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Montreal ComicCon

Montreal ComicCon 2017 Wrap-Up: Charles Martinet and Nintendo In the House!

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This weekend’s star-studded ComicCon lineup generated a huge amount of buzz because of the many guests who made an appearance, held panels, signed autographs and even took pictures with their fans. As I mentioned in my previous post, it is impossible to see every Q&A since many of them take place at the same time but I did make an effort to see as many as I could and while huge stars like Sir Patrick Stewart and Nathan Fillion were present, my biggest highlight this year was attending Charles Martinet’s Q&A. Now to be fair, this shouldn’t come as any surprise given I’m one of the founders of a website called Goomba Stomp and the host of the NXpress Nintendo podcast, but put aside my love for Nintendo, Charles Martinet was by far the most energetic guest I saw in person.

While Charles Martinet voices one of the most iconic characters in global culture, he could probably walk down the convention hall and not receive a second glance from most people who pass him by. The man behind the voice of Nintendo’s Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi has lent his vocal chords to the world-famous plumber for the best part of two decades. During the Q&A, he spoke about how his career began after he attended Berkeley University (where he originally intended to study international law) and dropped out in his senior year to take acting classes in hopes of combatting his fear of public speaking. From there he earned an apprenticeship at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the rest is what they call history.

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Other than the Mario series, Charles has also done work for the video game Cel Damage as the voice of Fowl Mouth, as well as the primary voice work in several educational game games. He also voiced the dragon Paarthurnax in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Orvus in 2009’s Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, and even narrated characters in Super Punch Out. What many people don’t know however is that he’s also landed roles in major Hollywood films including voice work in David Fincher’s The Game, The Dead Pool starring Clint Eastwood and even the little-known gem, The Brotherhood of Justice starring Keanu Reeves. When asked if he had any restrictions on what roles he can or can’t accept he replied saying that Nintendo doesn’t prevent him from taking any acting roles but he does prefer to work in friendly family projects. He voiced his love for food, mostly Italian food, switched back n forth between the voices of many of the characters he’s portrayed and spoke about his admiration for the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto. And when asked what his favourite Mario game is, he replied saying it’s hard to choose since they are all so great but if he to choose, he would pick Super Mario Odyssey. As expected, Martinet couldn’t talk about Odyssey and whenever someone asked a question about the game he politely responded, “what I can tell you is that it’s gonna be great.”

@mtlcomiccon #cosplay so fun!!! #woohoo!!!!!

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The biggest highlight of the panel, however, came when a little boy stood in line to ask him a question and told the story about how he had been in the hospital for most of the year and ss part of the Children’s Wish Foundation, asked if he could go to ComicCon to meet Super Mario in person. While telling his brave story the little boy began to cry which then had almost everyone else in the room in tears including Charles Martinet, who walked off stage to give the boy a huge hug. When back on stage he smiled at the audience and said, “this is why I do what I do and it’s the best job I could ask for.”

It’s hard to put in words how wonderful this man is, but if you ever have a chance to see him live, do yourself a favor and set aside the time to so. In the meantime, enjoy the three minute interview embedded below.

Speaking of Nintendo, not only was the voice of Mario present at Montreal ComicCon but Nintendo was also on site this year with their own special gaming fest. Families and friends were able to participate in their Nintendo Switch event and test out Nintendo’s latest releases including ARMS, Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In addition to playing Nintendo games onsite, you could also compete for giveaways. Unfortunately, Super Mario Odyssey was not available to play which is disappointing especially given that the game will be released in a few months. Hopefully, Nintendo will be back at Montreal ComicCon next year and in the meantime, let’s hope they organize some other event later this summer to help promote the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch.

That’s all for now. Check back tomorrow for more coverage of Montreal ComicCon

  • Ricky D

 

 

 

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and the NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as the Sound On Sight and Sordid Cinema shows. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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Montreal ComicCon

Montreal ComicCon 2017 Day Two: Sir Patrick Stewart, Kevin Conroy and more!

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The second day of Montreal ComicCon has ended and I am exhausted. If yesterday was a good time, then today was a total blast. As with every year, the second day of the fest is always the busiest, with more panels, Q&A’s and other fun events to participate in. Of the many celebrities in attendance today, the star most fans were eager to see was perhaps David Tennant of Doctor Who fame. Unfortunately, Tennant’s Q&A was part of the Doctor Who Special Event (which also featured Alex Kingston and Freema Agyeman) and it was not included in any single day, 3-Day, Deluxe, or VIP tickets (and as far as I know, my press pass didn’t get me in either). It was a tough choice to make but I decided to skip on a date with the good doctor (due to the cover charge) and find other things to do instead. Fortunately, there was plenty of other sights and sounds to check out and an even bigger guest in town who anyone with a Comiccon pass was able to see without having to pay any additional fees. I’m of course talking about the award-winning British star of stage and screen, Sir Patrick Stewart. The good news is, Patrick Stewart was a class act, eliciting mostly laughter from the crowd and filling us in on his views of Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre’s ban on pit bulls (turns out, he’s not a fan and is also the proud owner of a pit bull named Ginger). Stewart then went on a slight political rant expressing his disappointment with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, calling it one of the most embarrassing things to happen this century before discussing his friendship with Sir Ian McKellan. Things were off to a good start but sadly it didn’t last very long.

The bad news is, Montreal ComicCon opted to not have a moderator up on stage asking the prestigious actor questions and trusted the audience to lead the entire discussion instead. You see, as with every Q&A, a few members of the audience were able to line up and individually ask the actor one question. And as with every Q&A at Montreal ComicCon, more than half of these people tried to sneak in more than one question (often three), wasting precious time, and more often than not, most of these questions were a complete waste of even more time for both the guest and other audience members. I hate to be negative but when you have someone like Sir Patrick Stewart on stage – a man who’s garnered acclaim for his early stage work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and later gained widespread fame as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation (not to mention as Professor X in the popular X-Men franchise) – you would think there are hundreds of great questions you could ask someone with such an incredible career. Unfortunately, the best questions that the audience came up with included a question about his bald scalp and two similar, uninspiring questions about American Dad. To be fair, Patrick Stewart did come up with some funny responses, but even he took a second to poke fun at how the Q&A was off to a rocky start. This isn’t to say it was a total disaster because that would be far from the truth but the problem is, we only had 45 minutes with the actor and I know I’m not alone when I say it might have been far more interesting had they had someone onstage moderating the panel and guiding the discussion. Needless to say, I left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

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As with the first day of ComicCon, the best way to spend most of your day is to walk around the Palais des congrès and snap photos of the best-dressed cosplayers you come across. This year I saw fans dressed as characters from some of the most popular video games including Halo, Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy along with comic book characters such as Deadpool, Batman, and Spider-Man. But the best costumes were those that were a bit obscure including one lady dressed as Mr. Rogers from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (complete with Casey and Finnegan) and Big Daddy and Little Sister of the Bioshock series (also Goomba Stomp’s own Pat and Marisol).

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While it would have been great to have attended the John Rhys-Davies Q&A, I must say, I’m glad I decided to see Kevin Conroy’s Q&A instead. While most of the questions from the audience were a complete waste of time (once again), we did have a moderator on stage helping guide most of the conversation. But beyond that, Conroy killed it!

It’s my opinion that the best question and answer panels usually consist of the guest explaining the ins and outs of the industry he or she works in. The best panels tend to have the guest(s) teach the audience something about their trade, the craftsmanship and the art of the medium they work in while also finding time to entertain by reminiscing on some of their fondest memories. Kevin Conroy managed to do all that and then some. While I wasn’t looking at my watch, his Q&A session felt well over an hour (although it wasn’t) and was both informative and engaging from start to finish. He explained the painstaking process of creating an animated feature and how much work goes into doing the voice over for Batman in the Arkham series. But the best part of his panel came when someone asked him if he had ever worn a Batman costume and his response was pure gold! Turns out Kevin Conroy was a foster dad and the child he adopted later found out what he does for a living – so naturally, his foster son (and all his friends) kept begging Conroy to one day show up dressed as the Dark Knight. Obviously, anyone can understand why this is hilarious since as a voice actor, Conroy not only didn’t own a Batman suit but had never worn one ever in his life. That Halloween however, he decided to surprise the kids and told us about the time he went shopping for a costume at some Hollywood costume shop. He then went on to explain that in order to prepare himself and “get into character”, he decided to put on the costume before leaving his home. At one point he had the entire audience in stitches when describing himself driving down the L.A. highway in his beat down Volvo fully dressed like the World’s Greatest Detective while the people who drove by looked at him like he was completely crazy. Needless to say, if you ever have a chance to see Kevin Conroy take part in a Q&A panel, do yourself a favor and check it out!

There were, of course, many other highlights throughout the day but as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there is only so much I can cram into one article. I’ll be publishing more articles throughout the week but in the meantime, check out some more photos of just some of the great costumes I saw today.

Editor’s Note: We believe it is common courtesy to ask each cosplayer if we can post their photos on our website first. With that said, each and every one of the cosplayers featured on our website did give us permission to post images of them in costume. 

– Ricky D

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Montreal ComicCon

Montreal ComicCon 2017 Day One: A Fan-Driven Event and the Fans Are Why You Come

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As Montreal ComicCon begins to skew more mainstream each and every year, so does its crowd. Suddenly more and more people are flocking to the convention to see the stars of their favourite movies and television shows up close and personal. In fact, because of its growing popularity, Montreal ComicCon changed venues two years ago and took over the entire Palais des congrès — and judging by what I saw today, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. When I arrived early this afternoon, fans were lined up around the corner waiting to get in, many of them in costume and all with a smile on their face. It’s only the first day and the event is promising to be bigger than ever with over 60,000 visitors expected to pour into the mouth of the Convention Center before Sunday night. It’s safe to say, the event has gone beyond just attracting fans of science-fiction, fantasy, horror, video games and comic books.  As I looked around, there were people of all ages ready to geek out to a variety of attractions including 100 different panel discussions and workshops, and a star-studded lineup of celebrities to meet as well. But regardless of how big Montreal ComicCon is getting, one very important thing hasn’t changed over the years…

Comiccon, by its very nature, is a fan-driven event. It’s always been about the community and their shared love of a sub-culture, and the main reason most people go to any comic-con is to meet new people – and I’m not just talking about the celebrities in attendance, but anyone in general. The stereotype that geeks are loners who don’t care about social interaction is just that – a stereotype. Geeks love making new friends and comic-cons make it easy to find other people who share the same interests as them. In fact, the best thing about Montreal ComicCon is that it leads to new friendships. Sure you can line up and spend outrageous amounts of money on autographs or getting your photo taken with a star, but the moments you’ll remember the most don’t usually cost you anything outside of the initial price of admission. In fact, after spending eight hours at ComicCon today, I left not having spent one dollar. Sure there was plenty of merchandise I wanted to buy (and I may buy over the next two days), but between the celebrity Q & As, hundreds of cosplayers and various panels, I found myself entertained throughout the entire afternoon and evening.

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Montreal, like every bustling metropolis, has a growing number of make-believe “cosplay” heroes, too. Many of the 60,000 plus people who attend the event every year invest big bucks in elaborate outfits as a way of showing off their favorite fictional characters. And as this trend keeps growing — the costumes seem to get better and better each year and the amount of time and effort Montreal fans put into creating these costumes is truly commendable. To some, cosplaying is a hobby but for many of the fans I met today, cosplaying is a lifestyle.  Ample time and labour was spent on creating these costumes, and for those who practice the art, cosplay is more than just dressing up – it is fully immersing oneself as a character and performing in front of thousands of strangers. Speaking of which, cosplayers love an audience. Ask any cosplayer at Montreal ComicCon if you can take a photo, and they will immediately strike the signature pose of his or her character. And when cosplayers from the same fictional universe bump into each other, they get their photos taken as a group. If you’ve never been to any ComicCon, I highly recommend you, at the very least, consider checking it out because cosplay is infectious fun, even for those of us who don’t dress up.

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Of course with some fictional characters, fans may want more than just a costume. Imagine you wanted to dress like Batman, more specifically, the Adam West Batman from the 1966 television series. Well, this would be a great year to do so since the legendary Batmobile, customized by the legendary George Barris is on display. And that’s not all: Also at Montreal ComicCon this year is the 1967 Chevrolet Impala 4-Door Hardtop driven by Supernatural’s Winchester siblings and a replica of the famous motorcycle Harrison Ford drives in the movie Indiana Jones and The last Crusade. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always take a ride in the 1992 Jeep Wrangler Sahara seen in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park or hop into a modified 1982 Pontiac Trans Am a.ka. KITT, the fictional car, and character from the ’80s TV series Knight Rider. They even have one of only two Optimus trucks made specifically for the latest Transformers movies!

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As with every Comic-Con, there is just so much to do that attending ComicCon is largely about carefully picking and choosing what best suits you. It’s also about making sacrifices since there is no way you can be in two places at the same time. If your favourite movie star is scheduled for a Q&A at 4:00 PM, chances are someone else you may want to see will also be booked for a panel at the very same time. In fact, what was once a small collection of booths, has quickly turned into a massive convention that it is impossible for me to write about everything I saw today in just one sitting. I’ll be posting more coverage over the next four days so be sure to check back for more. In the meantime, I’ll end with this…

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With the increased popularity of fan conventions, the event has gained a lot of traction in recent years; but organizers haven’t forgotten its underground roots, and continue to shine a spotlight on up-and-coming, homegrown artists. When walking into the Palais des Congrès, I couldn’t help but also feel an overwhelmingly warm welcome by staff, volunteers and spectators alike. Montreal Comiccon felt like home, and not because I’m a massive fan of video games, movies, television shows, and comics, but because it doesn’t matter how big of a nerd, or how new to the game you are, everyone is treated with respect. In other words, anyone can have fun at Montreal ComicCon. In fact, the highlights of the day, all came when simply conversing with other fans. It was great to see countless strangers stop and ask other cosplayers for photographs, or exchange in a dialogue about something you both adore. One can only hope the event keeps growing.

Editor’s Note: We believe it is common courtesy to ask each cosplayer if we can post their photos on our website first. With that said, each and every one of the cosplayers featured on our website did give us permission to post images of them in costume. 

– Ricky D

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