The Great Torontoist Comic Con Scavenger Hunt
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The Great Torontoist Comic Con Scavenger Hunt

This weekend, Torontoist made tracks down to the Direct Energy Centre to take in the inaugural Wizard World Toronto Comic Con. An event of this scale, aimed at Toronto’s booming fan culture, will inevitably draw comparisons to the annual Fan Expo Canada convention hosted each Labour Day Weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is a bit like comparing apples to the biggest apples in the city.
While Wizard World wasn’t as extravagant an affair as Fan Expo’s annual outing—no giant banners promoting the presence of Sony, Zellers, or Marvel, no flashy lighting or eight-dollar smoothies—it did have a lot going for it. Wizard World was decidedly smaller than Fan Expo, with even the Saturday crowd proving fairly thin and manageable. This made the event a lot more comfortable, while also engendering a type of intimacy uncommon at Fan Expo: it was easy, for example, to just stroll up to a table and chat with some of the guests in attendance, without standing in the snaking lines that typify the Swiss-watch precision of Fan Expo’s proceedings.

In order to get the most out of Wizard World, Torontoist embarked on a sort-of scavenger hunt. Staffers compiled a list of things to find at Wizard World and then we set about finding them, affording us the opportunity to explore every inch of the convention centre’s cool cement floor plan. The list ran the gamut from things you’d easily spot at an event like this (#7: Someone with a lightsaber) to the, well, esoteric (#2: Novelty items with anime chicks on them where said anime chicks’ breasts play significantly into the design of the item). After much searching, we found most of the items on the list, and resigned ourselves to cooking up excuses for everything else. So without further adieu, Torontoist presents the spoils of the First Annual Torontoist Comic Con Scavenger Hunt.
1. Somebody dressed as a Klingon.
Surprisingly, this wasn’t as easy as you’d expect. We only managed to find one card-carrying, turtle-browed member of Star Trek’s proud warrior race. The flipside was that the guy we did find was named Krikor. Not only that, but Krikor is the gentleman’s birth name, which conveniently doubles as a Klingon alias. You know when you name your kid Krikor that he’s bound to end up traipsing the halls of comic conventions in customized leather jackboots (kind of like that Seinfeld bit about naming a baby “Jeeves”). Yeah, fate can be a cruel mistress. But as the old Klingon expression goes: nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa’ e’, right?
2. Novelty items with anime chicks on them where said anime chicks’ breasts play significantly into the design of item (suggested by Christopher Bird).
No dice. Despite one staffer’s conviction that we might happen upon something like this, we searched high and low and turned up nothing. Sure, there were enough scantily clad costumed women (see #6), but nothing where the scantily-cladness of a woman contributed to the design of the product. Come on, Wizard. You call this a comic con?
3. A Ghostbuster.
Easy! This one was kind of a fix, considering that Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson (who also kicked serious ass as Warden Glynn on Oz) was scheduled to be in attendance. But we found him! And what a helluva nice guy. He was a bit tight-lipped when asked about the details of Ghostbusters 3, other than to say that if everyone agrees on the script currently in development, there are tentative plans to begin shooting next spring. So hey, that’s something.
Even cooler than Ernie Hudson were those ghost-busting cats, Brenden, Matt, and Mike. These have got to be the biggest Ghostbusters fans in town. Not only do they show up, proton packs and all, but they actually run an online radio show dedicated exclusively to the Ghostbusters franchise. These are precisely the kind of dyed-in-the-wool fans that events like this bring out in droves.
4. A guy who makes his costume out of duct tape and other household items because the actual costumes are stupid expensive (suggested by Ashley Carter).
Again, no such luck. We did spot one guy sporting a pretty lazy Deadpool getup, consisting of the red-and-black mask paired with a sleeveless red t-shirt and utility cargo khakis. But otherwise, most of the costumes were fantastic. Just check out Ken and Lisa here, looking X-ceptionally snazzy (sorry) in their custom-tailored Wolverine and Rogue costumes.
5. Someone who doesn’t want to be there, dragged along by a fan boy/girl.
Another toughie. Everyone there seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, except for maybe the toddlers being jostled around in strollers by their costumed parents (but that doesn’t really count). You also risk getting socked in the eye if you walk up to someone and pointedly ask, “Excuse me, sir/madam, but are you being dragged around against your will by your fanatical boyfriend/girlfriend?” And considering the number of people sporting homemade adamantium claws, angling to get socked in the eye would be, well, imprudent.
6. For some reason, a pack of stereotypically attractive, under-dressed women in costumes (suggested by David Topping).
Finding attractive women in skimpy costumes at a comic con is like finding a needle in a stack of needles. These three—Meaghan (dressed as Harley Quinn), Jillian (dressed as Huntress), and Jennifer (as Supergirl)—were seen posing for countless photos throughout the day.
7. Someone with a lightsaber (suggested by Miles Storey).
As you may well imagine, you can’t really swing a cat around an event like this without hitting a would-be Jedi knight, especially with the Toronto chapters of groups like the Rebel Legion and the Canadian garrison of the 501st Legion in attendance. Still, these adorable little bubs (seven-year-old Jack, on the left, and four-year-old Faith, on the right) are basically the walking embodiment of everything wonderful and childlike about the Star Wars franchise, and childhood in general really. (Which makes sense given that they’re, you know, children.)
8. Akira (suggested by Christopher Drost).
You’d think finding a copy of Katsuhiro Otomo’s seminal cyberpunk manga at a comic book convention would be easy, right? Wrong! There was really only one exhibitor hawking manga and anime exclusively, and they had sold their one copy shortly before we arrived at their booth. Foiled! But, we were told that the upcoming Anime North convention would be an excellent place to find a copy. Duly noted.
9. X-Statix #21.
I personally put this on the list thinking it’d be a fairly easy find, or at least a halfway-rare comic that one should be able to find at sprawling convention largely dedicated to comics books. After much thumbing around through dusty corrugated cardboard boxes of polypropylene-bagged comics, we could locate only X-Statix #20 and #22. Good enough…I guess.
10. Someone cashing in on the last of their WWF glory.
This one isn’t really fair. Ever since The Wrestler took great pains to make former professional arena wrestlers look like pathetic, broke-down sacks of spent masculinity, it’s become tricky to look at any faded wrestling superstar with anything but patronizing faux-pathos. Not so with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, the 1988 Royal Rumble champ and former Toronto Argonaut, who eagerly offered up autographs and firm handshakes. Hacksaw seemed genuinely pleased to meet his fans, and he presented himself with the sort-of class that’s rare amongst veterans of his sport. (Unlike say, fellow WWF star Iron Sheik sitting across the aisle, who spent all day going hoarse spewing invective about Hulk Hogan, and generally being terrifying.)
Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko/Torontoist.