June is running out fast, and that can only mean one thing: Montreal Comiccon is coming up very soon! If you’ve never attended a pop culture convention, it can be an intimidating event to navigate. Trying to define what is Comiccon is an exercise in futility, because it is many things, and the answer will vary according to the person attending. It can be a little intimidating at first, because a lot of its best content isn’t necessarily easy to find unless you start roaming the corridors of Palais des Congrès.
To save you some legwork, I’ve gone over the event’s website and schedule, and came up with 10 great reasons you should attend Comiccon this year.
The feeling of community
The best thing about Comiccon is the diversity of attendees. You get people passionate about many very different things, but all are coming together in their love of all things geek. Whether you love comics, sci-fi, cosplay or games, you’ll find like minded individuals, and ones equally into other aspects of fandom, just ready to share their passions.
One of my favourite things to do at Comiccon is watch the cosplayers and marvel at the amazing efforts spent by cosplayers to create dazzling costumes. More than once I’ll pass someone and think “But how did they do this?”
This year, Comiccon features a number of conferences and panels devoted to the art of costume making. Ever wondered to make a Klingon ridge headpiece? They’ve got you covered. Doctor Who cosplay and prop building? They’ll have you building your own Dalek in no time. Ditto if you’re more into building astro-mech droids from Star Wars. They’ll also cover the ABC of navigating the Comiccon crowds without wrecking your costume, or mowing down innocent bystanders.
The wide offering of cosplay related presentations is worth checking out, even if just to satisfy your curiosity.
OVMF (Orchestre à Vent de Musique de Film)
I was sceptical about a string-less orchestra playing film music, until a few years ago, when I attended their Doctor Who concert. Wow! The OVMF ventures into rarely played repertoire, and plays it spectacularly well.
The OVMF will play music from the Marvel universe on Friday at 8:30 PM, will cover the Zelda game series on Saturday at noon and will close the convention on Sunday at 5PM with music from the James Bond movies. I can’t wait!
Admission to the concert is included with your daily pass.
Celebrities On Stage
Conventions these days are all about the celebrities, and this year’s event has to contend with the bar set by last year’s 10th anniversary event. This year again, the organizers have managed to offer a few guests like George St-Pierre, Elijah Wood, Christophe Lambert and Michael Madsen who are far from regulars on the convention circuit. With guests spanning a multitude of franchises, there should be a little something for everyone. Celebrities will be signing autographs (for a fee), doing professional photo ops (you can purchase those online ahead of time, or on site, as long as it’s not sold out) and will be doing Q&A sessions.
The complete list of guests can be found here.
Hey, it’s called COMIC con after all. Looking for a few issues missing from your collection? Many dealers will be on site with a wide inventory ranging from high priced golden age comics to the latest and greatest.
More interested in the art of comic books? Head out to Artist Alley to meet the creators of indie comics, as well as high profile artists like Kevin Eastman (co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Jim Shooter, Mike Grell, Dan Parent, Yannick Paquette and many more.
And if you need to protect your prized comics, CBCS will be on site to offer comic book grading, pressing and signature verification services.
The grand showcase for the best cosplayers around, this Saturday night event is must see if you want to see amazing costumes. And if you’re a cosplayer yourself, you can sign up for the contest.
What’s your pleasure? Art prints? T-Shirts? Collectible statues? Handcrafted items? You’ll find all of these and much more at Comiccon, ranging from new to vintage, from unique to hard-to-find. Bring cash, although more and more dealers are taking plastic.
Axes and arrows
Shoot an arrow or throw and axe… or do both!
Combat Archery is a new and growing sport that draws inspiration from dodgeball and paintball. Check out the battle arena, and stalk your opponents with a bow and foam-tipped arrows. There are many different game modes but ultimately, your goal is to eliminate the other team. Sounds like fun!
Also head out to Rage Academy for some good old-fashioned axe throwing. Man, that sounds like a great way to unwind.
Gaming (video and tabletop)
One of the hidden treasures of Comiccon is the Tabletop Gaming Hall. In there, you can join play sessions for a multitude of board games, whatever your skill level is. It’s rare that you get a chance to try a game before you buy it, so dive in and you might find a new favourite!
If you’re more into video games, check out the Indie Game Zone, where over thirty Québec independent studios will demo their games. You also get special events, game sessions, interviews with developers, live broadcasts on Twitch by well-known streamers and hours of fun. Be the first to put your hands on the best upcoming indie video games!
And don’t miss the Dreamhack Gaming Zone, where you can enter daily tournaments to win awesome prizes.
Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Come experience the exciting adaptation of the 2008 Award Winning web series by Maurissa Tancharoen, Zack, Jed, and Joss Whedon. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog LIVE! offers a whole new way to experience this!
Live performances on Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 are included with all admission tickets (that include Saturday and/or Sunday).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Comiccon is fun for the entire family, for geeks young and, euh, vintage. The event takes place on July 5-6-7 at Palais des Congrès in downtown Montreal. Tickets are onsale at www.montrealcomiccon.com and at the door. Don’t miss it!