Confirming a rumor that was going around this morning, a press release has confirmed that Wizard CEO Gareb Shamus has purchased the Toronto Comicon. Also known as the Paradise Comicon, the show is run by Peter Dixon of Paradise Comics, who will stay on, and while it has maintained an excellent reputation among guests (we were a guest there in ’06 and it was tremendous fun), the show had run into some financial difficulties in recent times, with this year’s show canceled and no date for 2010 announced.
Toronto is also–uncharacteristically–the scene of one of the most heated con rivalries on the continent, with Aman Gupta’s Fan Expo Canada a much larger and, frankly, more Wizard-like show. Accusations of dirty tricks on both sides have flown for years, so any escalation would be pretty ugly.
As with other recent Wizard-related activities, the Toronto con has been purchased by Shamus and not Wizard itself. However, with this, the October Big Apple Con and the just announced FunFare magazine, Wizard is showing it’s not as moribund as a lot of folks had predicted. PR follows:
Gareb Shamus, CEO of New York based Wizard Entertainment, announces today that he has purchased the Toronto Comicon, a show that has been consistently awarded The Best International Comic Book Convention (non-USA) by ComicBookConventions.com, for the last 5 years.
“We’ve always had a strong following in Canada, so buying the Toronto Comicon is something that allows me to give back to our fans. These attendees are known to be serious collectors and comic industry followers,” said Shamus. “I am thrilled to offer the guests, celebrities, artists, dealers and exhibitors to our Canadian audience for the very first time.”
Peter Dixon, owner of Paradise Conventions and former owner of the Toronto Comicon, will still be intimately involved in the show production, his friendly manner ensuring the continuation of the trademarked relaxed atmosphere of the show.
“Wizard brings greater industry recognition and star power to the show. I’m excited about having the fans get this bigger experience,” said Dixon.
The next show dates have not been set yet, but the newly managed Toronto Comicon is expected to debut in 2010.