WHOSOEVER HOLDS THIS HAMMER: Toronto comicCON Fan Appreciation

Last updated on December 21st, 2012 at 11:07 am

Whosoever Holds This Hammer appears ever Tuesday (more or less) exclusively on Comic Book Daily.

Well, the weekend saw another comic book convention come and go here in Hogtown, and as per usual those attending had a great time. This is only fitting as it was a Fan Appreciation event and the admission was free as a thank you from Hobbystar to its customers. While the event is an annual one, normally admission costs $10, but you received a $10 coupon for goods from a dealer (this could be spent however you wish). This year it was 100% free to enter as an apology to any fans who were unable to re-enter the building at last summer’s Fan Expo.

Saturday saw the larger crowds (as is usual for such events) with Sunday having a smaller gate. This was the kind of event that older comic book fans love; it was all about the comic books. Fan Expo is aptly named because it caters to several types fanboys and fangirls: comic books, video games, anime, science fiction, and horror are all part of the wonderful nerd mosaic that descends upon the Toronto Convention Centre every August. Toronto comicCON Fan Appreciation is different because it focuses mostly on comic books. There was a good range of dealers selling $1 books, $3 books, new hot books, tradepaperbacks, t-shirts, and gold and silver age books. If you were a comic book fan you could find something that would be to your liking. Although a note to dealers: I know that they are $1 books but could you at least have them somewhat alphabetical? I have neither the time nor the inclination to dig anymore.

I picked up some Marvel Team-Up issues I needed (I am completing a run) and a solid VG copy of Tales of Suspense #94 (first MODOK baby!). I also snagged a great Spider-Man Icon coffee table book and a Mad Magazine best of Sergio Aragones. Great deals were found on all.

Artists’s alley was consistently full of fans seeking to get sketches or autographs and as usual the artists went above and beyond for their fans. Scott has already noted the amazing deals on pages and how nice all the artists were, but it bears repeating.

As I mentioned earlier this is the kind of show that I enjoy the most because it is mostly comic books, but I also realize that I am in the minority. I attended the entire convention because my colleagues and I were covering it for CBD, but had I been attending as a customer I would have been in and out in 3 hours. That is not a slight against the convention; I’m just not looking for that much anymore and it doesn’t take me that long to go through a room of dealers and artists.

So if you were a comic book fan who does not have a small, specific list such as I,  you were there for hours and you had a great time. This is what the majority of you told me. However, a sizable number of fans also wished that there was more. They wanted the horror, the anime, the steampunk, and the video games. All the categories found at Wizard World, Fan Expo, and an increasing number of shows around the world.

It seems that the definition of comic book convention has changed. And that is because fans have changed. It isn’t only about comic books anymore, and fans want to pick up their comic books and skull candles while dressed up like a human rocket ship. I would suggest that future years of Fan Appreciation need to address this, despite the fact that I, personally, prefer a more comic-centric show.

Anthony Falcone Written by:

Anthony Falcone is a freelance writer living in Toronto and he is the Ayatollah of Rocknrolla. You should definitely follow him on Twitter.

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  1. April 12, 2011

    I’ll be honest Anthony, this is the type of show that I prefer to do and attend, but I realize we are old getting older and we don’t have the same needs and expectations as a teenager in today’s environment. Good thing we are the people with the disposable cash to spend on books and artwork, so as long as the guests and dealers are happy I’m happy and I do feel there’s a place for this kind of show, we just have to accept that it won’t do gangbusters on the attendance side of things. I personally think that Comic Con should mean “comic book convention”, not a pop culture con with a marginalized comics presence and I’d really rather shoot myself in the head than try to do a Wizard World con where anyone who can fit in a leather bootie is a potential guest… I have enough of a headache trying to make sure there’s a great comic show in the tapestry of Fan Expo Canada. Thankfully I don’t have to work on those other areas!
    This year Aman opted to add some Scifi and Anime guests to the mix and I’m not sure how well that worked out in the long run, I think fans of those genres popped in – got their autographs and popped out. The dealers were definitely comics focused and there wasn’t much for those fans. I think the dealers should have some influence on the content, and the show needs to attract their customers. Since it was 95% comics I’d say we did right by them in attracting their customer base.

  2. April 12, 2011

    I agree with you on all points (except for the leather bootie comment, that was hardcore).  However I do think that because you label the event Fan Appreciation you need to remember that your fans have grown beyond comic books alone. Or will we see more Fan Appreciation events from Hobbystar throughout the year? One for each aspect of Fan Expo?

  3. April 12, 2011

    I think that would be a cool idea if we did. I think the confusion is that some people think that this is the Fan Expo Canada appreciation show, but it iss really the Spring Toronto ComiCON which was decided by the powers that be should be something special — that is a Fan Appreciation show specifically for the comic fans and dealers who support our four comic shows a year (Fall Toronto ComiCON, Winter Toronto ComiCON, this Spring event and the Comic Book Expo @ Fan Expo). It’s never been a multi-genre appreciation event, it was only this year that, as I mentioned before, Aman added something for the SciFi and Anime fans and I think that didn’t work out as well as was hoped.

  4. April 12, 2011

    Your clarification makes total sense, but there is definitely a perception out there than your other Hobbystar events are mini-Fan Expos (even though this isn’t the case). 
    I also want everyone to remember that if Hobbystar does more genre specific Fan Appreciation events it all started here with two men and a dream.

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