Comics, dressup, and LARPing, oh my!


Fans swarmed the Metro Toronto Convention Centre last weekend for Toronto ComiCon, the annual multi-day event that brings fans together to celebrate their love for TV, movies, anime and comics.

“When we first started, I think anime was the thrust of it- anime and manga,” said Toronto ComiCon event and programming coordinator James Armstrong. “Since then we added a lot of interests that are the same as Fan Expo, so covering more bases with comic books, science-fiction, horror movies, that kind of thing.”

Fans experienced events and panels like cosplay workshops, Q&As with their favourite celebrities and 6teen  episode script reading with the cast.

“Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad  – this is an example of a guest who had a tremendous role on television that he was nominated for an Emmy. It is definitely my favourite show” said Armstrong. “Even though it’s not related to our typical science-fiction, fantasy kind of celebrity, he definitely has a lot of interest with the fans.”

Other celebrities that were there were Tatiana Maslany and Jordan Gavaris from Orphan Black , Sean Astin and Billy Boyd from Lord of the Rings  and Eliza Dushku from Dollhouse.

The convention was filled with vendors selling things like comics, toys and T-shirts. Toronto ComiCon also had an “Artist Alley” exhibit within the vending area where local artists sell their art.

The creations ranged from posters of famous characters and scenes to handmade comics and crocheted toys.

“I liked Artists Alley. Looking through that was really cool,” said Sheridan College Illustration student Alyse Nicholson.

This Comicon was Nicholson’s first convention.

“I’ve just never been to a con, so I just went ‘why not?’ We just went with a bunch of people from Sheridan,” said Nicholson. “It’s just a very small con which is nice to throw you into it.”

The convention is a great way for groups such as the Toronto Ghostbusters, the Doctor Who Society and Nero Canada to recruit members.

Nero Canada is a live action role playing (or LARPing) group out of Hamilton. It’s one of the largest LARPing groups  and has been running for over 20 years.

LARPing involves people making up their own character, dress in costumes. Players then fight each other with foam swords, arrows and spells.

“LARPing is live-action role play so basically, anyone who tabletops DND (Dungeons and Dragons). It’s like that but you  play your own character,”said Nero Canada spokesperson Kelly Smith. “So you are the one actually swinging the sword, you’re the one blocking the moves, you’re the one casting the magic.”

On Saturday there was an after party at the club Tattoo,  where people showed up in costume and even some of the celebrities showed up.

Hobbystar will next be putting together the bigger Convention FanExpo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at the end of August.