The Pacific Northwest has many conventions which takes place throughout the year. To have another one in the landscape simply shows the love for pop culture fandom is big in this part of the world. In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, locals have an event they can proudly call their own. Its inaugural event was a stellar success and smoothly run. Visitors can enjoy more than the gardens this city is well known for. For people who have yet to visit, they can come over to Vancouver Island and discover Capital City Comic Con (4C)!
The Victoria Conference Center and Crystal Gardens played host to its inaugural show from March 16th to the 18th, 2018. The date for next year has yet to be announced, and this celebration is not out to compete with the big shows like Emerald City Comic Con or Fan Expo Vancouver. Instead, this event is spotlighting talent from this country, what it means to be Canadian and ensure everyone is having fun.
“Because the National Toy Museum of Canada is one of the three groups that is the entity of Capital City Comic Con, we want to do our best to have Canadiana as our core,” said Biagio Woodword, the chief and one of the creative minds behind running this show.
The other two organizations include Tourism Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association. While their goals are different, to know Cherry Bomb Toys is at the forefront shows the heart is in the right place.
Local groups, like the 501st Outer Region Garrison and VicLUG (LEGO) not only entertained but also showed to the public just how active they are. To have master class builder, Robin Sether, present shows how closely connected he is to the island. The weekend after this show is Tillicum Centre’s LEGO Mania display. On a nice sunny day, the local chapter of Medieval Chaos and the Society of Creative Anarchism showed to the public that just because people call these gatherings comic book conventions, the spotlight is not always going to be about comic book heroes. Inside, the local tech sector had CodeName Entertainment as their representative. Their game Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms caters to many a D&D geek.
When this event had Canadian (most with dual citizenships) talents like Bret Hart (WWE), Tracey Moore (Sailor Moon) and Leah Cairns (Battlestar Galactica 2004) appearing, the niche to spotlight this country’s terrific talent is made. To remind us of Sliders, Forever Knight, Poltergeist the Legacy, Highlander the TV series, X-Files, Stargate SG-1 and Battlestar Galactica 2004 series is a great idea; perhaps that’s the reason why three celebrities from the BSG appeared than one.
“Victoria is a totally different market than Vancouver,” revealed Woodward. “A fan here may be ecstatic over one of the guests we got, like James Marsters, but elsewhere, the attitude is like ‘Oh, we saw him last week.’”
This philosophy includes who is in the show room. Those from this city and not can find all the nerdy Victoria-based (some Etsy) operations under one roof. Well-known local vendors like Baggins Shoes, Cube Dudes, Dragon Impact and TurnTable Records were here. Larger operations like London Drugs had show specials. Island talent included Ken Steacy (Astroboy), Dan Schoening (IDW’s Ghostbusters), Jordan Stratford (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency) and Gareth Gaudin (The Perogy Cat). From Vancouver, production artist John Gallagher loves coming to small events to chat with fans about his work in The CW’s The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. He’s on the team to visualize the big-screen Aquaman, and this gent is excited for the opportunities coming to him.
Out of all the celebrity events in the main theatre, the Patrick Warburton and Chapterhouse Comics talk were the big draws on Saturday. To listen to how Jay Baruchel got involved with this company and how he is championing Canadian works was very inspiring! He’s best known as the voice of Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon and has come a long way since co-hosting the show Popular Mechanics for Kids (1997-98). He appeared in Tropic Thunder and created the character of Johnny Klutz for Goon and its sequel Last of the Enforcers. Now, he’s very invested in putting Chapterhouse on the map. He is the chief creative officer and writes for the comic, Captain Canuck.
During the panel, discussion of where this property is going took center stage. Creator Richard Comely, Executive Officer Fadi Hakim and Baruchel talked about their company and its many properties. They said Canadian made products (not just the heroes or heroines) needs better representation in the comic book industry. They even offered great words of encouragement to would-be creators in the audience. For movies, Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics Universe do not have to dominate. As for when a Captain Canuck film will happen depends on the backdoor politics and negotiations that needs to take place. This means having the right producers feeling very gung ho about moving forward. Who knows, perhaps Chapterhouse may open their own studio like Burnaby-based Arcana Comics did, and produce the film themselves. This west-coast company produced their own all-ages friendly TV show like Kagagi: The Raven and films like Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom and The Clockwork Girl.
For Capital City Comic Con, Biagio said the organizers are open to hear from any company wanting to come here and show the breadth of their work. “Anything that’s comic based, obviously we want help to push that industry more. The creator talent we have helps the TV and movie industry decide on what to make. We want to support them as much as we possibly can, and our event is the place,” said Woodward.
When this event is not enough, the wait is not long for Camosun College’s Comic Arts Show (April 14, 2018) and Cherry Bomb’s Ultimate Toy Fair (April 28 & 29)! Both are smaller shows with different goals. The nerdery in this city does not have to end with this one event.
For more content from Ed, please visit his blog, otakunoculture.com or follow him on Twitter as @edohotep. He is a writer living in Victoria, BC and tracks all things nerdy in the Pacific Northwest. He also writes for Absolute Underground Magazine and Drunk in a Graveyard.