Arts

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! On May 12–13, Ottawa will host its very own Comiccon at the CE Centre. With names like Patrick Stewart, of Star Trek and X-men series fame, Mistress Elvira, and Lou Ferrigno, who starred in the Incredible Hulk, Ottawa’s inaugral comic book convention will be the ultimate fantasy for any geek out there.

While the first Comiccon started in 42 years ago, many fans have wondered what’s taken Ottawa so long to get a convention, especially considering that Montreal and Toronto currently enjoy their own Comiccon.

“I’ve been told that there were various communities in Ottawa and that they couldn’t come together to decide on how to make a mega event [like Comiccon] that really connected everyone,” says David Newman, head of the convention’s creative team, about organizing the event. “We have a team from Ottawa and team from Montreal, so we know the Ottawa market and we know the Montreal market. We were able to bridge that gap and we knew how to bring everyone together.”

Although the idea for Ottawa to host its own Comiccon convention started a few years ago, the event organizers began seriously planning the exhibition last year.

“We really saw the buzz around Ottawa [and] we said, ‘There’s a ton of stuff happening there, it’s growing, and [there are] people from Ottawa are coming to the Montreal comic con saying, ‘Where’s ours?’.”

People who aren’t into the comic book scene have the ability to unleash their inner geek too. Hosting a wide variety of events, Comiccon is not all about superheroes and comic books.

“Comiccon is a big phenomenon, so it’s a word that everyone knows—it’s why we use it in our name—but it’s almost like a misnomer in more that it’s like a pop culture convention because it’s not just about comics,” explains Newman.

“There are tons about comics—comics are the foundation—but it’s really about entertainment. It’s really about popular culture. It’s about celebrating things we all enjoy, different kinds of TV, different kinds of movies, different kinds of literature, different kinds of art,” he adds.

Convention attendees can expect a sensory overload the second they walk through the front doors. The exhibit will boast workshops, photo sessions, panels, and the opportunity to shop for exclusive pop culture memorabilia.

“[There will be] tons of people dressed in comics, everywhere you look … we’re going to have a whole bunch of celebrities, which is a great part because people love to meet their childhood heroes and they’re really fun,” says Newman.

Frequent Comiccon-goers might be wondering how Ottawa’s exhibition will stand apart from other neighbouring cities. Newman puts those worries to rest by assuring attendees the Ottawa Comiccon will be a unique experience able to be enjoyed by anyone.

“We’re hoping to put original programming for the Ottawa Comiccon. We’re bringing Patrick Stewart who’s never done anything of this sort before, on this side of Canada,” says Newman. “That’s really something that’s going to bring people together. He’s a big Star Trek icon and he’s a big superhero icon, so he’s going to unify those worlds as well and make us stand out.”

“We’re really rolling out stronger than most first-year cons and we’re really hoping that people turn out to support the event,” adds Newman.

Sofia Hashi