Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Why do kids like Comic Con? 'No one judges you'

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It may have been chilly outside, but Danielle Kayahara was toasty-warm inside her blue cloak of black magic.

The Final Fantasy video game enthusiast was one of thousands of science-fiction devotees who converged at the Winnipeg Convention Centre over the weekend at Central Canada's Comic Con. The three-day event was expected to draw 31,500 people, organizers said, making it the largest annual event at the downtown Winnipeg site. Last year, the event attracted 27,000.

"It's pretty fun," Kayahara said, admitting it was a tad warm beneath her homemade robe, and floppy beige hat. "There's lots to see and lots to do."

The attractions ranged from an arena designed for light-sabre duels, a video game room, the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future, a make-up booth for wannabe zombies and autograph sessions with the former captain of the Starship Enterprise. Patrick Stewart was among the sci-fi celebrities who posed for pictures and chatted with fans. He and a number of other celebrities were not available to speak to media. Star Wars's Billy Dee Williams, The New Adventures of Superman's Dean Cain, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Deanna Troi and Relic Hunter's Tia Carrere were also in attendance.

"I think sci-fi fans are incredibly loyal," said Smallville's Aaron Ashmore.

Ashmore said it's important for himself and other actors to make a connection with fans who support, follow and appreciate the work they do. He said these types of events likely draw so many people since people can come and just be themselves.

"No one judges you," said 14-year-old Jay Budhia, who dressed up as a character from the animated TV series Adventure Time.

"You kind of just do what you want and be who you want to be," added friend Madi Blagden.

For Travis Cool, that meant getting into the holiday spirit -- zombie-style. The undead fan spent 45 minutes getting his zombie make-up done by DAS Zombie Productions to look like a slimmer, deader Santa Claus. He said he's always been fascinated with zombie movies and attributes the recent rise in zombie popularity to the fact that people are intrigued by things they don't understand.

"People like what they don't know," Cool said.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 4, 2012 A5

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