Get your geek on at the Montreal ToyCon this weekend!

That’s right, that time of year is upon us again! For those of us who need a mid-year fix before the Montreal Comiccon in spring, here’s the annual Montreal ToyCon, presented by CmdStore.com and Toys on Fire Montreal. Over 55 dealer tables will be present at this toy, comic book and sci-fi exposition.

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We’ll be holding the 2015 ToyCon at the Courtyard by Marriott Montreal Airport hotel on Sunday, October 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is only $5 and kids under the age of five get in free! We’ll see you this Sunday at 7000 Place Robert-Joncas, accessible via the Côte Vertu metro station and bus #121 west.

For more information, like CmdStore and Toys on Fire Montreal on Facebook, or contact us at montrealtoycon@gmail.com or 514-948-2627. See you there!

montreal-toycon-october-17-2010-47

CmdStore is coming for you this weekend, Ottawa!

Fewer things inspire such a hallowed combination of anticipation, excitement and devotion in the hearts of geeks everywhere than convention season. Costumes are prepared, cameras are pulled out and inventories of personal toy stashes are taken in preparation for what could be called a spiritual holiday for some of us. That’s why we’re getting pretty stoked to head over to the Ottawa Comiccon this week, and naturally we don’t want you to miss out on the thrill of it all!

The spectacle will take place at Ottawa’s EY Centre from May 8 to 10, and like every other proud gathering of nerds and pop-culture enthusiasts of all kinds, it will feature vendors’ tables and cosplayers of every persuasion imaginable. And of course, there’s no leaving out the featured guests that some of you might have been waiting a lifetime to be able to behold in the flesh. Allison Mack, known for playing Chloe Sullivan on Smallville, will be in attendance.

Source: The WB/Timothy White

Source: The WB/Timothy White

You can also nab yourself a photo op with famed comic-book artist Bob Layton, known for his work on Marvel Comics titles like Iron Man and Hercules.

Source: marvel.wikia.com

Source: marvel.wikia.com

“Guest of honour” Billie Piper of Doctor Who fame is only one of the 60-odd familiar faces from the realms of your favourite movies, TV, comic books and more that will be making the pilgrimage to Ottawa this weekend.

Source: BBC

Source: BBC

Ticket information is available here, and it looks like they might even still need some volunteers. It’s not too late to plan yourself a weekend of superheroic proportions. And of course, don’t forget to stop by the CmdStore booth on your sojourn through all of the magical sights and sounds of the Ottawa Comiccon.

Snap a photo and tag @CmdStore on Twitter or @shopcmdstore on Instagram, and we’ll hook you up with a retweet and a follow.

See you there!

Montreal to host Mini Comiccon in December

To mark the halfway point after one Montreal Comiccon and the next one, the wonderful folks who the yearly toy and fan spectacle put together the Mini Comiccon for one day during the winter. The Montreal con in particular is known for uniquely bridging the gap between the American pop-culture market and the European bande dessinée art form. Now fans have more opportunities to cosplay, purchase the comic-related stuff on their holiday lists and mingle with like-minded people!

The 2014 Mini Comiccon will be held at Montreal’s Palais de congrès on December 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $5, or free for children 12 and under. It’ll be well worth the deal to see the special guests, which will include Canadian cosplayer and glamour model Marie-Claude Bourbonnais and American comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver, known for his work on titles like Green Lantern and The Flash: Rebirth.

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Like “Mini-Comiccon de Montréal” on Facebook for more information leading up to the event!

Five types of cosplayers you’ll meet

Here at CmdStore, we’ve experienced our fair share of conventions and toy shows. One thing we have learned through our travels is that, although all cosplayers deserve no less than two cookies and one gold star for dressing outlandishly in public, not all cosplayers are created equal. Convention season is upon us, and for this purpose, we have created a handy, quasi-anthropological guide to navigating the social smorgasbord of cosplaying.

(And for the record, to everyone who has had the guts to appear in public and/or at a convention in a costume that they either created or put thought and effort into — we salute you. And love you.)

1. The one who gets really, really into character. Really.

For some few, proud and bold cosplayers, merely dressing as a character they identify with is simply not enough. No, they must be the character for as long as they are wearing the costume to go along with it. We were at the Montreal con recently, and one guy who stuck out was Ace Ventura. And by that, we mean that he was Ace Ventura. As in, he appropriated the voice, lingo, body language, gait and small mannerisms of Jim Carrey in the movie. It was absolutely otherworldly… and a little bit frightening in its accuracy. Nonetheless, these are the wonderful souls who truly make cosplay a performance art.

2. The one who looks uncomfortable in their “sexy” costume.

Source: pinterest.com

Source: pinterest.com

When choosing to go as a “mainstream” character to your favorite con, one must take care to toe the line between Halloween costume and con-appropriate cosplay, or else risk to come off weirdly cheesy as our Power-Ranger gals above. (Maybe it’s just the poses.) Equally a no-no is picking a bold costume, but not picking the right frame of mind to go along with it. Are you rocking a dominatrix-esque Catwoman suit that you hand-stitched? Good for you! Rock that thing like it was made for you (which it was). Donning skintight tighty-whities to be an out-there Superman? Awesome, man. Strut with pride and avoid the temptation to shrink into your shell! That being said, a special tip of the hat goes to any dude or dudette who attempts such a gutsy costume. Props. We all wish we had your courage.

3. The one who is just plain skeevy.

Unfortunately, with every person who attempts to proudly rock a costume they feel great in, there are some who try to exploit it. They’re known in popular lexicon as “the cosplay creep”. You’ve seen them — maybe they’re dressed up, maybe they’re not. But either way, maybe they’re making the rounds at the con only taking photos of provocative costumes, and trying to do so without asking first in some cases. Maybe they’re crossing the boundaries of personal space without being invited. Or maybe they’re making inappropriate comments and advances towards cosplayers, or — egads — all of the above. Not cool. Although the majority of these downers are generally dudes, people of all gender identities and orientations can suffocate the atmosphere of fun and make others uncomfortable. Don’t be that guy/girl/person! People might be dressed up as fictional characters, but they still deserve to be treated as people.

Source: cosplayisnotconsent.org

Source: cosplayisnotconsent.org

4. The one whose costume is painfully DIY, but they get an A for effort anyways.

Source: toptenz.com

Source: toptenz.com

I feel like a little part in all of us can identify with this poor, valiant soul pictured above. Hey, let’s give him some leeway here — maybe he initially tried to be the Diablo Lord of Terror and then frustratedly collapsed in a heap of brown and dark burgundy papier-mâché, angrily realizing that his costume was too ambitious. Maybe he then proceeded to power through all of the red wine he was saving for a dinner party next weekend in a frenzied fury. Maybe afterwards he decided to pore through his Iron Man comics in an attempt to soothe his rage. And then maybe, just maybe, he saw some red scrap fabric, some packing tape and an opportunity. One can never assume, just objectively speculate. Good try, man. Good try.

5. The one who has awesome parents.

Source: comicbookmovies.us

Source: comicbookmovies.us

That’s right — the kids. Those adorable, mini-size, human figurines that are dressed as either something they love or something their parents do — or, if the stars align, a blend of both! Toddling around the con with a parent or guardian or more in tow, and maybe alongside a pal or sibling, they’re simply irresistible. Ask parents before you snap photos, of course, but if a photographic opportunity arises, you have to take it. They serve as inspiration for our own family units and remind us of the spirit and essence of conventions themselves — they’re just fun.

Happy con-ing, everybody!

Montreal Comic Con

In  Montreal? Then head down to the Montreal Comic Con! Hosted at the Palais de Congres (Place D’Armes or Square Victoria metro stations), the 2012 edition of this growing Con is sure to be bigger than ever!

Featuring guests including Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, James Marsters, Mike Mignola, Frank Cho, Darwyn Cooke, Tim Sale and many, many more, it’s going to be a packed 3 days.

We’ll be there, too! Come and check out the Toys on Fire / CMDStore booth for some amazing deals and awesome merch! Everything from Portal to Transformers, New 52 to GI Joe and beyond.

October 23rd, 2011 : THE MONTREAL TOYCON

Just a long-distance head’s up! We’re going to be hosting our next Montreal ToyCon on OCTOBER 23rd, 2011!

montreal toycon banner

The next Toy and Comic book show has been confirmed: October 23rd 2011. Our past show was held in the summer of 2011 and it was a huge success.

What is the Montreal ToyCon?

The Montreal ToyCon is a one day convention with over 55 tables of toy and comic book dealers selling their merchandise. Each dealer specializes in various product lines so there will be a wide selection of collectible toys and comic books: GI-Joe, Transformers, Star Wars, Lego, Superheroes, Anime, and various vintage toys.

The show will also have exhibits from various clubs: Lego Club, Sci-Fi Club, Costume Clubs, and more.

Where is the show?

The convention takes place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at:

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT MONTREAL AIRPORT
7000 Place Robert-Joncas
St-Laurent, QC H4M 2Z5 Canada
(Near Mega-Plex Spheretech 14 Cinemas Guzzo)
Metro Cote Vertu (Autobus #121)

Map of Hotel

What time does the show start?

October 23rd 2011  (Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm)

Where can I buy tickets?

Tickets/Admission will be available for purchase on the day of the show. Sorry but we don’t sell advance tickets. Admission will be $5 CAD per person (Kids under 5 are free).

Like us on Facebook:

Here are some photos from our past shows:


Adam Hughes Curtails Convention Sketching and Why It Matters

Some very unhappy news comes from iFanboy and provides a great example of how money-grubbing can ruin fandom and the effects that insincerity can have on artists and those who genuinely love their work…

Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool broke a story yesterday that Adam Hughes has decided to significantly curtail his convention sketching going forward. Rich’s article quotes Allison Sohn (Adam Hughes’ wife and manager) from their Yahoo! Group, and it’s worth reading in its entirety. The gist of the story is that Adam and Allison were upset to see that one of the commissions Adam completed at last week’s Boston Comic Con was put up on eBay less than 24 hours later, and predictably was being auctioned off for a significant premium to what the buyer paid Hughes.

After the news broke yesterday, Allison wrote a piece on their Yahoo! Group summarizing their views:

Hello all;

I thought it might be smart to make one post, re-capping many of the points we’ve discussed today. With the word of our decision to stop taking a sketch list hitting news outlets like Bleeding Cool, I wanted to post one concise version of what we’ve been discussing, so that people that want more information don’t have to sift through 200 posts to get it.

Adam and I agreed that it was time to stop the sketch list. After attending the Boston Comic Con this past weekend where Adam was only able to get 3 sketches done, we came home to learn that one of those sketches was within hours of it being drawn, put on eBay. The person that got the sketch told us elaborate lies about how much the piece meant to him, how long he’d been trying to get one, and all the usual, in order to make a profit off of Adam. The worst part for us is not that we won’t make the $3000+ that the sketch sells for on eBay (and I wish that was an exaggeration) but that some fan who really DID want a sketch, and there were many that had been on our list for years, was denied the chance to take one home so that this person could instead make a profit at their loss.

Is this the sole reason for our decision? No. I have been saying for a long time that this day was coming, and to be honest, I thought we’d have had to stop the list long before now. As it became harder and harder for Adam to get drawings done, and as the lists grew longer and longer, the stress increased. At every show, people want books signed, they want to have a personal few minutes talking with Adam, they want a photo with him, to shake his hand, to ask him what he thought of the latest comic book movie. On the professional end, editors and fellow artists want a few minutes, and show promoters want him to do panels and signings. All of these things don’t allow for very much time to draw. When Adam does finally sit down to draw, the list of requests is as much as 50 people long. When you look over that list and know that at best you might get 5 accomplished, the idea of disappointing so very many people can be really difficult to deal with.

Now take all of that, and add the possibility of one of those few drawings you do finish being collected and then re-sold by someone that doesn’t care how hard you work or how much other fans really wanted the opportunity to be the one that took it home, and it’s just enough stress to help you decide that it is really no long worth it.

Going forward: there will still be art. Adam and I are discussing how we can have an eBay sketch winner for each day of the show, and how we can limit it to one per person per event. I’m hoping that with the tremendous strain of trying to draw at each show alleviated, Adam will be able to consider sketching from home. These drawings could then fill a portfolio that we could bring to events that fans could shop from. And maybe we can finally go ahead and start listing auctions for overseas fans; something we’ve always wanted to be able to do, and time and stress have never really allowed for.

I know many of you are disappointed. Please try and understand, Adam has been doing this for more than 20 years, at a rate of 10 – 12 conventions a year. We wanted to make everyone happy, and there comes a point where that pressure is simply too much, and you have to admit to yourself that it is an impossible task. Even knowing that, we still tried our best for as long as we could. I want to thank everyone that has posted, emailed, and tweeted their support. It really means a great deal to us. I look forward to the rest of the convention year, and the opportunities it will now present us. Hopefully with this stress lifted from his shoulders, Adam can do more panels, tutorials, portfolio reviews and generally spend more time with you guys, his fans.

You all have my gratitude for being so cool about this;

Allison

As someone who attends a lot of conventions, has the pleasure of knowing quite a few artists, and has the joy of owning quite a bit of original art and commission work, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. And as anyone that’s read through the comments in the Yahoo! Group or on Bleeding Cool will attest, this is an issue that strikes an emotional chord with a lot of people.

An Individual Decision Deserves Your Respect

Before we delve into the broader issue of convention sketches and commissions, and their future, let’s first get something clear about Adam Hughes’ decision. IT IS HIS PERSONAL CHOICE AND EVERYONE SHOULD RESPECT THAT. Honestly, I get why people might have a philosophical difference of opinion with Adam and Allison on this matter, or might be personally disappointed because they were hoping to someday secure a piece of his original artwork, but at the end of the day, that’s FAR DIFFERENT than getting angry with them for their decision. It’s Adam’s art. It’s Adam’s time. He’s free to choose to do whatever he wishes with his time, and how anyone can get angry with someone’s personal choice baffles me.

Unpacking the Participants Motivations

In my “day job”, I’m fond of telling my colleagues that it’s important to put yourself on the other side of the table. What I mean by that is to remember that every negotiation or transaction is driven by the motivations of everyone involved, yet far too often people forget that the people on the other side of the bargaining table have their own, often differing, objectives. If you take the time to think through what they’re looking for, it’s MUCH easier to architect a successful and expeditious outcome.

An Artist’s Motivations for Convention Sketching

Generate income & offset convention expenses
Connect with fans
Build goodwill among the comic book community
Pass the time while sitting at their booth
Foster creativity and undertake projects they don’t normally get to illustrate

A Fan’s Motivation for Obtaining Convention Sketches

Obtain a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork
Use as an entrée to strike up a dialog with their favorite creators
Support (financially) their favorite creators
Generate an arbitrage opportunity to re-sell the work for a profit

For the most part, the motivations of artists and convention goers are sympathetic. It’s when the two bolded (and in red) motivations come into play that animosity can (and does) spark up. As Allison says in her missive, it wasn’t so much that the guy wanted to re-sell the artwork (she acknowledges his right to), it’s that he intentionally deceived them in an incessant way, and then brazenly flaunted that fact by putting the art up for sale immediately. That makes a lot of sense to me, were the shoe on the other foot, I too would’ve been miffed.

Arbitrage Has and Always Will Exist

Arbitrage is part of the business world, and it’s not going away. Comic book stores don’t pay Diamond $2.99 for an issue of Green Lantern; they pay a $1.79 or so and then charge you, the end customer, a markup. That’s how they manage to keep the lights on, afford a store front, stock the shelves, and put food on their own tables. Grocery stores don’t pay $0.99 for a 2-liter bottle of soda, and I’m guessing it doesn’t bother you to know that. So to think that humans won’t continue to find ways to arbitrage is a little misguided. For as long as there are goods in demand, there will be people who try to find a way to acquire those goods and then re-sell them for a markup.

“Flipping” has been going on for a long time, particularly since the proliferation of the internet. With sites like eBay, it’s so easy to reach literally millions of potential buyers that would’ve never been available in times past. If you got a convention sketch from an artist in 1982, it was highly unlikely you could re-sell that sketch for a significant premium. Who would buy it? Were you going to put a classified ad in the paper? At best, you would probably sell it to another local fan, or to a local comic retailer. Today it’s a much different story.

Remember that it wasn’t long ago convention art was usually FREE. Artists started feeling like their work was making money for other people, so they started charging for their efforts. As the industry has evolved, we all now have very good data about what “going rates” are for artwork, and that informs not only the buyers, but the artists. Artists are smarter than ever about the worth of their own product; and more power to them.

Tips for the Non Flippers & Artists to Avoid a “Hughes” Situation

Although I respect a person’s right to re-sell sketches and commissions, I would prefer they didn’t – for purely selfish reasons. Since I LOVE to acquire commissions and sketches, and have never re-sold one, I would rather artists not have to worry about that kind of thing. But recognizing that what I want in a perfect world isn’t the reality, here are some tips to help ensure your pursuit of original art pieces continues unabated.

Personalize the item – I never understand why more artists don’t insist on this. If they’re worried about flipping, why not say upfront that any piece they create will be personalized in such a way that re-selling will become much harder? For example, if you’re drawing a character, write a word balloon with a specific call out to the person buying the piece. I almost always ask for my work to be personalized, asking the artists to sign the work and dedicate it to me. I’ve found many times that artists appreciate this because they realize the chances I’m a flipper are much lower.


Prove your passion – I have the entire downstairs hallway of my house dedicated to original art. It’s a gallery. So I’ve got tons of pictures of the gallery and am always quick to show the artists pictures to let them know I’m a collector, not a flipper. You would be surprised how at ease it puts artists to know you’re an art lover. Does that mean you couldn’t be flipping pieces while keeping others? Of course not, but it’s still a gesture of goodwill, one that I can personally attest to.


Consider sketchbooks – Some of the best convention art I’ve seen has been in the form of thematic sketchbooks. When an artist sees a sketchbook chock full of other art, it tells them that you’re interested in keeping it, versus flipping it. As an added bonus, having a great themed sketchbook will often push an artist to up their game, because they’ll want to make sure their piece stands up to other great works you already have in the book.


Pre-negotiated auctions – Adam Hughes and Tony Moore are probably the two trailblazers on this front. Both guys now regularly set up eBay auctions before a convention, with the winner getting a guaranteed commission. For the artists, this all but guarantees the winner won’t be a flipper, because the open bidding sets the purchase price much closer to what a flipper would hope to get from his/her own eBay listing.


Pre-negotiated purchases – Some artists don’t like to take pre-orders, but many do. I politely contact every artist I want to get work from before the show and ask if they’re doing pre-orders. The benefit of a pre-order is a) it creates a dialog and record of sale, b) it allows the artists to get more work done over a broader period of time, and c) it guarantees the purchaser will get their art versus having to wait for awhile because the artists ran out of time.

At the end of the day, Adam Hughes’ decision isn’t going to change much. I fully respect his (and Allison’s) approach toward the decision, but I also think it’s important to remember that he’s in an enviable position. Adam can do one or two commissions per convention and earn thousands of dollars for his efforts. That gives him a lot more flexibility in how he chooses to spend the rest of his time. But for many artists, if not most artists, they HAVE to generate convention art sales in order to justify attending the shows. To those people, I would say that with a little intuition, clear instructions about personalizing the work, and a bit of luck, they can greatly reduce the frequency of flipping without having to ostracize their genuine fans. To my fellow fans, the next time your mouth drops as you see the prices an artist is charging for a commission, just remember that there’s a VERY good reason for their prices. It all comes down to basic supply vs. demand.