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December 31st, 2015
Spark Comic #83 - Conventions 2015
Hellow Sparky-Fans! I'm here to close out the end of 2015 with a summary of all the conventions I've been to in 2015. This year was a record for me as I attended 3 conventions, including one I'd never been to before. I went to these conventions as a break while I was doing my Masters thesis over the summer. I enjoyed them, some more than others, but thought I'd make a comic briefly sumarizing my experiences with all of them, and not just Anime North like I do every year.
Last year, I didn't like Anime North for a variety of reasons. It just didn't feel right and was quite disappointing. Anime North 2015, however, was a blast! I enjoyed every moment of it. I went to fun events, saw and caught up with many good friends, meet some new people, and got to see all different sorts of costumes. It felt quite different than last year and made me realize, perhaps I'm not growing out of this as I feared. There are so many ways I could explain why this year's AN was so great, but let's move on to the other conventions. I look forward to Anime North 2016.
I went to Atomic Lolipop in July at the Ontario Science Centre. While I had heard of A-Pop years ago and took pictures outside the venue one year, I'd never attended it myself before. Taking a well earned break from working on my thesis, I went on the Saturday to see how it is. For what it is, the ticket price is steep that by the end I honestly felt like I paid more for the Science Centre venue than the actual event itself. I've always loved the Ontario Science Centre since I was a kid when we would have countless class field trips there. It was nice getting full access to the Science Centre with my ticket and reliving (the good parts of) my childhood. I loved looking around the Science Centre... But after that, I realized there's not much to do. After an hour or two, I got so bored, I went to on an excursion on the outer rim of the Science Centre to the wooded area. There are a bunch of panels and events going on, but not many at a time, so you often have to wait a while for anything you're interested in. There wasn't much to buy either as the dealers area was quite small. On the plus side, they did have a gaming area and a space with arcade games. I went to a few panels, but the one that I enjoyed the most was the Mock Voice Acting Workshop where a professional voice actor gave people character and commercial scripts for us to read aloud. As people who know me personally might expect, I participated a lot in that thought it was really fun. Additionally, there was the aforementioned Science Centre Laser Tag which was probably their best event. It was unique and something that would only happen like this at the Science Centre and I honestly wish there was more of that as it really justified the venue. The only other unique event, if you want to consider it that, was the rave, but I didn't care for that since I don't like raves. I felt like Atomic Lolipop could've been something great, but it stumbled in a few places and wasn't that confident in its identity. I hope it improves upon that next year.
I also attended Fan Expo for a day to reward myself as I had just recently submitted my finished Masters thesis project and paper. I wasn't a fan of Fan Expo. Like I said in the comic, it's just too corporate. Company sponsors are everywhere, the celebrities charge unreasonable amounts just to be seen with them, there are no real panels or community events, and just nothing else to do but buy things. Some of the stuff you can buy is cool, but I don't like going to a convention just to buy cool things, otherwise I'd just go shopping. I want to go for the unique experience and besides the nice cosplayers, there is nothing unique about the event when it's so commitee designed that it has no soul. I liked the Artist Alley and bought some things from there, but otherwise, I didn't like much of what was there. It was less of an actual convention and more of a giant multi-branded advertisment. I'm sure others will disagree with me, but I didn't find Fan Expo very good. It just wasn't fun.
Well then, I hope you enjoyed my mini-rant about conventions and hope you had a wonderful 2015. Here's hoping that 2016 is even better for everyone. Stay Sparktacular and Happy New Year!
Note: If you'd like to see the hundreds of photos I took from all 3 conventions, you can see them on the Spark Comics Facebook Page!