By Gord Bowes, News staff
You never know what you’ll see at the Hamilton Convention Centre on Oct. 5.
It’s the inaugural Hammer Town Comic Con and it’s a safe bet that there will be a costumed person or two among the thousands who are expected to attend. There will also be 15 celebrities will be at the show, including three with a Back to the Future connection.
The local celebration of comic books and popular culture is destined to become a popular event on fans’ calendars, says Walter Durajlija of Big B Comics, one of the sponsors of the event.
“I think it’s a really important cultural event for the city,” says the owner of the central Mountain store.
Toronto’s version of Comic Con attracts more than 100,000 a year, said Durajlija. The Hamilton event has the potential to bring in 10,000 visitors each year during the first week of October each year.
Being the city where parts of several action movies, such as Kick-Ass and the Incredible Hulk, will also help.
Comics crossed into popular culture in a big way about 15 years ago, says Durajlija.
“In the late ‘90s, it really exploded; once people realized CGI graphics would allow all the comics to brought to life,” he says.
The surge in the numbers of movies also relates to the face comic books and graphic novels are easy to translate well into films — they are practically already storyboarded for studios.
But despite its name, ComicCon is about more than just comic books, it’s about pop culture in general, says Durajlija.
“If you’re just in the business of selling comics, you might as well just be at a flea market.”
So along with comic books and graphic novels, Big B sells everything from bobbleheads to coffee mugs with super heroes and other popular characters.
Chris Dabrowski, the promoter of Hammer Town Comic Con, says the response so far has led him to believe he will expand the event to two days next year.
Among the celebrities he has booked for Comic Con are: Claudie Wells (Jennifer Parer in the first Back to the Future movie); Donald Fullilove (Mayor Goldie Wilson from Back to the Future); James Tolkan (Principal Strickland in Back to the Future); Armin Shimerman (Quark, Star Trek Deep Space Nine); Robert Picardo (Hologram Doctor on Star Trek Voyager); and Pat Mastroianni (Joey Jeremiah on Degrassi).
Dabrowski says he is a big Back to the Future fan, so he will also have Burlington resident Ken Kapalowski’s replica DeLorean time machine at the event.
Kapalowski has helped raise more than $200,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation with his DeLorean, which he built over a period of eight years.
It all started with installing a flux capacitor after friends kept asking him where it was in the car, he said.
“I thought, let’s just go all the way with it,” he said while at Big B Comics recently to promote the event.
Hammer Town Comic Con will also feature a cosplay contest, horror festival, Q&A sessions and movie screenings.
Tickets are available at Big B Comics, 1045 Upper James St., and at the convention centre the day of the event.