Ottawa Comiccon: The Rise Of Emperor Jar Jar

For me, the theme of this year’s Ottawa Comiccon was “calm and comfy”.  I can’t remember the last time I went to a con and didn’t have a photo opp or autograph I needed to get, or something that I had to do, or a cosplay that I had to wear.  And, best of all, I could go home any time I wanted and sleep in my own bed.  There were a fair number of guests this year that I had seen at other conventions, so I decided to cut down on the scheduling stress and only attend panels I had not seen before. And since I didn’t feel the need to take the day off work for the Friday, I simply showed up for the last few hours of that day in a comfy, geeky outfit and saved all the adventure for the rest of the weekend.

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You May Call Me Emperor Jar Jar

Saturday was all about sci-fi since I was dressed up as Jar Jar Binks, took some awesome Star Wars themed pictures at the 501st Legion’s booth, and had plans to see all sorts of science fiction celebrities.

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Had a blast at the 501st Legion’s booth

I started off by attending the Q&A of Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Anthony Rapp and I went into this panel expecting to have Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery spoiled for me (I am ashamed to admit that I am still not quite caught up).  But I went into this panel thinking “I would rather have Captain Pike spoil the season for me than some stranger on the internet, so I’m ok if it happens.”  Surprisingly, it didn’t. All three actors gave some great insight into the behind-the-scenes of the show, and yet nothing was really spoiled for me.  What I loved the most was that Anthony Rapp shared that he was excited to act in a scene with Spock, but Spock (Ethan Peck) and Anson Mount were just excited to get to act alongside Anthony Rapp!  And, of course, all three of them were in awe over having gotten the chance to work with Michelle Yeoh.

 

Gina Torres was next on my list, and before I even made it to her panel I saw her being driven behind the scenes of the convention on a golf cart.  That woman was very much aware of what the fans wanted.  Between her interactions and her answers to questions, I really got the impression that she was catering this experience towards the fans.  Even her outfit included a stunning brown vest – visually, she presented us with a  more fashion-forward version of Zoe Washburn.  As she mentioned when she discussed her voice acting work, she has the kind of voice that people love to listen to, and I absolutely could have listened to her talk all day.

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So excited to go to the convention!

Immediately afterwards, I tried to get into Wallace Shawn’s panel but I was unable to as the lineup was too long for the space the Q&A was to be held in.  This was unfortunate as he was the celebrity I was most looking forward to see. And I found it odd that they would not have his panel in the main hall; The Princess Bride is such an iconic movie, and Shawn has also been a part of many peoples childhoods through the Toy Story films. Plus, with the Deep Space 9 documentary out in theatres I have noticed a lot of hype online surrounding the cast members of the show. So I am not surprised that so many people wanted to attend this panel.  I, for one, was looking forward to seeing The Grand Nagus himself. However, I did end up getting lucky when I was waiting in line for the Crystal Basement show – he was walking down the hall and I got to stand about 5 feet away from him. So I at least got to see Wallace Shawn; I just hope that I’m the future I have another chance to attend one of his panels.

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Got our picture taken at the Crystal Basement show

Finally, unlike last year, I was able to make it into Crystal Basement’s Saturday show!  I am a fan of theirs, so I knew I would enjoy this comedy improv show immensely.  And I did! I was laughing so hard that I was brought to tears.  Thankfully they had been moved back into a larger room this year, so there was enough space for everyone who wanted to see the show.  And luckily for me, I did not have an overlapping celebrity panel that I wanted to attend this year, so I was able to line up early enough to get a seat right at the front.

Sunday was a lot more relaxed, and although I had originally wanted to wear my full yarn Kisame cosplay, I was tired and just wanted to be comfy.  So I dressed down my cosplay and went as Silly Shark Kisame.

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Got my picture taken with one of Nekoama‘s Shark Pups

The first panel of the day was Pom Klementieff’s Q&A.  It was a little bit of an awkward experience because she is really only known for one film franchise, and English is not her first language.  This became almost exclusively a Guardians of the Galaxy panel, and there were questions she could not answer because she is part of an on-going franchise, and questions that she did not want to answer because they revolved around the firing and re-hiring of James Gunn by Marvel/Disney.  Although she clearly did her best to answer the questions as they were presented to her, the best part of the panel was when a fan asked her a question in French.  It was as if she had become a completely different person, and she was much more confident in her answer.  I would have loved to have attended an entirely French Q&A panel for Pom Klementieff.

The final panel I attended that weekend was Cosplay on a Budget, hosted by Critical Miss and Retro Joad.  As always, I love watching any panel and/or performance hosted by these two.  It was interesting to learn about what went into the construction of some of their cosplays, and it was a great panel for those hoping to gain tips and tricks for cost effective costume making.  I even got asked to join in the panel to show off my own cosplay!  I’m still going to stick to yarn and knitting, but I am curious to try out some of the cool cosplay and makeup tricks I learned in the panel.

 

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Hanging out with Critical Miss and Retro Joad

The final panel I attended that weekend was Cosplay on a Budget, hosted by Critical Miss and Retro Joad.  As always, I love watching any panel and/or performance hosted by these two.  It was interesting to learn about what went into the construction of some of their cosplays, and it was a great panel for those hoping to gain tips and tricks for cost effective costume making.  I even got asked to join in the panel to show off my own cosplay!  I’m still going to stick to yarn and knitting, but I am curious to try out some of the cool cosplay and makeup tricks I learned in the panel.

 

 

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Found a picture of me and Mark in the dealer’s room on the Ottawa Citizen‘s website!

Unfortunately, this convention was far from perfect.  As a whole, this particular convention seems to get weaker every year, and there were some particularly annoying issues that presented themselves this year.  The staff were overly aggressive about checking badges, for one.  We would have to pass 3 or 4 people just to get in the main doors – each one stopping us to see our badges – and often even after we had gone through this, someone from the front entrance would still chase us down to see our badges, despite the fact that we had already been granted entry into the convention.  Mark and I encountered similar problems whenever we tried to enter the dealer’s room.  And once in the convention, the spacing was ridiculous. When in line, we were asked to stand between lines of tape that were rather narrow to begin with and did not take into account larger cosplays, so attendees in line were frequently asked to squish even closer together in line even when there was no room to do so.  And the food court was worse.  The set up seemed narrower this year, and once you fill the tent with the food vendors, there is not a whole lot of room for much else.  The small, cramped tent meant that you could not tell what was a line up for a food vendor and what was foot traffic.  And the tables were so close together that even though there were seats available you could not get to them.  If just one person was seated normally in a chair at the front of the row, you could not easily access any of the chairs further down the row.  A set up like this is not safe or comfortable, and it is definitely not accessible for all convention goers.

 

This year’s convention haul brought to you by: JenEric Designs, The Grand Ol’ Meat Co, Krista Walsh, Oddity Apparel/Angelyque’s Trinkets, Sweetlegs, Nekoama, Shameless Envy (can only show the boxes cause these are gifts), and more!

In the end, the most important part of the whole weekend was the people.  I got to hang out and say hi to lots of awesome vendors, strangers, and friends.  Thank you to everyone who made this weekend special for me – you’re all wonderful.  See you at the next convention!img_6971

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