Red carpets and superheroes made out of balloons were peppered throughout the North campus Student Centre when students started lining up early Thursday for the third annual Humber Comic Expo.
The event was held on Oct. 15 at the North campus, and Oct. 14 at Lakeshore, with special guests that included sci-fi actor Sam Witwer and veteran comic book artist Ty Templeton.
Illustrators displayed and sold their work, while Brampton-based Stadium Comics hosted a table selling comic books and action figures. Vendor KillerToyz offered horror and sci-fi action figures as fans dressed up as their favourite characters for a cosplay contest where the winner won a RioRand Segway. (For the uninitiated, cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.)
Witwer, whose acting roles include Aidan Waite in Being Human and Davis Bloome in Smallville, took questions from Ammar Abdul-Raheem, Humber Students’ Federation Vice President of Student Life, and from a small gathering of about 30 students.
Witwer told the audience how he loved to work on an old school animated show.
He said he and Glenn Howerton — the star, executive producer and co-writer of the cable television comdedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — co-wrote an animated pilot.
“We own it and we really want to make something cool and special about it. The reason why we want to act in it is it has a very old school feel, a very 1930s (look),” said Witwer.
Witwer told a fan it was hard for him to pick his favourite character.
“Any character that’s difficult to play I really enjoy,” said Witwer. He said his roles in Being Human and TV series Star Wars Rebels were both difficult.
“If it’s hard, then I wanna do it,” said Witwer.
He said it’s important for an actor to focus on a good state of mind if they want to have a career in the field.
“Make yourself as happy as you could possibly be and surround yourself with people who make you happy,” said Witwer. “Make yourself happy with what you have at any given point and you will do a lot better in this business.”
After the interview, students lined up in the Student Centre to interact face-to-face with Witwer, who posed for pictures and signed autographs.
Cam Sharpe, a second-year film and television student, 19, said he most enjoyed the interview with Witwer.
“I’m in film and I got some insight on a real voice actor in the industry,” said Sharpe.
Templeton, a Canadian comic book artist who was inducted in the Canadian Comic Book Hall of Fame last year, was among the illustrators showing off his work. His portfolio includes a bevy of characters, including Batman, Spider-Man, the Avengers and The Simpsons.
Templeton said he loves his job and is hard-pressed to pick one of his works as his favourite over another. A veteran of Marvel and DC, he is currently working on The Evil Dead.
“It’s fun to see more and more people getting into the idea of (comic) culture and it’s not just being for young children,” said Templeton.
Templeton said to become a comic book artist, one needs determination and an eagerness to invest time in learning the skills.
“There’s a famous expression that says it takes 5,000 hours to become good at something and it takes 10,000 hours to become a genius but you can become a genius,” said Templeton. “Don’t assume that you have to have a talent to do this.
“You simply have to have a willingness to learn and an ability to spend the time to develop the skill,” he said.
There were nine contestants in the cosplay contest. Shannon Martin, a second-year visual and digital arts student, 20, won first place, dressed as Levi from Attack on Titan.
Professional makeup artist Samira Abedi did Martin’s makeup. It was Martin’s second time attending Comic Expo dressed up as Levi.
“I wasn’t going to do the contest because I had work but I decided to do it right when I woke up today,” said Martin. “ Levi is the best costume I have.”
Diana Rebuli, a first-year photography student, 18, was dressed as Princess Leia and took second place.
Kori Ploughman, Programming Coordinator at the North campus, said she wanted Comic Expo to give students with the same interests an opportunity to come together as a community and interact with people in the industry.
“We really want to try and have events provided for every student here at Humber so just giving them the opportunity to come out and enjoy events like this is what we’re really hoping to do,” said Ploughman.