So, my after action report for Ottawa Comic Con is very overdue. It’s been over for more than a week, but most of the events are still fresh in my head.
Three days’ worth of convention, this was also the third year of the con, and it seems like it’s growing very rapidly. For a con in its third year, the guest list was quite impressive, but then Ottawa is a fairly large city, and does have a pretty significant geek crowd, especially when you consider the Ottawa–Hull region is more than one million people. Ottawa absolutely needed a major convention, and now it has one.
That said, the venue won’t support any further growth, though I expect they’ll have to have it there one more year to figure that. It has only one really big room for the A list celebrities (and it is a very big room, seating was easy most the time), but only four smaller meeting rooms for other panels. Granted most of those would sit a couple of hundred people each, with, I think, the biggest one getting 500 in a pinch, but there are still only four rooms. The convention floor is big, with a lot of different aspects of geekdom represented, and Artist Alley was pretty impressive too. I would say as big as Fan Expo, or at least very close.
And the guest list was pretty impressive.
Friday was a very relaxed day for us, and I only went to one panel, with my son, to see Neal Adams. Mr. Adams gave an entertaining lecture on how the comic book publishing industry almost killed itself in the 50s and 60s, mainly through stupidity. Favorite quote of the evening, closely paraphrased, “No one ever got rich betting against human stupidity”. After that, I took the girls shopping on the convention floor while my wife and son went to see Giancarlo Esposito of, among other things, Breaking Bad fame.
Saturday was spent mainly in Q&As or in line for Q&As. In order, we went to see Christopher Lloyd, Sean Austin, Bruce Campbell, and, of course, live via Skype from his living room, the legendary Leonard Nimoy.
I had debated, or at least appeared to, whether or not I wanted to spend the time in line to not see Mr. Nimoy in person. Stupid. There was never any doubt that I was going. Nimoy, Spock, doesn’t really do public appearances anymore. He retired from the convention circuit I think about five years ago and his health isn’t good (COPD). My last real chance to see him live was before my family and I started to do the convention thing, I think 2007 or 2008 at Fan Expo. One of my great regrets is that we never really did the conventions when we were living in Toronto, to focus on other things. I haven’t gone back to look at the guest lists, but I’m sure I probably missed opportunities to see James Doohan and DeForest Kelly while we were living in the city. Now it’s my plan to never miss an opportunity to see one of the original Star Trek cast members speak. And that includes via Skype. If Mr. Nimoy is doing the same thing at Fan Expo this year, and I really hope he is because he said he’s contracted to do seven appearances in 2014, I’ll stand in line for a couple of hours for that too.
On Sunday, we arrived early to catch Christopher Lloyd for an autograph, the only one we got this time. (Well, technically, I got Leonard Nimoy’s autograph as well, but those were signed for the convention and shipped ahead of time, not as I watched.) Mr. Lloyd was pleasant and personable, and shook everyone’s hand. My son actually asked him a question that “has been bothering me my whole life, sir. What does a yellow light mean?” Mr. Lloyd laughed and shook his hand again. “Slow down.” (Taxi reference.)
We debated Bruce Campbell, but the line up was easily two hours long and my son and I are thinking about a photo op with him in August at Fan Expo (because the idea occurred to us too late for Ottawa).
A little more shopping and browsing and we left the con around. I would have like to have stayed for the Robert England Q&A, but with two kids showing early signs of Con Crud and a long drive home, we decided it was time to call it a weekend.
Pictures are up on Facebook here. Didn’t take as many as I have sometimes in the past, but there were some pretty impressive costumes.
Be well, everyone.
And if you’re going to Anime North in Toronto this weekend, please let me know.