Hamilton Comic Con 2014

Hamilton Comic Con logoMy son and I attended the 2014 Hamilton Comic Con at the Hamilton Convention Centre this past Saturday. It was a one day show in its second year; at some point they changed the name from Hammer Town Comic Con but the old URL still worked.

I wasn’t able to secure a ticket last year so this was my first time at this show. It was also the first Comic Con style show for my son John who is 6; he went with me to TCAF this year but that’s a different beast altogether.

First impressions: this is a show for the casual comic fan. $25 for eight hours of show time made up of two medium convention rooms filled with comic dealers, celebrities, artists, toy dealers, game dealers, weapons dealers (yes it’s true), a small artist’s alley and a nicely placed panel area.

We arrived at 1:00 PM and the main floor was mostly packed. John had a Batman shirt with a cape attached and a mask he wanted to wear, so somehow be picked up on the purpose of the show long before I did. Lots of cosplayers everywhere milling around. Comic dealers like Big B Comics and Paradise Comics had their usual show booth of comics, trades and toys. Other comic dealers in the room just had back issues. The Dragon was there with a manga only setup. Toy dealers seemed to have a lot of Star Wars figures at a discount and an otherwise mixed bag.

Since cosplay was a big part of the show there were prop weapons dealers with swords, shields and the lot. In the second room of the show on the third floor there was a large panel area set up on the floor which was great for easy access but made it louder than usual, which is pretty loud for a comic con. Beside that was an area for cosplay photos, which made a lot of sense and eliminated congested aisles while everyone takes pictures.  Of course that still happened, but it was limited. Below is a gathering of Spider-Men in the photo area: you can see the panel set up beside them.

Hamilton Comic Con

 

There were a few artists set up, sketching and selling artwork. I didn’t see much activity there on my several passes; Leonard Kirk was working away on something as was Geof Isherwood. A steady crowd at the 1966 Batmobile (a “screen authentic replica”) and K.I.T.T. (another “screen authentic replica”) car, along with some long lines for the celebrities and wrestlers.

Rachel Richey was there promoting Johnny Canuck after her successful Kickstarter campaign but before getting the book in print: what a tireless ambassador for WECA / Canadian Whites! She had some Nelvana volumes available but I was disappointed to miss the chance to chat with her: there was a steady crowd at her table.

The vibe from the throngs of people at the show was about the casual fan experience, mixing comics with wrestlers, celebrities and cosplay. It was a local show in a city of 505,000 people and those from the Hamilton area came to see what it was all about and maybe pick up a movie item or a fondly remembered childhood toy or comic.

We carefully wandered booth to booth as John looked at things: I told him I’d get him one thing from the show and he’s a careful chooser so I had a chance to get to each and every booth. In the end he decided against getting something at the show and asked instead if we could stop at Toys R Us on the way home for a new Nerf gun. We did get one and on the way home I asked what the best part of the show was: John replied the best part was that we had fun. I asked what was the second best part and he said there wasn’t one. An interesting take on the show: fun with no stand out features.

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Scott VanderPloeg
Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.
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6 Comments

  1. It looked to me that the convention had a pretty strong showing for its second year. It had good number of vendors, a lot of cosplay, and a growing artist’s alley.

    It is a small convention compared to Fan Expo (but what isn’t?), and it strikes me that the organizers are trying to drawing in fans from throughout the Golden Horseshoe that don’t want to brave the Toronto crowds.

    I will be interested to see how the vendors and artists did on the 3rd floor. Normally a convention that has 2 separate sections can be tricky (i.e. fans don’t go to both sections), and it looked like the 3rd floor had far fewer visitors than the first floor.

    I didn’t really see anyone besides Big B and Paradise selling big books, so I don’t know how the con compares to others for those looking for silver age keys and the like.

    $25 is a bit pricey if all you want to do is look for books to buy, but if you are into the ever growing super-fan culture it is a solid price.

    Ultimately I would have to agree with John’s assessment of the convention.

  2. I attended the show as well. I thought it was a decent sized show for the price. The one thing they did really well was get you into the building quick. I had bought a pair of tickets at Big B, and also had one ticket that was purchased online ahead of time. The physical tickets, let us cut ahead of the line and get into the building fairly quick. With the online receipt I had to wait in line, and pick up the physical ticket. By time I got to the next waiting area, I met up with my wife and son and we were onto the show floor in no-time. You could buy tickets at the door, but at least the organizers made an effort to look after the people who paid for their tickets ahead of time and got them in the door first. It just proves it pays to get your tickets in advance.

    I thought there was a little bit of everything. There were some comics there, there were also toys and celebrities. I was in costume as Star-Lord for a part of the day so it was fun to goof around a bit. After I shed my gear and just enjoyed the show for itself.

    The biggest complaint I heard about the show was food.

    There was nothing to eat there. I was at the show from 10am and I had prepared for a long day with snacks and beverages. Others didn’t have anything with them and they would have gladly paid for overpriced Convention food, if there was anything available.

    For Hamilton ComiCon to be successful next year, they need to offer some “in-venue” food options. People could have left to get something to eat, but there was no guarantee that they could get back in if they did leave. I’m not sure there’s enough space in there to add a food vendor, but it’s what people wanted.

    It was my son’s first ComiCon (and also his birthday present) so he got to experience everything. He saw the vendors, cosplayers and artists. He found some art that he really liked and got to spend his birthday money.

    It was a nice mix of everything people are looking for at these new shows. My son had a blast meeting Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I was at a loss for words talking to Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell), because I couldn’t see where he fit into this crowd other than being famous. All in all it was a decent show.

  3. Ken Osmond was there because the organizer wanted to meet him, one of the perks of being a show runner I’d imagine.

  4. Has any one seen or heard of a cosplay Little Lulu and Tubby?

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