Celebrating Sci-Fi, Horror, Anime, and Gaming, TORONTO COMICON returned once again this weekend March 18-21, 2022, after a short absence amidst the Pandemic. The event at Metro Toronto Convention Centre brought out fans with a chance to meet their favourite stars and Artists, and also a chance to connect with likeminded fans. Did you know collectively, all Fan Expo HQ events bring-in a combined 500,000 attendees annually?
More than ever this year, activations focused on family with a section devoted to kids’ activities, including a meet and greet with Disney Princesses, and a Super Mario photo op on the floor, which was a big hit!
A huge draw always is Celebrities and while the event saw some last minute cancellations from the likes of John Cusack and Jenna Coleman, some marquee names like Lou Ferrigno, Aaron Ashmore, Laure Vandervoort, Adam Baldwin, Brian Herring and the stars of the original Degrassi outfit, came out to speak at panels and meet their fanbase.
Our George Kozera had a chance to sit-in a few popular Panels at Toronto Comicon and he shares some highlights.
“YOU MADE ME QUEER”
YMMQ Podcast Host, Trevor Campbell, interviewed award winning Comic Book Artist and Writer Dan Parent on how the first gay character (Kevin Keller) in the ARCHIE Comics empire came to exist. Influenced by two diverse worlds…the characters in the teenaged comic world of Riverdale as well as Director John Waters’ “Pink Flamingoes”…Parent’s first pitch to introduce a gay character fell on deaf ears “as it would not go over well in Middle America”. With new management in charge of publishing the Archie comics, a years later subsequent approach was positively received, mostly due to “the success of that TV show, Will & Grace”. Rather than out Jughead, perceived as asexual, the new character was a media sensation and that issue sold out completely. The only other time an issue was sold out when the character of Kevin was predominant was a storyline set when Kevin and was 23 years old married to a man. It created a furor when the militant left wing Million Moms Movement deemed it immoral, causing Parent to say: “Want loads of publicity and make lots of money? Piss off a million moms!”.
Q&A WITH STAR OF “KILLJOYS” AND “LOCKE & KEY” AARON ASHMORE
While identical twin brother Shawn can be currently seen on TV’s “The Rookie”, Aaron Ashmore (best known for playing Jimmy Olson on “Smallville”) regaled the audience with entertaining stories from his many projects, from being stuck in a small confined space after “Warehouse 13” Co-star Eddie McClintock broke wind, to not really getting along with Saul Rubinek or his backstage stories on working in “Killjoys” and “Locke and Key”. When we asked if there was anything Shawn had done that he was jealous of and vice-versa, he said how incredibly proud he was of his brother after watching in “X Men” and “as for Shawn, you’d have to ask him” he replied with a great smile. My favourite of Aaron’s recollection was the time he was at the Montreal Comiccon: “I saw these millions of people in line near my booth and was surprised all these people were here to see me. Then I heard a voice behind me say “Hello, young man” and it was for Patrick Stewart! And I was oh man, and said “I’m not Shawn because I knew you worked together” and he said “I know”. He’s (meaning Stewart) such a nice man and very laid back.”.
“DEGRASSI JUNIOR HIGH” REUNION Q&A
The camaraderie between the three stars on stage was palpably positive and loving. Pat Mastroianni explained that the original audition took three weeks of daily workshops with all the hopeful cast members. “We started with 80 people and then next week it was down to 50. It was like the first reality show”. When we asked if they all had issues finding work after the show ended, only Mastroianni confirmed that he really wasn’t typecast as “Joey Jeremiah” and was able to pursue a career in the business. Because Degrassi was on air before Social Media, “we knew we were hits from the media reports in the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun but we never really knew the impact we were making”. It was also fun to hear that Mastroianni’s mother was supportive and encouraging of his, now famous, walking naked in the school!
Fan Expo and Comicon are always a chance to buy some cool merchandise from local fandom-minded vendors!
It’s always a thrill seeing some of the amazing Cosplay and this year was no exception. See some Snaps (always remember to ask for permission!):
Don’t forget, FAN EXPO Canada is back August 25-28, 2022 and it is looking pretty epic. More details on some of what’s been announced so far. Get your tickets now here.