May 9 – 11, 2014, brought about the third annual Ottawa Comiccon, inviting geeks, nerds, fanboys and fangirls alike to come out and meet some of their biggest idols, shop for discounts they wouldn’t find elsewhere and to meet a whole lot of great and talented artists. As usual I picked up my weekend pass the moment they came on sale. This year I was accompanied by my usual crew which consists of my buddies Jason, Winston, Kert (and his small crew), including new comer Keith. Now usually when I attend cons I aim to do three things: get new artwork, buy a crap load of comics, and see as many Q&A’s as I can. I usually skip over the meeting and greeting of the celeb’s because they’re usually people I find talented, but no one that is ever on my MUST-MEET before I die list.
Friday, May 9, 2014, we all sauntered into the con at 1 PM and booked it to Artist Alley right away. A handful of artists had done limited release lithographs specifically for the con and we were excited to pick up a few. Breaking Lead artists Andrew Armelin did a killer Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles litho and Rob Thibodeau did two awesome litho’s including a Leonard Nimoy Spock litho and a Freddy vs. Jason litho (which I managed to get both in the original Black & White and in Colour).
The Walking Dead co-creator Tony Moore did an exclusive litho as well of Bruce Campbell fighting zombies on Parliament Hill. We waited for an hour to be one of the firsts to grab this exclusive litho. His assistant got to keep Numbers 1 – 5, so that means our crew had to settle for 6 – 10. At this time we also visited Mike Roothe’s booth and picked up his Variant cover #1 of the gruesomely disturbing comic Nailbiter and a print of Rob Ford as a Marvel Watcher floating over the CN Tower, maybe not the most politically correct, but still horrendously funny.
The Q&A’s for the day included Charisma Carpenter of Buffy/Angel fame and Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame. Carpenter was the only celeb all weekend who refused to allow anyone to take photos during her Q&A. I understand the whole “no flash” and “no video” requests, but it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth when the guests don’t even let you snap their photo as they come to and leave the stage. Turns out that was not the only thing about Carpenter’s Q&A that would leave a bad taste in my mouth… talk about the most uninterested and uninteresting person in the world. Her Q&A was by far one of the most boring Q&A’s in the world, and it was plagued by technical difficulties that the useless moderator didn’t even bother getting off his ass to address. After about 15 minutes of Carpenter ranting about how she wants to work with the likes of Stone, Scorsese and Tarrantino and giving what felt like looks of disdain at some of the questioners I had had enough and stopped paying attention.
Giancarlo Esposito’s Q&A was the exact opposite of Carpenters. He came out and talked to the audience more on an equal footing and came with a message to talk about. Esposito was all about getting in touch with humans as humans and creating space and learning to be able to live in silence and rest and peace. It was a little preachy at times but thoroughly engaging. He also walked us through his preparation steps for working on a film set and really delved into what it was like to play such an amazing villain on the set of one of the greatest shows on television. Keith also went up and had a great back and forth with Giancarlo during the Q&A time really delving into some of Esposito’s lesser known works.
May 10, 2014. I ran a little late this morning and didn’t get to the Centre until 9:15. It wasn’t long before we hopped into line to go to the Summer Glau Q&A. I’m a Firefly fan. I’m an Arrow fan. Glau is all over the place and I was very excited for this Q&A. It was alright. Status quo. Nothing too big to write home about. Nothing revealing other than that if Glau were a kitchen utensil it would be a ladle made out of olive wood.
We skipped the Christopher Lloyd Q&A as we had been warned that he does horrible Q&A’s and is really boring. Instead I went back to artist alley met up with Rob Thibodeau (of Breaking Lead) again and bought a piece of artwork of The Hulk that he had done on a blank variant comic cover. I also did a crap load of shopping on the Saturday picking up lots of different comics and graphic novels at ridiculously low costs.
I have never been a huge Bruce Campbell fan, but we hit up his Q&A and it turns out that Campbell is the king of deflection. Rather than doing a Q&A himself he brought people in the audience up on stage and allowed the audience to ask them questions instead. Jason got to go up and sit there for a while and not really say anything. At least he was entertaining in the way he handled his Q&A. Sean Astin is a phenomenal speaker and he thoroughly engaged himself with the audience taking all the questions, refusing to end when his time was up, and yet managed to remain charming, well-spoken and fully engaging the entire way. He did confirm that The Goonies 2 is happening which is exciting. The final Q&A we attended for the day was the Skype call with Leonard Nimoy, who is too old to travel nowadays, but was very excited to Skype in and chat with us, or at least he appeared to be. He’s very good natured and laughs a lot at his own jokes. He was a delight to watch, I only wish he could have been able to come himself.
Keith had an interesting run in with Charisma Carpenter on this day as well, but that’s his story to tell, not mine… maybe if he reads this he’ll share it in the comment section.
May 11, 2014. Keith and I decided to meet Summer Glau and get our photo with her, it made us a little late for the Karl Urban Q&A, but she was just such a pleasantly happy person and it was great to meet her. Urban was funny. Highly engaging. He shared stories from set. He talked about how he would have refused to do Dredd if he had been asked to take the helmet off. He also implied that he was glad that Almost Human was cancelled. He followed up by saying he feels sorry to the fans, but is excited to be able to spend time with his family again.
Robert Englund, Freddy Kruger, came off pretty conceited at times, but he definitely didn’t disappoint as he went into Freddy mode a couple of times. He spent a lot of time talking about growing up and how long it took him to make it in Hollywood. He also name dropped a lot. The final Q&A of the con was Ray Park, Darth Maul, from Episode 1. Park was hilarious. High energy. Super ADD. He also did a lot of demonstrations which was awesome. He brought fans up on stage and taught them how to use a light saber and also taught the audience how to ninja run. So much fun.
On Sunday Keith and I popped over to the Heroes of the North booth and met up with some of the cast there and had good conversations all around. I also popped over and chatted with Tom Fowler, an amazing local artist who has worked on Quantum & Woody and Hulk Season 1. I bought one of his graphic novels and he sketched a character on the inside for me. He’s working on a children’s comic right now that has a lot of different science experiments and he seems really excited about it.
Near the end of the day Kert, Keith and I lined up next to Sean Astin’s autograph line and the moment he came out we started an extremely slow and loud RUUUUUUUUUUUUDDDYYYY chant with slow clap. As we accelerated in our chant Astin ran down the line waiting for his autograph high-fiving everyone and rounded the corner coming back towards us… we were ready for high-fives… he wanted us to carry him back to his booth in Rudy fashion. Didn’t exactly work… but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. Kert has it on video, I believe.
We popped by the food court a few times throughout the weekend, because it’s in our human nature to eat, and one of the coolest things about this year’s food court was that The Clocktower Pub brewed a special Comiccon beer called Kapow. It was delicious. I’ve only recently started getting into more craft beers and it definitely comes across the palate as more of wheat ale/fruity taste to it, but regardless of whether I’m right or wrong on what kind of beer it is, it was delicious nonetheless.