Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hulked-up Comic Con just keeps growing

Costumed masses turn out in droves

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Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press

Andrew Bergen put on a Blue Beetle costume before heading to Central Canada Comic Convention (C4 for short).

Some people who go to the Central Canada Comic Con might actually buy a comic book they've been missing in their collection.

Others might go to C4, as it's known, dressed as Batman, or Peter Pan or the Ice King or Inspector Gadget.

Some got to speak to and get autographs from the likes of actor Ron Perlman, who played Vincent in the TV series Beauty and the Beast, Hellboy in two movies, and Clarence "Clay" Morrow in Sons of Anarchy or Walter Koenig, who has enduring fame as Pavel Chekov in the original Star Trek TV show and movies.

Whatever the reason, thousands of people trekked to the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg for the annual weekend convention -- 34,000 attended last year -- and while it has wrapped up for another year, co-ordinator Brian Mitchell says it has outgrown two floors of the convention centre.

Amazing, since just a few years ago it filled a banquet room in a small city hotel.

The event was so busy on Saturday the lineup to get in stretched from inside the convention centre, through the skywalk connecting it to the Delta Winnipeg, all the way to Cityplace mall. It took until 4:30 p.m. for everyone with a ticket to get into the event.

'We have maxed out the space...This Comic Con is becoming... an international event'

--¬Co-ordinator Brian Mitchell

"We will use all three floors next year," Mitchell, dressed in high lace boots and a kilt, said on Sunday.

"We have just been steadily growing since 1997. Honestly, we even had to put our wrestling ring in the loading dock area this year so we'd have more room for exhibitors."

Mitchell said the event is still two years away from being able to expand into the new section of the convention centre under construction.

Until that time, there are celebrities on Mitchell's wish list -- who he won't reveal -- that he would already love to invite to the event. But he knows at this point there's no room to accommodate the crowds that would come.

"We have maxed out the space," he said.

"This Comic Con is becoming a national and, with our attendance, an international event. Last year we even had a family from Utah come up because of the guests we had."

Courtney Conceicao, dressed as Kagome from the manga and anime series Inuyashu, and her six-year-old daughter, Faith Myrcrak, with a Snow White dress on, said they both had been having fun all weekend.

"This is good, very good," Conceicao said, while Faith chimed in "I go like this all the time" as she opened her mouth into a shocked O.

Conceicao said she had been going to the annual Aikon convention -- Manitoba's largest anime gathering, taking place July 12-14, 2014 -- for the last 15 years and may add C4 to her yearly list.

Both Andrew Bergen, dressed as superhero Blue Beetle, and Michael McMullen, wearing a Mad Hatter constume from the video game American McGee's Alice, decided to dress up this year after going costume-less during their rookie Comic Con last year.

"I now know what it's like to wear tights all day," joked Bergen as he walked through the crowd jamming between exhibitor booths.

As for McMullen, dressing as a character who is unnaturally tall came easily for him.

"I'm a drywaller so I walk on stilts all day anyway," he said.

"It's like my day job, but here I get to wear a tall hat, too."

Jamie Derhak came from Dauphin to give a special thrill to smaller children in the crowd who recognized her as the white-bearded, blue-suit-wearing Ice King from the Cartoon Network's Adventure Time.

"My kids love Adventure Time and we make family costumes every year," she said.

"They also say I'm cranky so I'd make a good Ice King."

Jennifer Chua, with the help of her friend Niki Fourre, made an Inspector Gadget costume to wear, complete with a spinning propeller on her hat and gloves on the end of venting tubes.

"A remote car starter turns on the propeller on my head," Chua said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 4, 2013 A8

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