The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (May 7th, 2006)

Wow! What a con!

We really didn't know what to expect since this was the inaugural year for this particular show. We were pleasantly surprised.

We arrived in Calgary on Friday (May 5th) and were picked up at the airport by the charming Laurie Breitkreuz, one of the con's organizer (and talented artist to boot). We got to our hotel, freshened up a bit, and headed down to the restaurant for a meal. There, we were joined by Kandrix Foong (the mastermind behind the con) Laurie, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and his wife, as well as producer Alan Burnett (Batman Animated). It was a fun time and we ate way too much.

On Saturday, we were given a tour of the Quickdraw Animation Society, and hung out around Calgary with Stephen Silver, Patrick Morgan, Alberto Riuz, and Laurie acting as our guide. The weather was fantastic and we got a good feel for the city.

The con started at 10am on Sunday at the Stampede Ground. We got there at 9:30 as a growing line was forming outside the building. Good sign! At 10:00am the doors opened and people started pouring in. It wasn't long before we realized that this would be a good con. By 12:00, we'd sold out of our most popular book, "Insanely Twisted Rabbits". A couple of hours later, we were running low on every title and by the end of the show, we had an empty table! Next year, we'll make sure to bring an extra load!

While at the con, I also participated in an animation panel with Paul Dini, Stephen Silver, Patrick Morgan, Alan Burnett and Bob Bowen. The audience was captive and asked many questions.

The charity auction went very well raising lots of cash for the Christopher Reeve Foundation. The organizers put together a really nice limited edition book, each page featuring a "western themed" art piece specifically created for the event (you can view my piece here). People bought the book and walked around getting all the artists to sign their respective page. It was a cool idea that made a wonderful keepsake souvenir.

Of course, one of the great things about doing cons is to be able to meet old friends and make new ones. It was fun chatting with Art Thibert, John Giang, Angus Oblong, Omar Dogan, Jim Zubkavich and many more.

The reaction from everyone at the con was very positive. Artists were busy drawing and selling their books and merchandise to eager fans, and retailers had big smiles on their faces. Business was good for everyone I talked to. The first year of the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo was a success, no doubt about it.

After the con ended, the organizers took us (as well as some of the other guests) to a wonderful resort near Banff where we unwound, and spent a wonderful evening/night in the fresh air of the Rockies. The following morning, we had breakfast in Banff where I puzzled everyone with a cool magic trick! The organizers were a class act all the way, pampering us and making us feel so welcomed. A big thank you to Cody and John for driving us around!

Thumbs up!

Michel Gagne, May 10th, 2006