Story and Photos by: Tyler Bedard

 

BACK TO THE FRONT!
It has been a couple of years since I attended this event and a lot has changed. All for the better. First off, the event is now 4 days long, starting on Thursday and ending Sunday. I think this did a lot to alleviate the traffic as my experience on Sunday, the only day I was able to attend the event, was problem free.

We got there about a half an hour before the doors opened to the public and there was already a long line outside the doors. However, they had a separate door for the press this year and after quickly registering we were on the event floor ahead of the general public. After running into an old high school friend, Phil Fraboni who is a member of the 501st, we headed over to the 501st display to take a few photos. There was no sign of Anthony Forrest yet and unfortunately we failed to meet up with him later on in the day. We then visited the Ontario Ghostbusters and Steampunk and displays that were directly behind the 501st. By that time the masses had started to flood the main hall so we headed inside.

Once inside I decided to cover the exhibitors first. Hasbro was mostly advertising their Redakai line but did have some Star Wars toys on display. They also had their popular Lego play area where adults were able to take a break while their children played. Next to Hasbro was the Space Channel booth where they were giving out plenty of free stuff and advertising their fall line-up. Primarily Doctor Who. Teletoon had the most Star Wars stuff with complete backdrops where you could take pictures with members of the 501st. They were constantly running episodes of the Clone Wars and had an advanced screening of season 4's premier episode on Friday night for those who were able to attend. Across from them was Lucasfilm's booth which basically consisted of a huge poster advertising the Star Wars movies coming on blu-ray with the movies playing beside it.

Image Comics attended for the first time. They had a huge 4-sided backdrop with plenty of books and comics for sale as well as a few artists signing. Unfortunately there were no props though. The Real Steel robot props were a crowd pleaser though. There were 3 of them on display as well as a huge Lego of Haggard from the Harry Potter franchise.

Warner Bros had the most impressive display in my opinion with a full size prop of the purple-skinned alien from the Green Lantern movie. They also had a huge wide screen poster of all the Green Lanterns. Marvel who was next door to them did not have much going on all day until the end of the day when they had an impressive cast of characters dressed in full costume. DC flanked the other side but was similar to Image with huge posters and artists signing but not much else going on.

The rest of the exhibitors consisted mostly of gaming. There was the new WB Batman game which drew long line-ups for a chance to play the demo, Nintendo 3DS cube, Ubisoft Ghost Recon, Rocksmith authentic guitar game, PS3 Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception had a huge display, Xbox 360 bunker, as well as some motion capture games, dance games and LG 3D televisions which had their girls giving away microwave popcorn in a stylish way. Rue Morgue was there with their usual ghoulish display. The vendors made up the rest of the horror genre with plenty of masks, creepy contact lenses, and other props to make your Halloween a success. There were also plenty of actors and artists signing for the horror crowds.

Anthony Daniels and Gary Kurtz were about the only Star Wars guests there this time around. But there were plenty of other guests from the ever-popular fellow Canadian William Shatner to Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar Man and Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden from I Dream of Genie. Line-ups for signing were well organized and there was plenty of room to get around the whole exhibitor floor compared to the last time I attend.

The vendors had the usual stuff with plenty of comics, toys, t-shirts and posters. The most impressive to me was Universal Designs Ltd which does officially licensed movie replica leatherwear for the likes of Batman, Tron, Marvel and of course Star Wars. The two Stormtrooper jackets were spot on with Master Replica Helmets to match. The avid biker mostly wears the leather outfits as they would be warm to wear while walking around. The Daredevil and Captain America outfits were impressive too.

The only show we took in was the Star Wars kids hour for my cousin's daughter Savannah. She had a lot of fun with my high school friend Phil playing Captain Rex as well as Commander Fox and a Stormtrooper playing all kinds of games for the kids while the parents got a chance to sit down. Other than that we took in the huge artist alley at the back of the exhibitors floor. There was plenty of great original artwork there at decent prices. My friend Gord Dufoe who I took along with me to take pictures spent most of the day there as he is an artist himself, nut by the end of 7-8 hrs we had our fill.

So this year I tried to cover a bit more than just Star Wars as this show covers Sci-Fi, Anime, Comics, Horror and Gaming. If you live in the Toronto, ON area and enjoy any of these genres you should definitely attend next years show. For the $30-40/day tickets or $79 for all 4 days, you won't be disappointed. Till next year, United We Find.

PHOTO GALLERY
To see the photo gallery containing 202 photos click here.