Ottawa Comic Con – Geek is still in
It’s already been a year since the first Ottawa Comic Con successfully ran in Ottawa and this year saw the event grow in terms of floor space and event management planning. The fans were out in droves again and it was great to see everyone dressed up. It’s funny, one vendor asked me why had I come to the Ottawa Comic Con and I said “Just to walk around and check it out”. I found it interesting that he would ask that and he followed up by saying that everyone seems to have a goal when they come to a Comic Con. Some people want to see the celebrity guests, or get their autographs while others are there for hard to find collectibles. It was about 30 minutes later that it dawned on me that I did have a purpose. Last year, I regretted not bringing my DSLR to shoot the pics doing cosplay people so this year, I decided to bring it. After snapping a few pics, I really got into it and I was constantly scouting for people in costume so I could immortalize them. I didn’t bring my flash so I had an interesting time balancing the exposure, shutter speed and ISO. What looked good on my camera’s 3″ back panel, didn’t always look so good when shown on my home monitor. I learned a few more tips for my photo shooting skills so that was a bonus.
Aside from myself and my wife, my best friend came into town to partake in the event. My sister and brother-in-law also made it out (my sister is all about the autographs) and another great friend of mine came along with his son (the indoctrination starts young).
This year, we decided to spend the money on the Deluxe tickets (extra $30) and let me tell you, it was worth it. We were allowed to get in on the Saturday a whole hour earlier than everyone else and when we showed up with 40 minutes to go, there was no line for us while there were literally hundreds in the general admission line. As we strolled by them, they looked at us with envy and I couldn’t help but feel a little bad. That feeling quickly evaporated when we walked onto the floor and it was so easy to get around and check out the merch (that’s merchandise for the generation above me).
I ended up picking up a few t-shirts (Borderlands 2, Portal/Half Life themed) and a subtle yet awesome Half Life ball cap. Speaking of subtle, one of the local vendors, Liebchen, that was at the show had some great lunch bags (and other gear) that had lesser known characters stitched onto them. When I started looking at the designs on the bags, my mind started working and I was seeing really obscure characters on the bags and I was like, “there is no way that those are what I think they are”. The designs were done in such a way so that the characters were minified and made cutesy for lack of a better word. The owner/artist explained the concept to me but the official name eludes me at the moment.
So erring on the side of caution, I asked the woman if one of the images was that of a stormtrooper and she was visibly offended (stormtroopers are mainstream in the comic con world. Mind you I still love the costumes). She corrected me and told me it was Marvin the Paranoid Android and I offered up the reference for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and told her that I had only seen the movie once and was more into the books (I was trying to earn geek points). Jonathan picked out an obscure character from a fairly famous Manga film and won a few points. I then felt pretty damned good about myself for pointing out the Weeping Angels from the Doctor Who episode “Don’t Blink” and I felt vindicated. Then again, anyone from the Doctor Who Society of Canada, who were in attendance at the Ottawa Comic Con, could have figured that one out as they are pretty die hard fan. They even brought along several full sized Daleks to wander the floor at the show.
Not to be outdone, the Capital City 501st Legion was also there in… ahem… force. They had a full exhibit setup near the Doctor Who society and they had some of the best costumes at the show. My all time favourite one was of a child dressed up as a Jawa. Not only was the outfit bang on, they also had a mesh bag being dragged behind him/her with C3P0s head in it (he’s only slightly less annoying that JarJar).
Costumes that I saw this year that seemed popular (aside from Star Wars) and extremely well done:[checklist icon=”asterisk” iconcolor=”#ffffff” circle=”yes”]
- Deadpool (the people who chose these had perfect body types for him)
- Wonder Woman
- Poison Ivy
The Steampunk crowd was out as well and they always seem to have the most intricate outfits. I was tempted to buy a Steampunk themed pocket watch but held back because, well.. I’m just not a pocket watch type of guy. Special kudos to the Team Fortress 2 crew who covered every single class from the game. Not only did they have the “the Cart” prop but their Heavy guy had a full sized mini gun that had to be carted around on some kind of trolley. They looked phenomenal and it was great to see them as it is a game that I’ve played quite a bit over the past 6-7 years.
In terms of the guests there, the big ones I saw were Nathan Fillion, Gillian Anderson, Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. There were others celebrities there, and no offense to them, but that is not the reason why I go to the Ottawa Comic Con. I find it a little perverse to have to pay to get in so you can pay more to get an autograph especially when the signatures cost upwards of $70 each. Nathan Fillion seemed pretty down to earch though he interacted with the crowd and seemed to be a geek as well (he got up from his signings at one point and went to get a picture with the Team Fortress 2 Heavy character and his mini-gun).
As we wandered the floor, we walked by the food court and we were instantly reminded of the disaster that it was last year (30 minutes in one line for food and then 20 minutes in another line for drinks only to sit on the floor to eat because there was no space). We saw that there were no lines (11:20am) so jumped in to grab our food and a table. My sister/bro-in-law joined us and we swapped stories of what we had seen and bought while we watched more cosplay people wander in and out of the food area.
Tip of the Iceberg
Ottawa Comic Con has a lot going on over the 3 days it runs. We barely scratched the surface as to what we could have done there. They have a gaming area where you can meet and compete at different games (Munchkin, Magic the Gathering, etc..), Q/A sessions with the guests, Photo sessions with the guests, a costume competition. Even though we were there for a short 4 hours, we had a great time and I will be definitely going to the Ottawa Comic Con in 2014. From what I’ve read, the organizer was thrilled with the turnout (exceeded expectations) so that bodes well for next year in terms of being bigger.
Here are the photos I took this year. Enjoy!