2017 was the inaugural year for Comic Con Revolution in Ontario and it was an impressive first showing. A full lineup of panels, a great mix of exhibitors and artists sharing their works, amazing cosplay and of course comics. You can’t have a real comic con without tons of comics. CCR wasn’t just full of what you’d want in a comic con but it was highly organized and presentable, something not too common. We’ve seen other first-year-conventions; they looked like it was their first year. CCR had their stuff together. What’s more impressive? CCR put it all together in only three months. (Slow clapping) Now that's impressive. With year one out of the way, a whole 12 months to prepare, and more than double the size and dates, we can’t wait to see what’s up their sleeves on when the doors open on May 19th.
We had the chance to ask the co-founders, Drew Seldin and Mike Scigliano, more about how they pulled off their first year and what they have planned for CCR Ontario in 2018 and beyond.
Convention.Life: As co-founders, Drew and Mike, tell us what Comic Con Revolution is. For those that missed out on the inaugural year in Ontario, how it is different from other pop culture conventions?
CCR: Comic Con Revolution is the culmination of years of experience working in the industry. We have been a part of so many different shows and always said if we were in charge we would have done this or we would have done that and now we are. Our shows primary focus is comics and the artists and creators who make them. Comic Con Revolution is 90% comics and 10% pop-culture. That is what makes our shows a unique experience for attendees as well as guests. People are there to meet creators and artists.
Convention.Life: How did you know Ontario was the right place and that CCR would do so well in it’s first year there? And you accomplished this in just three months, how?
CCR: To be honest, you can never know something can do what we did in year one of Comic Con Revolution Ontario. We took the time to find an untapped area like the Inland Empire, we reached out the industry’s best and brightest and planned down to the smallest details. We looked at message boards and took into account the complaints we saw and called upon our years of experience to make processes that can ruin an attendees experience and fixed them. People have lots of options when looking at shows to attend and if you can’t set your show apart with guests and back it up with great family friendly day then customers won’t comeback. As for how? Well, hard work, sleepless nights, blood pressure medication and a love for doing what we do.
Convention.Life: This year CCR Ontario is more than doubling its footprint from one exhibit hall to both halls plus the Mayoral Ballroom. What’s one new thing each of you are especially excited to share or at least tease?
CCR: Yes, we doubled the size of the show in year two but that had a lot to do with the reception we received from the Inland Empire in year one. Exhibitors were excited and the community as a whole embraced what we were doing and supported a first year 1-day show like I have never witnessed. When you have that kind of support in place it goes a long way. When we closed the show in 2017 we had pre-sold so many booths that we knew we had to grow the show. It became an easy decision and the team at the convention center was tremendous in helping us grow the show as quickly as we did. We have so much to talk about for Comic Con Revolution 2018 I don’t even know where to start.
Convention.Life: CCR talks about it being a family friendly event, what can the parents tell their young comic book fans to look forward to?
CCR: In this day and age it's important to create events for families to be able to attend together. We offer free children tickets for kids 12 and under and discounted teen tickets. It makes it affordable for a family of four or six to attend our show. Parents won’t have to worry about seeing inappropriate booths on our show floors. We avoid selling to companies that don’t have family friendly products and avoid celebrities that are outside the family friendly vibe.
Convention.Life: From the legendary Chris Claremont to hot new legends in the making like Dustin Nguyen, they're just the tip of the iceberg of talent CCR is bringing in 2018. How did you get such a star lineup in just your second year?
CCR: We have been in this industry for a long time and have met a lot of people over the years. These artists and creators know that if they come to a show of ours we will make every effort to run a professional show that provides an incredible experience for everyone that attends. Fans have plenty of choices on which shows to attend and if we don’t provide them guests like Chris Claremont or Kevin Conroy then they can spend their hard earned dollars elsewhere. In the end the show needs to be about comic fans and our goal is to make them happy.
Convention.Life: The panel schedule last year was stacked for the one day. There were so many informative and entertaining programs to choose from. Now that CCR is two days long and has more than double the space, does that mean that much more programming and workshops?
CCR: Of course it does! We have over 100 panels this year. We run the spectrum from panels for the comic collector, want-to-be artist, cosplayer, movie fan, you name it and we have it! Panels are such an important part of building a show like ours. We have a building jam packed with exhibitors, dealers, artists, celebrities etc. but some guests don’t come in for that and the panels they attend make the day a unique experience for them. In the end we want all our attendees to have that unique experience at Comic Con Revolution.
Convention.Life: CCR is currently in Ontario and West Palm Beach, are there any plans to expand into any other markets?
CCR: As the saying goes we could tell you but then we would have to kill you ☺. I am teasing and yes we have plans to expand, we will be announcing our 2019 West Palm Beach dates shortly and a new city as well. We are adding a third part of the country that we know loves comics. Stay tuned.
Convention.Life: What’s your elevator speech for those who just need that slight push to get them to go to CCR if they won’t listen to us?
CCR: If you are looking for a great affordable day of fun with the entire family, Comic Con Revolution has something for everyone. You will see incredible artists at work, amazing cosplayers and tons of pop culture items that will bring a smile to your face.