The magic of comic con

Annual Fusion Gaming tournament adds to C4 excitement

It’s a good idea to keep your Halloween costume in wearable condition for more than one night, especially if your plans include attending the Central Canada Comic Con (C4) this weekend.

The annual event, held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre from November 1-3, is always quite a spectacle including celebrity guests, rare comic book collectables, gaming enthusiasts, and of course, all the elaborate costumes that go with a celebration of popular fantasy worlds.

Richard Dong, owner-operator of Fusion Gaming, 1473 Pembina Highway, loves the perfect timing.

“I think that kind of gets people in the spirit of dressing up as their favorite comic book character or superhero,” he says. “It’s sort of a continuation party for Halloween… so some people don’t even get out of their costume for like four days.”

As part of Comic Con, Fusion Gaming is hosting their annual Fusion 5K tournament, which will see $5000 in prize money up for grabs. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a tournament based on the fantasy card game called Magic the Gathering, played in a head-to-head format, that draws people from all over to participate in a rare competition for a handsome reward.

This is the fourth year the tournament is running at the C4, and according to Dong, quite a few players travel many miles to enter.

“It’s something pretty special. Not too many places in Canada do something like this, so people are starting to recognize that the Fusion 5K happens every year, at Halloween,” he explains. “[W]e get a lot of players coming from Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and Ontario… it’s pretty exciting just to play an elementary card game that you played for fun against your friends and maybe now you have a chance to win $5000.”

Chalk it up as another reason the Comic Con attracts larger and larger crowds every year.

Many folks show up merely to catch a glimpse of any of the long list of celebrities in attendance. This year features headlining guest Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy). Several ex-Star Trek actors will be on hand, as well as the original Darth Vader, a former Power Ranger (Jason David Frank), a prince (Chris Saradon, The Princess Bride), and a pirate (Lee Arenberg, Pirates of the Caribbean). Other guests include cosplay designer/model Yaya Han, the guy who played Tron (Bruce Boxleitner), several notable artists and illustrators and a host of others.

Having grown over the years, the C4 now occupies several floors of the Convention Centre. While attendees can enjoy the Fusion 5K main event and surrounding gaming tournaments on the second floor, the rest of the activities are spread throughout the building. For a chance to get an autograph or photo op with a celebrity, or to peruse classic comic books and pop culture collectables, head on up to the third floor. For gearheads, be sure to check out the Pop Culture Car Show featuring nostalgic vehicles like the Delorean from the Back to the Future series.

As Dong says, there’s really something for everybody at the Central Canada Comic Con. And while it gives him a chance to take his Fusion Gaming tournaments to the C4, he also enjoys the opportunity just to be there and experience the eclectic weirdness.

“It’s very surreal, and I think people of all ages and genres can appreciate [it] at some level because it is very fun… almost like walking into a dream, there are very weird costumes and interesting personalities that you’ll run into.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 9 of The Uniter (October 30, 2013)

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