Victoria, BC’s Capital City Comic Con to Carve a Niche for Fandom Local, Far & Wide

14 Oct

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Victoria, the Capital City of British Columbia saw many pop culture style conventions come and go in the past thirty or so years. Some long-time residents believe the heydays were from the last century. As for the last decade and a half, the fan base will have their wide and varied opinions about those attempts. The organizations involved in bringing Capital City Comic Con to the Victoria Convention Center and Crystal Garden March 16-18th, 2018 (not to be confused with the one in East Lansing, Michigan) want to move forward in a positive light. They are Cherry Bomb Toys, The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) and Tourism Victoria.

“I think our reputation with our Ultimate Toy Fair proves that we can do it,” revealed Biagio and Candice Woodward. “We’re on show twenty (of year ten) and we’re constantly learning. We listen to our vendors, we listen to our crowd and that’s the key. If you don’t then you’re going to miss important things.”

With these three different groups involved, the workload is spread out. No matter what hiccups may take place, the plan to make this city Nerdtoria during the start of Spring Break. To come here from afar will include more than simply experiencing the British charm and appreciating the garden city when the flowers bloom. If town hall will allow it, geeky street decorations might cover the pathways along the Inner Harbour where this event will take place. That’s been the shortcoming from certain past events and Biagio will do his best to make it happen. In fact, he would love to see all of downtown Victoria decorated in it.

No guests have been revealed yet. A few will be made closer to when ticket sales begin in December and more will be made closer to the show. Resident artists like Ken Stacy (Astroboy), Gareth Gaudin (Perogy Cat) and Dan Schoening (IDW’s Ghostbusters) will most likely be present. This event will not just be about comics either. There will be a look a gaming culture (not just video) and a glimpse at what this island can offer to Hollywood producers as the place to come film in. As for entertainment guests, that depends who fans like to see. My wish is to meet Todd McFarlane (Spawn) or Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool). They both lived/ visited the island. Woodward is putting the word out to sponsors who have yet to come on board: “If they want to bring in a specific star or artist then we’re open for it.”

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The Force is strong with Biagio (pictured right) in wanting this city’s downtown core revitalized. Photo Credit: DVBA

Maybe a few performers who are scheduled to arrive in this town to film the next Hallmark Channel movie might appear. This town is developing a reputation for being the place to film for this network. The celebrities from Pup Stars and Disney’s Descendants made this city their home with two movies under each of these franchise’s belt. Who knows, a third might be in the works. But celebrity appearances do not sell a festival. They help create interest. Biagio wants activities to help bring the community together and to make the public aware of, if not become involved in, their continued charity work (the Ultimate Toy Show raises funds and awareness to the MS Society and BC Children’s Hospital). This bigger event may well expand to include other organizations.

This convention is being made by fans for fans. Many ideas are being considered, including bus tours to Hatley Castle, where X-men 2, Deadpool 2, Descendents and Poltergeist the TV Series were filmed. Nothing is set in stone yet because setting a budget is important, and as for which ones will materialize for the first-year will depend on what people want. The DBVA will have their top event coordinators involved and the promoters want to hear from everyone, naysayers included, to make this show work. Locals will have to put those ‘problems’ in the past. Interested folks can offer their thoughts at https://www.tourismvictoria.com/capital-city-comic-con/contact

All ideas will be considered. “Ultimately, we want to expand this event to an area where we can do something more active and fun for everyone,” said Biagio.

He even acknowledges special screenings can take place at the The Vic Theatre located half a block away. Not every city has the convenience of having specific types of venues this close. One news report suggests this show might rival Fan Expo Toronto or Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. It will take a couple of years to hit that level; no success happens overnight. Gottacon took years to finally move from Pearkes Recreation Center to Downtown Victoria before folding and the rest (I-Con, LANtasy, Tsukinocon), interest in them depends on each individual’s tastes.

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Biagio has a different thought. He said the City of Victoria has its own taste, its own feel, which will make this convention different from others. This show is not out to compete. “We’re going to do everything we feel is best for the city,” noted Woodward, “[This event] emphasizes who we are as an island and everything you expect when you come here to have that island experience.”

Perhaps this event might offer boat tours up the Inner Harbour and into the beautiful Gorge waterway with a celebrity. Photos with this natural backdrop will make for a better keepsake than the typical ones taken at a convention’s photo booth. In whatever shape this event becomes, this organizer said, “We want to bring a show that’s going to be sustainable for decades to come and have it grow for all the kids [within us all] to enjoy.”

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