From June 5 to 7, fans of anime, comics, movies, games and collectibles gathered from across Canada in the Scotiabank Convention Center in Niagara for Niagara Falls Comic-con 2015. With an expected attendance of 25,000 fans, the convention has seen a massive increase in attendance since its debut in 2011.
What makes Comic-con Niagara Falls stand out in the crowded convention season is its emphasis on Canadian content. While larger, international brands are certainly represented, there are also such gems to be found on the exhibition floor as Toronto’s own “The Pitiful Human Lizard”, or the Canadian Comic Anthology.
With over 200,000 feet of show floor covered with vendors, exhibitors, artists and stars, attendees were able to dwell in a wonderland of retro revivals, cameos and fanfare. Panels on everything from gaming to collecting were represented on the upper floors of the convention centre, providing hard-core fans a chance to break out into smaller groups and hear directly from industry professionals.
The thing that impressed me the most was the variety of content and mediums represented. While laymen might assume that every stand and booth will be about Batman or Spiderman, it’s quite the opposite. Indie, cult hits and the lesser known reign supreme at this convention – which is an absolute breath of fresh air. While you might go to see a star from your favourite 90s show, or collect a new poster from the anime you adore, you’ll probably also stumble upon a new gem while making your way from booth to booth.
Most of the thrills come from the fans themselves. People watchers rejoice, Comic-con attendees are certainly an eclectic bunch. Off putting-ly however, there were some genuinely disturbing trends present at the conference ranging from the “brony” culture (a cult following of adult males who enjoy the animated show, My Little Pony) to some borderline grotesque body paint.
Most significantly about Niagara Falls Comic-con however, is that it didn’t feel like a Niagara event. Despite the fact that perhaps some of the celebrity talent was B-list (which includes Alfonso Ribeiro, Jason Priestly and Kristy Swanson), it seems as if they made up for it with a great roster of comic industry artists.
Sure, standing in line behind Chewbacca for an hour to get a poutine from the concessions stand can be tiring, but the experience of comic-con will appeal to fans and non-fans alike, as long as you have an open mind and an allocated budget to spend on collectibles.
The convention center was packed on Saturday June 6, with a line-up that took at least an hour to get in, but ultimately, the time spent in line seems like a moment compared to the total hysteria and tangible excitement that erupts as soon as you enter the main exhibition hall. Expect Niagara Falls comic-con 2016 to return next June. Start working on your best cosplay now.