Winnipeg Comiccon returns for a second celebration of pop culture

It’s a weekend of cosplay, comics and celebrity guests in the city’s downtown core as Winnipeg Comiccon returns for its first fully unlimited post-pandemic convention.

This is the second edition of Winnipeg Comiccon organized by the same company that organizes similar events in Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa.

Spokesman Jason Rockman said last year’s first event went well, although it still had to adhere to some public health restrictions.

“When we finally landed in Winnipeg and made it, we were still in the middle of a pandemic and still managed to put on a pretty cool event,” Rockman said.

He added that this year’s scam will be more like what they are doing in other cities.

“What’s great about these events is that every year we do them in different markets, every year it gets bigger,” he said. “Because people come, they like it, and they come back and tell their friends about it.”

The con features a much wider range of celebrity guests than last year, including Matthew Lewis, aka Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter films; and Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario in the popular video game series.

But the guest that Rockman is most excited about is horror movie icon Bruce Campbell, best known for his role in the Evil Dead movies and TV series.

“When I brought it over Halloween weekend, I remember seeing the reservations department say ‘man, you made it!'” he said.

Campbell was the inspiration behind the convention’s first official beer, Chainsawhand, brewed in partnership with the Trans Canada Brewing Company. The name of the lager and the artwork on the beer can are a tribute to Campbell’s Evil Dead character, Ash. Local comic book creator GMB Chomichuk said he was thrilled to be a part of it.

“I got this awesome phone call that said, ‘hey, do you want to do a spooky Halloween-themed beer label,’ Chomichuk said, and how it all started is maybe we could have Bruce Campbell linked to that.”

But the turnaround didn’t allow Campbell to be involved in the design process, “he wants to have control over any use of his likeness, as everyone should,” Chomichuk said.

So he created a new character – named Pumpkinseed – who has a chainsaw hand this year in honor of Campbell, but may be reused on new beer labels in the future.

“The idea is that Pumpkinseed can push back every year and take a guest star element,” Chomichuk said.

He said working with Trans Canada was a great experience.

“When I said I would really like my name on the beer can, with credit for the art, they said no problem!”

Thousands of pop culture fans gathered at the RBC Convention Center on Saturday afternoon.

“I love seeing all the costumes, I love it when people dress up,” said Dave Ingels, who was dressed as a Viking himself. “The displays are really good every year. I love how creative people are, and what they bring to the show is awesome.”

“It’s busy today,” said attendee James Daniels, “there’s a lot of collectibles and comics to check out, artists, and the guests are pretty good this year.”

“I love it, it’s fun to cosplay, it’s fun to buy merchandise, it’s fun to talk with other fans who share an interest, it’s just super fun!” said Mekayla Looker.

He said that while there are additional fees for celebrity autographs and photo ops, all panels and convention programming are free, included in the price of admission.

“They’re always where the magic happens, you know? Being in a room full of people who love who they’re listening to, and then having people ask interesting questions, that you might not have thought of, and then getting the answers, it’s a lot of fun,” Rockman said.

Winnipeg Comiccon runs until 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 30. Tickets are $35 on Saturday and $30 on Sunday. Children 12 and under enjoy free entry with a guardian.

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