Photos by Kayley Luftig
With one Toronto ComiCon and one Toronto FaxExpo under my belt, I wasn’t entirely sure that there was anything else to see. What’s so great and what so many people love about Comicon is that it’s almost routine. There’s a repetitiveness to it that’s strangely refreshing and builds a sense of comfort amongst all of those who come back year after year. There are always vendors, comic artists, panels, cosplayers, photo ops, signings, and way too much Pizza Pizza for a three-day period. It’s what happens inside of the panels and those interactions between fans and their heroes that makes each con experience special and memorable without the entire experience changing.
Toronto Comicon isn’t just for comic or sci fi fanatics; it’s for families. The energy around all of the panels and the signings seemed to be a common place for parents to be passing on their passions to their young kids. Whether it was five year olds asking Brett Dalton questions, little boys in capes asking WWE celebrity Mick Foley about the pain he endured in the ring, or a boy dressed up as the Batman to his mom’s Poison Ivy, kids were making their presence noted.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was my mom. Cosplay was always interesting to her, and I was lucky enough to get a taste of that when she dressed me up as an old lady for Halloween in grade three when we had just moved to a new neighbourhood. I expected her to love all of the amazing costumes people put hours of work into, but I was anticipating the Comicon crowds to bother her.
Instead, I found her embracing the entire experience. She spoke to Kevin Sussman of Big Bang Theory for a good fifteen minutes in the most natural way I’ve ever seen anyone talk to a celebrity. She became temporary best friends with a few of the volunteers. She stopped at every single vendor and artist and took in every detail of their merchandise or art. My mom experienced Comicon like it’s supposed to be experienced, and enjoyed every minute of it. If you want to do Comicon right, take your mom.
In the non-profit world, we’re constantly saying that volunteers are our life lines. This weekend at Comicon, I noticed that this monster of an event wouldn’t be even close to what it is without them. These volunteers are not only standing around directing traffic, but they’re making sure that everyone is excited about what the weekend has to offer. After getting to know a few volunteers this weekend who had helped make my mom’s Comicon experience what it was, it only seems fitting to acknowledge the passion and hard work they put into this event. If you’re looking to experience Comicon or FanExpo from a unique vantage point with some perks, volunteering is the way to go.