B Woodward, of Cherry Bomb Toys and the National Toy Museum of Canada, keeps a close eye on Yoda, who keeps a close eye on his partner Candice Woodward, as the pair get ready to bring the first ever Cap City Comic Con to town, March 16 to 18 at the Victoria Conference Centre. Kristyn Anthony/BLACK PRESS

Capital City Comic Con flies into Victoria

Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, couture costume and a frenzy of pop culture descend on city this weekend

“Four floors of awesomeness” is how B Woodward describes the first ever Capital City Comic Con he and his wife and business partner Candice Woodward are set to unleash this Friday through Sunday (March 16-18) at the Victoria Conference Centre.

The owners of Cherry Bomb Toys and producers of Victoria’s Ultimate Hobby and Toy Fair have spent years dreaming of bringing the worldwide phenomenon to the Island. Now Victoria joins the list of cities throwing the ultimate pop culture party including hundreds of exhibitors, toy exclusives, discussion panels, a cosplay costume contest, pop-up tattoo shop and some big name players.

None other than Bret “The Hitman” Hart, the WWF world-championship wrestler turned motivational speaker, is slated to appear Friday and Saturday. Patrick Warburton (the voice of Officer Joe Swanson on Family Guy), James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jay Baruchel (actor, writer of Captain Canuck) will join international cosplayers decked out in couture costume.

“Dress up, don’t dress up – it’s just about fun,” Candice says of the inclusive nature of the event.

While the popularity of Comic Con has been steadily rising, the concept of a convention where you can hang with the heroes of pop culture is hardly new to those in the scene. You need only point to a copy of the original Star Trek script housed in a glass case above Cherry Bomb at the National Toy Museum of Canada – also run by the Woodwards – to remember conventions like these have been around since as far back as the 1960s.

“That’s from [producer/director] Gene Roddenberry back when he was doing conventions when Star Trek first came out,” B says.

“There’s always been fanfare, and people asking – how do we [get] a better connection to that world?”

For Victoria, it’s good to bring something here for people who don’t get off the Island, or who can’t get to Fan Expo in Vancouver or Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Candice explains. The pair teamed up with the Downtown Victoria Business Association and Tourism Victoria to host the three-day extravaganza with a hope to attract some international travelers.

“This is establishing Victoria on a whole new level, getting rid of the stigma of newlywed and nearly dead,” B says. A whole new generation is shifting the perception of the city on the world stage, and he and Candice aim to do it with as much fun as possible.

“Antique Row was a big thing for our parents, now we have Nerdvana,” he says, referring to the downtown Broad Street neighbourhood where Cherry Bomb has been doing business for over a decade. “It has all the comic shops, all the fun stuff that is more relevant to our pop culture world that we engulf ourselves in every day.”

It is B and Candice’s hope that Capital City Comic Con stretches its tentacles across the city and engages everyone, as the duo plan to grow the event for years to come.

“There’s going to be all kinds of fun for everyone,” B says. “It’s all wrapped into one nice little bundle where everyone can go and play.”

For tickets, visit Capital City Comic Con at tourismvictoria.com or follow @capcitycomic on social media for updates.

editor@mondaymag.com

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