Fans Steal the Show at Toronto ComiCon 2014
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Fans Steal the Show at Toronto ComiCon 2014

With their exceptional cosplay and good con manners, the fans of Toronto ComiCon were also the stars.

The highlight of Toronto ComiCon 2014 was unquestionably the fans.

There were certainly some exciting celebrity guests, including cast members from television shows ranging from Breaking Bad to Bitten, and even Sean Astin and Billy Boyd (who play the hobbits Samwise and Pippin respectively) from the Lord of the Rings films. There were comic artists, animation voice actors, and renowned professional cosplayers. Still, there was a sense that 2014 was a somewhat low-key year for guests, with no one creating quite the level of excitement generated by last year’s guests (Sir Patrick Stewart! LeVar Burton!). And as much as the high-profile guests in attendance this year still drew fans, participated in panels, and gave fascinating interviews, it was the fans themselves who made this year’s Toronto ComiCon special.

The excitement and dedication of the fans were reflected in their costumes, which—from a stunning version of the Queen of Hearts as portrayed in Tim Burton’s 2010 film version of the story, to a spot-on Wolverine complete with smoldering (fake) cigar—reflected an incredible attention to detail. There were also some exceptionally creative mashups, including a Deadmau5/Deadpool hybrid.

We were impressed not only by the costumes themselves, but also by the conduct of the fans. During our time at ComiCon, we saw fans asking politely before snapping pictures, and approaching cosplayers respectfully for photos or group poses. This was particularly good to see, as Toronto ComiCon and parent company FanExpo Canada had promoted the event by encouraging participants to “cuddle a cosplayer”—a move that was widely criticized for encouraging an unsafe con environment, especially at a time when cosplayer safety and con harassment policies are garnering more and more attention. Luckily, the fans took it upon themselves to build a positive environment for those in and out of costume.

Fans were also responsible for some great acts of charity. For example, the Ontario Ghostbusters were out in force to honour one of the film’s stars and writers, Harold Ramis, raffling off proton packs to raise both money and awareness for the Vasculitis Foundation of Canada. While the official programming was solid, and provided opportunities to learn about everything from moulding your own Star Wars stormtrooper mask to the delicate art of tea duelling, the attendees of Toronto ComiCon ended up being the highlight of the weekend.