. A predominantly positive affair, it will likely become an regular addition to the Toronto convention scene, especially now that next year’s event has already been announced.

    When Wizard announced its acquisition of Paradise Comic-con, speculation immediately began. How would they change the show? How would they leverage their other shows and magazines in running the Toronto show? What kind of focus could we expect for the convention? Well, the focus was arguably still on comics, but there were guests, dealers, and exhibitors from numerous other pop culture circles, including science fiction, anime, horror, and gaming. Wizard promoted the show heavily through its website, and seemed to take a different approach to promotion, focusing heavily (though successfully) on radio and television announcements.

    The Friday segment of the show opened at noon, a first for a Toronto convention (to my knowledge), but even this working-hours start was not enough to dissuade the small, but noticeable group of die-hard fans who lined up for entry. After a slight hiccup with press passes, which was quickly and cheerfully rectified, I entered the convention hall. The first thing I realized was that the attendee package contained not only the usual content of flyers and a schedule, but a starter deck from Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering TCG, and a sealed copy of the latest issues of both Wizard and Toyfare. This was a generous addition by Wizard, as well as a shrewd marketing tactic. The convention hall itself, however, was reasonably sized, and split roughly into thirds, with one third being occupied by dealers, the next by guests and exhibitors, and the last split by the artist’s alley and a sitting area. Crowds on the Friday seemed sparse, but passionate, which I imagine is expected for the Friday of a convention like this.

    On the Saturday, the lineup before the show was much larger, and seemed to encompass fans with a wide range of interests. The convention was far more active, and new attendees seemed to arrive constantly throughout the day. Other than a few industry panels, there was little change in programming from Friday, and this constancy carried through into Sunday, with the exception of a few guests. The Sunday was also well attended, though by fewer people than the Saturday. Throughout the weekend, most attendees seemed to come for a single day, which is understandable, given this is the first year for this particular show, and given its relative size.

    Each guest was assigned their own booth, and remained there throughout the day, signing autographs and meeting with fans. This meant the guest space consumed a considerable portion of the convention hall, and some guests seemed to be tired by the end of the day, but it also meant shorter lines to meet the guests, and more time for fans to actually interact with them. Autograph prices were fair, and often included a photo print, if desired. Convention staff in no way obstructed interaction with the guests, who for the most part seemed to conduct their own affairs. This level of freedom and intimacy with the guests was commendable, and is definitely something to continue in the future, if possible. The guest lineup was surprisingly varied, with guests not only from science fiction film and television, but from reality television and professional wrestling, and encompassed both classic and contemporary productions. Guests were friendly and spirited, some bringing their own specialized items to sign (including “Hacksaw” Jim Dougan, who brought lumber to personalize), but most making do with photos and items brought by fans. With the unfortunate cancellation of Eliza Dushku, the headlining of the guest list fell to stars like Canadian Jewel Staite (of Firefly and Stargate fame), Magda Apanowicz (of the new BSG spinoff Caprica), and Ernie Hudson (of Ghostbusters, Oz, the Crow, and numerous other projects). Mr. Hudson graced our sister site Action Figure News.Ca with an interview, which should be available online soon.

    Maybe due to Wrestlemania occurring on the Sunday, but the entire convention seemed to have wrestling fever. Numerous professional wrestling guests passionately interacting with fans in the guest alley, wrestling merchandise dotting various dealer stalls, and matches throughout the day held by GCW. I never thought I’d get to see Mario wrestle Zangief, but I’m glad I got the opportunity.

    The artist’s alley itself seemed small, compared to other shows, again possibly due to this being Wizard World Toronto’s first year. Most of the artists were professional, for better or worse, and if there were few fan artists, there were even fewer craftspeople. There was room for the alley to expand, however, so hopefully it will in next year’s show.

    In terms of Transformers, however, the convention seemed somewhat more sparse. One dealer carried recent Japanese import figures, while others carried domestic releases, and a few carried back issues of the comics or other miscellaneous items, but only alongside other franchises. Toronto Transformers convention TFcon had a commanding presence and a surprisingly large booth, bringing along Alex Milne, artist of, among others, the upcoming Transformers: Drift series on the Saturday. Sadly, Mr. Milne was the only current TF artist present, though a few other artists who worked on Transformers in some capacity were present in the artist’s alley.

    Overall, the show was run in a very professional manner, and despite a few hiccups (including a false fire alarm on the Saturday), was an enjoyable experience. I expect that the staff will have learned much from this year’s show, and should be able to make next year’s show even bigger and better.
     

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