Stars came down upon Montreal, and the fans flocked to meet them during the three days of Comiccon. The organizers announced that more than 60,000 people attended the event, which is in line with previous years, although it felt a little less attended to me than in the past, based on the highly unscientific measure of how difficult it was to navigate the main expo floor. But it could also be down to scheduling doing a better job of channeling people across all three floors used by the convention.
For example, the fantastic Q&A session by Elijah Wood on Saturday was attended by a few thousand people, which would certainly help managing foot traffic. Overall, Montreal Comiccon is a well-oiled machine that runs very efficiently, as you would expect from an event in its 11th year. The only hiccup I experienced this year was having Ray Park cancel his appearances Sunday morning. I was in his autograph line and no one seemed to know what was happening. After too long, the staff started handing out numbers so we could come back later, but it threw everyone’s schedule off. Luckily, when we finally got to meet him, he was a total sweetheart and made up for it in spades.
I also wandered up to the board game room, where I found an amazingly satirical game, made in (and for) Montreal: Construction & Corruption. In this game, you run a construction crew and your goal is, of course, to take as long as possible finish your work to maximize your revenues. But be careful, if you take too long, the Mayor will get suspicious and might investigate you for corruption. You can also use your own resources to finish your opponents’ contracts quicker, throwing a proverbial wrench into their plans. Designer David Loach has come up with a quirky and irreverent game that should speak to anyone who’s ever driven through Montreal during construction season. Check them out at https://constructionandcorruption.com.
Sunday also featured the appearance of another Guest of Honour, Montreal’s own William Shatner. His Q&A was… weird. I know he has a peculiar sense of humour, but when you start your presentation by recalling how when you went to school in Montreal, teachers were allowed to discipline you physically, but you can’t do that anymore, it sets an uneasy tone. His stories tend to ramble on weaving in and around the point he’s trying to make, punctuated by… the pauses…he’s…famous for. You’ve heard of the Oxford comma, well here’s the Shatner comma. At least he made fun of his own music albums.
Still, the former Captain Kirk is a legend, and at 88 years old, every appearance he makes should be cherished. His autograph table also had a steady stream of fans throughout the day, as did a number of celebrities.
Lots of interesting dealers on the show floor, with some perennial favourites. The ‘Tower of T-Shirts’ still acts as a sort of indoor northern star to help you navigate the floor, since you can see it from everywhere. A lot of beautiful handcrafted items were available too, as well as numerous art prints from supremely talented artists. By pure coincidence, I also ran into Gabe, the artist behind the official poster for the Ottawa edition of Comiccon. Check out his stuff on Facebook.
The three days flew by, with so many activities to do. If there’s one negative to mention, it’s that, as fun as it is, the convention always seems to follow the same blueprint. At least they’ve worked hard to bring some guests that are rare on the convention circuit, like Michael Madsen, GSP and Elijah Wood, and the comics part was pretty good this year, but the bar is constantly being raised in the convention world. Can’t wait to see what the 2020 edition will bring us. Montreal Comiccon is firmly part of this city’s tradition now.