Every year over the Mother’s Day weekend superheroes, villains, and sidekicks descend upon the National Capital Region to take part in the annual Ottawa ComicCon. This year marked the sixth year of the event and it had continued to impress and improve both visitors and locals. One of the best parts of ComicCon is how accessible it is to people who are just entering the fandom scene because this convention (con) is about more than comics. Television and film stars are a main component of the con in addition to writers, professional cosplayers, comic book artists, and graphic designers. Guests ranged from Dan Parent, best known for his work on the Archie Comics series to John Cusack, famous for roles in films like Stand By Me, Say Anything, and High Fidelity. There is truly something for everyone at Ottawa ComicCon.

Ottawa ComicCon’s website is the best place for information about the con.

If meeting celebrities or taking photos with them puts too much of a strain on your wallet, because, while those moments are precious but they are also pricey, there are a number of panels and workshops for con attendees. Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions with celebrities are popular alternatives if you can’t commit to waiting in line for an autograph or a photo session. Most headlining stars also field a Q&A session in addition to anything else they do at the con. Some extremely special events, for instance this year there was a Q&A session run by several high profile Doctor Who stars – Alex Kingston, Jenna Coleman, and Peter Capaldi (who plays the Doctor himself!). That session required an additional ticket to be purchased so that fans could attend; however, most Q&A sessions are free and they are a great way to engage with an actor or actress.

Madelaine Petsch, know for her role as Cheryl Blossom in the hit CW/Netflix show Riverdale attended this year and admitted that Ottawa ComicCon was actually her first solo Q&A. However, it did not show as Petsch took the stage she was all smiles and sweetness. She eagerly and honestly answered fans questions and always took time to compliment attendees on their costumes or their questions. It was extremely refreshing to see someone who was catapulted to fame so quickly by the sudden success of Riverdale handling her situation with true grace and style. When she was inevitably asked about what advice she would give aspiring actresses Petsch answered, “Don’t give up…Stay passionate.” While the words are cliche she delivered them with an earnestness that made them resonate. As for what she wants for her character in the second season of the show she declared, “I want her to find love, that would be beautiful.” If she wasn’t Cheryl she had no need to think about her answer, “I would be Jughead!” she replied, confessing that she had a connection with the character long before Cole Sprouse played him. Petsch also seriously fangirled when she found out Dan Parent was at the con and told all of us how excited she was to meet him. One of the wonders of ComicCon is how respectful and in awe actors, writers, and designers are of each other.

As for panels or workshops they are run by locals or visitors who simply have something they want to share with the larger fan community. Over the course of Friday and Saturday, the con runs from Friday through Sunday, I attended a panels on: anime, an innovative style of storytelling that incorporated music, graphics, and a plot line, and creating Star Wars movie accurate costumes. I also tend to spend time on the main floor of the con where booths stock everything from fudge to geeky t-shirts to swords. The main floor is the best place to admire cosplayers, people who dress up like their favourite characters from various mediums. These costumes are often extremely intricate and more intensive to create than a Halloween costume.

So, whether you’re a hardcore fan or you’re just getting into a fandom like Doctor Who or Riverdale Ottawa ComicCon will have something for you. Buy your tickets early for great prices and get ready to gear up for ComicCon 2018! Take your mom and introduce her to the other superheroes in your life or go with a group of friends who all have different interests so that you can expand your knowledge of everything ComicCon related.