The word fan should always be thought of in terms of its root word: fanaticism – because that word best describes the fanatical devotion and post-adolescent obsession that many people have with comic books, TV series and movies.
A few Saturdays ago I experienced first-hand fan-demonium when I entered Place Bonaventure for the 2011 Montreal Comiccon.
When I entered the Montreal Comiccon convention it was hot and hazy, a huge crowd of over 10,000 people had made it to the convention center after a three hour wait to get in. There was excitement and perspiration in the air; the kind of perspiration that nerds get when thinking about buying merch and comics. I was very excited too.
Many in the crowd were not afraid to show their devotion and were dressed up as their favorite crime fighters and villains or video game heroines. The spectacle of having all these costumed convention-goers really makes this event special, especially when compared to attending a business luncheon or a franchisee information session convention.
Some of the costumes were amazing (like the Hulk costumes that inflated every time Bruce Banner got angry), others were just plain weird, like the Space Troll (pictured above).
But what really made this years Comiccon bigger and battier than ever was the arrival of Adam West and Burt Ward aka Batman and Robin from the campy 60s TV series. Protected by a fierce legion of mercenary security guards, their arrival was one of the reasons this was the largest Montreal Comiccon to date, including a record number of booths and stars from the world of sci-fi, fantasy and horror.
Besides taking a stroll around the convention center, anyone could go into discussion hall to listen to the many legendary guests speaking about their experiences in “the business”.
On Saturday Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis spoke about their experiences on the set of Star Trek: TNG. Marina spoke about what it’s like to wear such tight fitting clothing compared with rest of the cast, and Michael Dorn discussed the hours spent in make-up before shooting.
The conferences were an interesting part of the event and a good opportunity for the fans to get up-close and personal with their favorite stars.
Doug Bradley, the man who played Pinhead in the Hellraiser series also gave a talk on his career in horror films. One memorable quote from him, when asked about the re-make of Hellraiser, he said, “They shouldn’t make re-makes. They should never make re-makes.” He went on to say that people shouldn’t pay for re-imagined movies; Instead they should download them. Okay, thanks for the advice.
The comic book convention is not only for established artists – we also find independent artists trying to sell their comics and creations. What makes this convention so great is that anyone can get a booth and display their art work. Who knows who might be the next big thing? Just in case, I asked everyone to autograph their work.
Speaking about autographs: The autograph industry seemed to be doing quite well at Comiccon, some legends were asking for 100 dollars per encounter/autograph – even during a recession! It was too steep for many people, like myself.
Highlight at Comiccon was definitely having my picture taken in the DeLorean DMC-12, the car from Back to the Future, whose Irish maker pretty much tanked in the early 80’s.
On a “dark” side note: not everyone was happy with the arrival of Adam West: some of the local artists who had rented booths (for around $280 for the entire weekend), were unhappy that the Montreal Comiccon doubled their price over last years event. But others were happy to see so many local and independent comic writers and illustrators being able to display their work.
Another year, another hundred-comic pond at my feet. I had to literally pull myself from the event for fear of spending all my money on merch. See you next year, Comiccon!
Pictures by Iana Kazakova