Toronto’s Comicon brings fosters creativity among fans

Mar 20, 2024 | Culture, Life

Larry Houston looked into the multitude of people at Toronto Comicon at the Metro Convention Centre and stretched out his right arm.

“It’s the first time I’ve been back in about 27 years because I recorded the original voices here in Toronto,” said Houston, the producer and director of the X-Men and the X-Men ’97 animated series. The latter debuts on Disney+ this week.

Thousands attended last weekend’s annual three-day event where Houston was but one of numerous celebrity guests. The show was also an open-air exhibition of cosplayers, demonstrating their artistic abilities in making costumes.

The show was also an open market of vendors selling art, comics, nerdy apparel and toys.

Matthew San Miguel, a Humber Game Programming student, was anticipating meeting Anson Mount, one of his favourite actors.

“I liked his portrayal of Blackbolt in Inhumans and Dr.Strange: Multiverse of Madness,” he said.

San Miguel said he was also cosplaying at the event.

“I’ll be cosplaying as Wanderer from the game Genshin Impact and I’m just excited to see other people’s cosplay and just celebrating the art of cosplay,” he said.

Teddy Chadmichaelidis, who works for Gotham Central Comics in Mississauga, Ont., said he was impressed by the cosplayers.

“It’s always cool to see how creative people get (for) Comicon,” he said. “People really go all out.”

Chadmichaelidis, who is also a Film and Television program student at Humber, said he was excited, and a bit nervous, because he knew it was going to be a busy weekend.

A group of cosplayers as the different doctors

A group dressed as different Doctors from Doctor Who at the Toronto Comic Con last weekend. Photo credit: Gabriel Noda

“But I’m excited to see everyone come together to celebrate comics and these fandoms,” he said. “I’m excited to gain experience and be able to see the convention from a different perspective, rather than always just as an attendee.”

Andrew Moyes, vice president of Fan Expo, said he loves to share the experience of Toronto Comicon with people who may not know anything about it.

“We love helping everyone understand that they’re all welcome to come and celebrate,” he said.

Moyes said there were changes to this year’s show.

“You’ll see a little bit of a change with a few more boosts and a bit of an adjustment on the food court, just to create a more comfortable and seamless experience,” he said.

Moyes said a larger theatre was also set up on the 100 level of the centre.

“The show is living and breathing a little bit differently.” He said

Among the guests this year were actors Gordan Cormier and Ian Ousley from the Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the cast and producer/director of X-Men: The Animated Series and Ethan Peck, Christina Chong and Anson Mount from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Larry Houston said artists have fun attending conventions, in part to see and meet other comic book artists who helped make these characters that fans cosplay as, iconic.

“Oh man, it’s so much fun! You’re around people who like the same thing as you do, they dress up, and you got all the costumes,” he said.

Houston said fans who aspire to be comic book artists get to pick at the brains of their favourite illustrators.

“If you’re drawing your own comic book or maybe pin-up drawings, you have so much reference and so many people you can bounce your ideas off of and take a look at what they’re doing,” he said.

“The main thing is meeting a lot of people and getting to know to know the community you’re in, ’cause it’s so much fun,” Houston said.

Houston said his comic book convention was a year or two after he finished high school and he started going to San Diego Comic-Con.

“Toronto is the first one I’ve been to here,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll be back here next year.”