Up here in Canada there aren’t a lot of big Comic Cons to go to, there are a few here and there, but truthfully most don’t bring in “Superstar” attractions. Toronto Comic Con seems to be one of the few that is trying to grow yearly with attractions and stars from various genres. This year Toronto Comic Con (younger brother to Fan Expo) was held March 18-20th. The celebrity guests included names like Will Friedle of Boy meets World fame, as well as Ernie Hudson from the classic Ghostbuster movie. To my surprise the biggest draw was from none other than Commander William T. Ryker of Star Trek the Next Generation, but recently he’s been going by Johnathan Frakes.
While Comic Con isn’t close to the size of Fan Expo it still draws impressive numbers. Guests have the opportunity to shop at a great selection of comic shops, most of the time at fantastic prices. I personally found an awesome Marvel Abomination figure for a really good price. Literally hundreds of artists display their work, and a lot of professionals show as well. This year Rob Liefeld attended, high on the popularity of the Deadpool movie. I didn’t have the chance to meet him but the line to see him was impressive.
During a Press scrum that was supposed to include Ernie Hudson and Robbie Amell, both of whom weren’t able to show, I had the chance to speak with 4 of the celebrity guests that were booked at the Comic Con. Casper Van Dien of Starship Troopers, Karen Allen from Indiana Jones, Tovah Feldshuh recently from The Walking Dead, and of course Jonathan Frakes. We were each granted about 5 minutes with the guests, which shrank or grew depending on how involved they got with their answers.
Comics Bulletin: My interest is in your voice acting career. You obviously have a very unique voice.
Johnathan Frakes: So do you (best compliment ever!)
CB: Thank you very much. You were Zanatos from Gargoyles and now you’re going to be Star Lords father (in Guardians of the Galaxy). Is it something you really enjoy?
JF: I honestly wish that there was more. I love it. It’s a very small limited group at any given time there’s really only like 100 or so people working in the industry. I go to sessions and I get to meet a bunch of people I’ve heard in different things, I’m actually starting a new show for 6 year olds called Miles from Tomorrowland, and then there’s the stuff we do for Seth McFarlane which is mainly us playing our characters. I like it because you can be in almost any city and bang it out but I really enjoy doing it where you can play off the other actors’ performance.
CB: Was there ever a time when you wanted to look at the fans that fully support the original series and say “Hey you know we lasted twice as long as the original, can you give us some credit?”
JF: (Laughing) I thought it but I never said it.
Jonathan was then pulled away by his handler to move on to the next group of reporters. I really do wish we had more time because he genuinely seemed to enjoy talking about his career.
Now I have the chance to meet Casper Van Dien. Casper was full of energy and truly seemed to enjoy his time with us, one of my fellow reporters had a few visible tattoos and Casper was quick to notice them making chit chat about how they resembled his tats in Starship Troopers. I was allowed two questions which isn’t a lot, but still I took my shot.
Comics Bulletin: Out of all the various Sci fi movies, Starship Troopers is one of the few that portrays war as it really is, not in the aspect that everyone gets murdered by giant bugs but instead that anyone can be killed at any time was this the actual point of the movie or is was it just for humor?
Casper Van Dien: “Everybody dies, nobody quits and everybody dies.” That should have been one of the quotes. Paul Verhoeven grew up in Holland and his family and their peers were part of the Nazi resistance so he really lived the horrors of war, he really truly did. I think he was trying to make a political statement and an ethical statement. He has a really dark sick perverse sense of humor I think that’s why it challenges people to talk about the issues. “It’s a pro war movie, no it’s an Anti-war movie and I’m like EVERYBODY DIES what’s the pro? It walks a line that people get so amped on I mean still to this day 20 years later people still talk about, guys yelling Johnny Rico from across the street. It’s kind of cool. That’s why he’s a brilliant filmmaker”.
CB: This is for my wife, is it Team Rogers or Team Stark?
CVD: “I was originally a huge team Cap fan but then Spidey showed up and I was like….ehhhh I might have to go with Iron Man now.”
CB: So it’s team Stark by default?
CVD: Ya, you wanna know a funny story my buddy sent me a quick gif of the trailer where Spidey lands and Hawkeye shoots him in the head, it’s horrible but really really funny.
CB: Now I have to find that one, ha ha.
At this time Casper’s handler let him know it was time to move on but it was a fun conversation
Due to a lot of restrictions for time we had very little chance to interview our next guest Karen Allen. For those who don’t know, Karen Allen has had a long career in Hollywood that has been mostly known for her role in Raiders of the Lost Ark as the love interest of Indiana Jones. She returned to the role 27 years later in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
CB: They just announced a new Indiana Jones…
Karen Allen: Did they? (Sarcastically)
CB: Yes apparently they are making a new one, do you have any idea if you will have any roll in it yet?
Karen Allen: I wish that I could enlighten us all however I think it’s a mystery right now, I think there will come a time when those decisions get made and fingers crossed maybe they’ll include me in it in some way. They being Stephen, Harrison and all the makers.
At this time I had the chance to meet Tovah Feldshuh, a wonderful woman that has a great deal of love for all forms of entertainment, be it film, television, or stage. Unfortunately I was unable to ask Tovah any questions as she was already late for a signing engagement. For my very first Press scrum I think it was rather interesting. I’m very happy that I got the chance to meet all of the guests. I was still very happy with how Touchwood Public Relations was able to pull this together.
Toronto Comic Con isn’t the biggest Con in Canada, not even close to the biggest in Northern America, but if Fan Expo is an example of what they can do, then in the next few years I can see it becoming quite popular. Even if it doesn’t, the quality and organization is far better than other Cons I have been to. It’s worth a look for first timers and old timers alike.
Fortunately for me I was able to travel with my wife. She took photos while I worked my way through the hundreds of artists. I found some fantastic work by an artist named Hugh Rookwood. He draws one of the scariest versions of Doomsday I have ever seen.
My wife and I were also able to purchase custom t-shirts from Chop Shop Goods, it was really cool to have our Team Rogers shirts made for us right there. There’s so much to comment on that I don’t have time. I came across the T-Pub booth which I have mentioned many times before, reviewing almost all of their publications and marvelling at the talent of Neil Gibson and his crew if you have never taken a look please do at http:/tpub.co.uk, while not for children their work really is amazing .
While visiting T-Pub I ran into another of their supporters, Ballistic Bambi. While not a huge name yet, this cosplayer is by far one of my favorites. She can go from a sexy Stormtrooper to a horrifying creature in no time. Seriously some of her costumes freak me out a lot.
Toronto Comic Con is an excellent show, whether it’s bringing in the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, Or the many retailers competing for your dollars. If you haven’t attended, you should. It’s a great time and you should do it before it becomes enormous like Fan Expo. With the level that they are at now it’s only a matter of time.
Written By: Kristopher Reavely