Toronto ComiCon 2013 – Trekkies or Kids

Toronto-Comicon-by-Fan-Expo-Logo

This past weekend I went to Hobby Star’s Toronto ComiCon. Before the weekend actually got here, I decided to be organized and looked through the schedule to see who would be there and what panels I would like to go see, and frankly I was disappointed. The whole con seemed to be taken over by the Trek. So, when I arrived on Saturday I wasn’t too surprised to see a lot of Star Trek cosplayers standing in line to get in. I was surprised however when I hit the con floor. It was a pretty small space, and a large chunk of it was taken up by the celebrity meet and greet area, usually this would be OK, but the fact that none of the celebrities were comic related kind of grinds my gears.

I understand that Hobby Star has had massive success with Fan Expo. Every year it seems to grow larger and larger, but this….this is ComiCon keyword Comic. They obviously chose the TNG (The Next Generation) staff to come to the con to sell tickets, but are they sullying the name of ComiCon? This isn’t a sci-fi convention, so I feel like I have the right to complain here.

Star Trek girls
Source: Stanley Jon (Toronto ComiCon 2013)

Maybe they weren’t able to book any big name comic people, so they needed to get some heavy hitter celebrities into the show. But, I think their focus is all wrong.

While walking around Sunday, I noticed a lot of families and a lot of them couldn’t get through the tight aisle ways and past the other con goers. This got me thinking, instead of focusing ComiCon on Sci-fi to get bodies in the door, why not focus on families? Fan Expo is so cramped and crowded it’s hard for parents to bring children with them, we should give parents a chance to expose their kids to cons and comics.

This year Hobby Star may not have been able to get big name comic people to the con, but why not big name cartoon people? Especially if the cartoon is based off of, or has been turned into a comic book. If they widen the aisles and openly invite families, I think they have the potential to reach an untapped comic market. Focusing on children can lead to an entire family coming to the con, which means more potential customers. I think the focus should still be comics, but presented in a different way. The retailers could bring their usual stock for the regular ComiCon crowd, but they can also bring more toys and have a section dedicated to kids.

Multiple Man & Wolverine
Cosplayers – Multiple Man, Wolverine and some guy

I think changing the focus of Toronto ComiCon is a good thing, but I think trying to turn it into another Fan Expo might not be the way to do it. I also think that focusing on children is only leading to a lifetime of possible comic book fans. They may make coming to Toronto ComiCon a tradition in their lives, and may potentially become lifelong customers.

Let me know what you think, would you rather deal with Trekkies or Kids?

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Leigh Hart
Leigh Woodhall - Soapbox Nerd. Aerialist. Writer. Podcaster. All around tough guy (but a lady version). Follow me on twitter @Leigh_Louise
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3 Comments

  1. I would much rather have kids instead of trekkies because the whole reason i didnt look into going to this con was because of the slant towards sci fi. There will always be trekkies at cons regardless but this time I felt they just went overboard and the comic feel wasnt lost but more of a second thought. With kids it would be fun to see such a range in generations all enjoying themselves with the focal point of a comic con back on comics…. thats just how i feel

  2. I think it’s amazing idea to make ComiCon a family friendly event. I know there are many people who curse parents with strollers at the show. I for one, have been there. Unfortunately because of how we were treated, I’ve never gone back to a comic convention with kids.

    I go to a lot of toy conventions, and I find they are more family friendly, and there is more space for strollers and kids.

    There was lots of space at the MTCC where they could have opened and extra section to have wider aisles. Plus there was that whole open section by the celebrities that was sitting empty.

    Side note – I love Star Trek. I am not a hard core trekkie, but I have a love for the series. But I wasn’t interested. It was a very boring convention for the comic fan. There was nothing for us there. Plus I don’t understand Doctor Who. I never did, and I am starting to see more “Who-vians” at the show and I feel like the Sci-Fi element of Geekdom is slowing taking over the hobby as a whole.

  3. Well, as a retailer I was able to move Star Trek and Star Wars related merchandise to Trekkers, and they do have disposable income, so I have no issues with having them there. Also, most comic fans have some interest in Trek and Wars so it’s not like they are completely isolated fan groups.

    I love kids, I want more kids reading comics, and I kind of think they do appeal to families by making kids free, but the other issues are traditional concerns with these shows — are they narrow aisles or just crammed with people? I know it wasn’t a smaller space than last year’s ComiCON, but then again they did a lot more in the lobby last year than they did this year so maybe it was, but I definitely think the room was bigger, moving into one of the big convention halls and not into a smaller side on — for instance, the Next Gen talk was held in the room where ComiCON was held in 2012.

    I personally would love to see ComiCON more comics focused, but it’s not like comics were absent, there were some interesting comic guests this year that Tiz invited that appealed to older comics fans (Mike Zeck, Lee Weeks, Mike McKone, Joe Jusko, Mark Texeira) and certainly Katie Cook appealed to those My Little Pony Fans (a good number of whom are kids).

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