Sunday, July 6, 2008

Paradise Toronto Comic Con: Weekend in Review

Hello again, one and all. I'm not apologizing for my absence but as you've noticed the blog has not updated weekly as promised.. so here's my one get out of jail free card to be redeemed at the local police station (*note to players this card only works well in monopoly, or, in Canadian monopoly).

Getting down to it, the main reason for my disappearance was of course an excellent one, the Paradise Toronto Comic Con and preparations for said event. So without further ado here is my Con report, with special bonus of reviews of the following films:

The Love Guru
Hellboy II

Today will also feature a video from Bryan J. Glass from Wizard World Philly. Look out for the Toronto Con panel coverage coming tomorrow.

Friday: Toronto Comic Con

With an early morning start I was tasked with the incredible honor and special privilege to acquire the talented artist and co-creator of Atomic Robo: (head nod) Scott Wegener. With the help of my good friend PJ, bandmate and drummer for Crush Luthor (, we ventured to the fabled and mystical land of the Toronto International Airport. There we picked up our package of one very confused American, the confusion being related to who is this strange driver. After introductions we departed for the downtown semi-metropolis arena that is Toronto.

Upon arrival Scott was promptly folded into the culture of Canada by experiencing peameal bacon at Fran's Diner followed by Tim Hortons coffee. After he finished his salad with a side of bacon we were greeted by this writers very necessary editor and girlfriend, as well as hidden robots very own Mary Brickthrower ( and worthy accomplice Sean Mcmanus.

The cultural exchange continued into the evening as we ventured into trendy King St. territory to show everyone where the Con hotel was located. We met up with hard-working Con constructors and friends and attempted to have a relaxing get-to-know at the hotel bar but were eventually thwarted by a thin-mouthed villainous looking maitre'd who very much resented having to serve drinks unexpectedly. This gave Mary the opportunity to show off her crossword prowess and allowed Sean to speak about the many secret projects he has in progress which he cannot discuss yet still feels the consistent need to mention. It was eventually decided to call it a night as the rest of the weekend was fast approaching and we thought a modicum of sleep might be beneficial to the days ahead.

Saturday: Toronto Comic Con

We woke early and headed down to the hotel to make sure that all the preparations were ready for our part in the festivities of running the panels. Having normally only moderated panels before this weekend, I decided to bring along a lovely assistant to keep me in time and check, and quite frankly, I couldn't have done it without her (*editor's note: the assistant is currently typing this and has not at all embellished the dictation she has received from the boss).

The first panel I had the fortune of moderating was the Writer's Guide to Comics (look for the video tomorrow) and after that, "How to Break into the Business" by Glass House Graphics' Dave Campiti and special guest Will Conrad. Both panels had full attendance and answered many questions from the guests and sparked a lot of creative energy. The next panel of the day was "Webcomics - the Future of the Medium?" and featured the studio Transmission X, Danielle Corsetto, Jeff Moss and Dan Simon of webcomic 'No Reason', and Tyrone McCarthy. The panel was so well attended that not only had seating overfilled for guests but we pulled in extra seating for panelists also. It was a packed house filled with humor, questions and informative banter.

The next panel of the day was 'Women in Comics' hosted by Liana K of Ed the Sock fame ( and featured various attendees. The unique thing about this panel was its approach; it was a less conventional setup and was more like a get together of good friends, creators, and conversation. Big thanks to Liana for making this happen and doing it in a way that brought a fresh feeling to the panel format and an inviting atmosphere all round.

The last panel of the day was the Hero Initiative Sketch Off and we moved it into the hotel bar to give people a nice moment to relax even though they might still be working. Special thanks to C.K. Russell, Will Conrad, Pat Oliffe, Francis Manapul, and Andy Belanger of Transmission X for their great pieces. These went on silent auction for Sunday and all proceeds went to the Hero cause. Thanks to Nancy and Richard Zajac from the Hero cause for their work in this charitable event :)

With the last panel of the day done it was time to get to the nightlife... I'll keep it short and just say it was sweet. A fun time was had by one and all as we filled the hotel bar into the wee hours of the morning. Great idea by Doug with handing around the awesome drink tickets.

Sunday: Toronto Comic Con

It was a sleepy start for many due to an unexpected fire alarm around 3:30am in the hotel but with coffee of choice in hand we all persevered for the goodness that is Comic Con. The panels of the day were kept light to allow for fans and artists to complete any commissions or signings without too much hindrance to their day. The first panel was hosted by Jenn Stewart and was all about Creating Comics for Kids.

The Paradise Con Mystery Panel... video tomorrow!

Blake Bell gave us an intimate look at his new book about the world of Steve Ditko; thanks to Blake for choosing our show and everyone should definitely look into this great book.

And as promised, brief movie reviews:

Wanted: Its not the book, I knew that going in, was happy to see a mindless action movie, with a different take on itself.

Wall-E: A bloody fantastic film, take EVERYONE you know to it.

Love Guru: Stephen Colbert stole the show, rent it on dvd.

Hellboy II: It was so nice to see scale on the big screen, the middle was a bit off but hell if I complain, its got some real ass kickin stuff.

Up Next in movies will be the long-awaited Dark Knight!

In the meantime please enjoy this video from my friend and Mice Templar co-creator Bryan J. Glass.

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