Heroes abound. The hype surrounding the opening weekend of the blockbuster film Black Panther was punctuated with the Family Day weekend Toronto Comic Book Show.
And that one-day show at a North York hotel was just the warmup for the bigger Toronto Comic Con, a three-day extravaganza set for the Metro Convention Centre in March.
The weekend show was organized by Robert Francia, who started selling sports memorabilia and moved onto comic books when avid collectors expressed interest.
“I think comic books is the one collectable that spans across all decades and all generations,” Francia said.
“For instance, collecting a sports card usually pertains to a player at that moment in time, where a kid today may not be able to resonate with someone that played 25 or 30 years ago,” he said.
The show had 75 vendor tables and took place in two packed rooms at the Toronto Plaza Hotel. Attendees crowded and flipped through the overflowing bins of $1 comic books, while others spoke with vendors about the meticulously graded and labelled ones.
Alex Calow from Comic Book Addiction is one of the regular vendors. He started reading comic books with his mother, and is always happy to see parents building up their collections and sharing them with their children.
“We’ve made a few big sales when we’ve set up here. We’ve sold an X-Men One that was like $2,000, so that was pretty cool,” Calow said.
Mike Algera from Throwback Bros is another vendor who believes the connections made by comic books matter. He first heard about the show at the Niagara Falls Comic Con.
“I mean, especially for those of my generation growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, they’re reminiscent about these books and toys and games that we grew up with as kids,” he said.
“And then there’s a passing down of this generation to current millennials and those who are just discovering these things for themselves. It’s pretty cool,” Algera said.
Colin and Lisa Mason have different interests, but the show brought them together and let the latter discover why her husband loved comic books.
“We don’t really come to many of these. This is the first comic book convention event we’ve done,” Colin said.
Raymond Santos has been collecting comic books since he was little. He used to collect for himself, but he now attends shows for the sake of his family.
“I used to live in California, and I’m planning to visit and take my kids there. I figured I’d sell some of my collection to make some money and spend it with the kids. It’s worth it, in the end,” Santos said.
The next Toronto Comic Book Show will be on April 29 this year.