This past weekend the CE Centre was overrun with a fabulous array of self-styled geeks, freaks and misfits attending Ottawa’s first ever Comiccon. Costumed attendees pulled out all the stops with everything from amazingly detailed Steampunk gadgets and gizmos, to scantily clad villains and vixens. There was even a working replica of the The Delorean Time Machine (for the uninitiated, that’s the time machine from the Back to the Future movies that looks a bit like the love child of an 80’s era Toyota Corolla and a Lite-Brite).
Despite large crowds and lineups, the length of which would put a Krayt Dragon to shame, the energy was positive and the people were all smiles. There was a feeling of camaraderie in the air as the multitudes gathered to meet great legends of geekdom and peruse the dozens of booths filled to the brim with fanboy paraphernalia. Along with panel discussions including favourites like William Shatner, Jeremy Bulloch and Lou Ferrigno, there were also creative break-away sessions where Comiccon attendees could learn the basics of Steampunk gadgetry or the intricacies of Imperial armour.
As a first time convention goer, there was a bit of a learning curve for me in terms of merchandise and etiquette. In terms of merch, I had very much underestimated the costs associated with this kind of event and what I could expect to pay for. For example, seeing the opportunity to meet John De Lancie (“Q” of Star Trek: Next Generation fame), I quickly hopped on the line ride only to discover that any photo ops or autographs had a price tag attached.
Depending on who you were interested in, you could be shelling out anywhere between thirty and seventy-five dollars for a famous scribble or celeb photo. A bit out of my price range, but then there was no cost to just say hello which was not at all discouraged. This is how I found out that Marina Sirtis (Deana Troi also from the Next Generation cast) is an awesome, down-to-earth individual who really seems to take joy in meeting her fans, of which I am a big one.
In terms of etiquette, it’s important to note that each guest has different rules when it comes to taking their picture or recording them. Some speakers will allow for photos during the first few minutes of their panel discussions, while others don’t mind at all if you snap away the whole time. Others still don’t appreciate it when people jump the autograph line to take a quick picture. If in doubt, ask a volunteer, but if you’ve been given rules it’s best to adhere to them to avoid ticking off the guests…I mean who really wants to be on Shatner’s shit list?
The one thing that was a bit disappointing was that some of the amazing workshops were during the panel discussions, and unfortunately once the workshops began the entry doors were locked. It wasn’t possible to duck between the two sessions unless perhaps you started in the workshop, but then you would be out of luck for decent seats in the panel discussion and the chance to ask the speaker a question. To be honest though, this is really a complaint that there was just too much awesome for me to take in at one time! Overall, this is one event I do hope will become a regular event for all of us Ottawa otaku.