by Amy Chu
Toronto ComiCon this past weekend was my first convention experience in Canada and a very positive one. Organized by FanExpo, it is much smaller than the massive Fan Expo in August. Since it was right on the heels of Seattle’s Emerald City Con and before MegaCon in Orlando, I could have taken a pass, but thought it would be a good opportunity to hang with Craig Yeung, inker on X-Men Legacy, and artist on Girls Night Out on his home turf. It doesn’t hurt that Toronto is a very pleasant city, the organizers generously comp table space for pro creators, and… POUTINE.
There it was – the fabled dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds I had heard so much about, right inside the convention. Food options inside convention centers are typically pretty dismal and expensive. The Toronto Convention Centre was no different, except for two food trucks that were hard to miss as they were parked INSIDE the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. One was selling decent looking tacos, and the other doing pretty good business in pretty sizable beef brisket poutine and fried Nutella bombs. Yes, you heard me. Artists may be too busy drawing commissions and selling all day to think about food, but I am a writer, and I need to eat.
All comic cons seem to be experiencing a surge in popularity and Toronto ComiCon is no exception, having grown from a fan appreciation event into a two day convention of its own. The floor quickly got crowded and the show sold out, much to the surprise of many regulars, and to the dismay of some of the would be attendees who had traveled some distance. Artist Mike Zeck (Captain America, Punisher) made a rare appearance and signed many, many books for fans. Before the show opened, he chatted with some of the other artists, and shared some war stories in producing Marvel’s crossover series Secret Wars.
To ward off the inevitable food coma after consuming a big bucket of poutine, I bypassed the convention center coffee stand and two intimidating Daleks, in search of the Second Cup, a Canadian chain similar to Starbucks. $2 bought me an excellent cup of rich coffee that beat Starbucks, and a wifi code that worked in the nearby convention lobby area as well.
8 pm rolled around quickly enough after that. Artist/writer Katie Cook (Gronk, My Little Pony), illlustrator Agnes Garbowska and I gathered at a nearby Thai restaurant with Craig and his friends Mike Del Mundo (Marvel cover artist) and Marco D’Alfonso (Deadpool). It was perhaps the opposite of Emerald City’s barcon, in that the server could only find three bottles of Sinha beer for the table, less than what many people have in their fridge. The conversation turned to talk of ponies and Bronies. I was astonished to find that Cook goes to 15 cons a year. Many comic fans are surprised to find out she is the writer on IDW’s hit My Little Pony, and not the artist. As Cook explained, it was the humor from her webcomic Gronk that got IDW’s attention.
The next day, Daylight Savings Time threw some people off, including myself (note to con organizers: always a good idea to remind people when they are about to lose an hour) Learning from the previous evening, we wrapped up Sunday by retiring to a different venue – this time the nearby Loose Moose, a large and friendly pub boasting an impressive variety of local beers and…bacon donuts.
Next stop: Orlando’s MegaCon