Maybe no convention will ever compare to San Diego Comic-Con, but cities around the world are certainly giving it a try. At Montreal ComicCon this weekend, an impressive list of special guests and an electric convention center made for a convention that would truly make any geek happy (I can personally attest). While it’s easy to be proud of your home city for embracing geek culture and putting on one hell of a show, it’s even more amazing that this is part of a bigger trend: conventions are getting bigger and better all over the world. As all my non-American geek compatriots can understand, this is a big deal.
Montreal this weekend had an all-star cast of special guests. Though Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith had to cancel at the last minute, the convention could still boast a special event and photobooth with the entire bridge crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation including geek legend Sir Patrick Stewart. Add to that a couple of members of the Battlestar Galactica cast and Arrow‘s Stephen Amell, and you have…well, you have heaven.
Talking to the spokesperson for Montreal ComicCon this week, Jason Rockman, he estimated as many as 60,000 people would pass through the convention. Next year they’re moving it up to early July because they need an even bigger venue. Montreal isn’t alone in this trend. Toronto’s Fan Expo had Stan Lee, Dave Bautista, and more. Australia’s Supanova has Natalie Dormer and members of the Sherlock cast, while London Film and Comic Con has actors from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who.
We all know it’s about more than the guests though, right? At Montreal ComicCon I ran into the most convincing Ace Ventura imaginable (down to the mannerisms) among other beyond impressive cosplayers, a scarily busy tabletop gaming room, a show room floor with merchandise to make you drool, and autograph lines with jump-up-and-down excited fans. Not too many years ago you would have had to go to San Diego or New York to find that kind of atmosphere, but not anymore.
So why are conventions getting so big all over the world? Montreal Comic Con spokesperson Jason Rockman put it simply: “It’s acceptable now, it’s even cool.” Not that this is a surprise to any of us, but it’s cool to go somewhere that celebrates being excited about the things you love.