Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gareb Shamus (of Wizard) buys Paradise Toronto Comicon

If you haven't heard by now, it has been confirmed that Peter Dixon of Paradise Comics and Paradise Conventions has sold the Paradise Toronto Comicon to Gareb Shamus of Wizard Entertainment.

Here is the Press Release, with a little note of correction by Kevin Boyd.

New York, NY (June 24, 2009) – Gareb Shamus, CEO of New York based Wizard Entertainment, announces today that he has purchased the Toronto Comicon, a show that has been consistently awarded The Best International Comic Book Convention (non-USA) by, for the last 5 years.

(Kevin Boyd's note: the Paradise con won the award for five years – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. There was no award handed out for 2008. The vote was an online fan vote).

“We’ve always had a strong following in Canada, so buying the Toronto Comicon is something that allows me to give back to our fans. These attendees are known to be serious collectors and comic industry followers,” said Shamus. “I am thrilled to offer the guests, celebrities, artists, dealers and exhibitors to our Canadian audience for the very first time.”

Peter Dixon, owner of Paradise Conventions and former owner of the Toronto Comicon, will still be intimately involved in the show production, his friendly manner ensuring the continuation of the trademarked relaxed atmosphere of the show.

“Wizard brings greater industry recognition and star power to the show. I’m excited about having the fans get this bigger experience,” said Dixon.

The next show dates have not been set yet, but the newly managed Toronto Comicon is expected to debut in 2010.

About Wizard Entertainment:

Gareb Shamus founded Wizard Entertainment in 1991. Today, Wizard Entertainment publishes Wizard, ToyFare, FunFare and numerous books and magazines about today’s top talent, comic books and toys. Wizard produces Chicago Comic-Con at the Rosemont Convention center, August 6-9; Big Apple Comic-Con at Pier 94, October 16 -18 and Wizard World Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Convention Center June 11-13, 2010.

This is some interesting news, as I am a big fan of comic conventions and festivals (gotta give some love to TCAF). Bringing back Paradise Toronto Comicon under the Wizard brand, surely will bring the attendance up, as celebrities will now be brought in, attracting a new crowd. Also, with Wizard being able to bring in some top names guests, could be something good. Downside, it won't be a "comics-only" convention anymore.

This also has me wondering about what's really going on, with the Wizard side of things. Wizard has let go a lot of their staff members over the part year (or two?), canceled Wizard World Texas, "postponed" Wizard World Los Angeles, shut down the Anime Insider magazine.

On the other hand, they re-branded Wizard World Chicago to Chicago Comic-Con, picked up Big Apple Con, and now Paradise Toronto Comicon. The only convention that remains under the "Wizard" name, is Wizard World Philadelphia, but I am thinking something will change with that con in the future.

I'm also wondering when and where the convention will be held. Timing of events and location were some of the reasons to the Paradise/Hobbystar Toronto Con War.

Here is a rundown of some of the events going on next year:
- Hobbystar's Winter Toronto ComiCON, February 28, 2010
- Megacon, March 12-14, 2010
- Emerald City Comicon, March 13-14, 2010
- Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, April 16-18, 2010
- TCAF 2010, May 8-9, 2010 (Mother's Day Weekend)
- Hobbystar's Fan Appreciation Toronto ComiCON, June 5-6, 2010
- Wizard World Philadelphia, June 11-13, 2010
- HeroesCon, not confirmed, but guessing Father's Day Weekend 2010, so June 18-20, 2010
- San Diego Comic Con, not confirmed, but guessing July 2010
- Baltimore Comic Con, August 28-29, 2010
- Fan Expo Canada, end of Summer 2010
- New York Comic Con, October 8-10, 2010
- Hobbystar's Fall Toronto ComiCON, tentatively November 2010

I'm sure they'll find a venue and a weekend to hold the con, I'm just hoping this doesn't start up another Toronto Con War.


Kevin Boyd said...

Clearly Wizard will inherit the same problems that Paradise had that prevented them from doing a show this year --- that is VENUE and DATES. They could go back to Direct Energy Centre (at the Exhibition) or they could look at the Toronto Congress or the Toronto International Centre (both are out by the airport). I'd be very surprised if Wizard would agree to do a show in a hotel. Paradise was traditionally scheduled between April and July and that's already a busy time period for conventions, especially now with TCAF going annual.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's hope Aman Gupta doesn't screw around again with his new rival as well as the comic book fans of Toronto & the rest of Ontario.


Jason Truong said...

Pradeep: Looking back at 2007 and 2008, Hobbystar has left Paradise alone to run their event, without the aggressive scheduling of the Fan Appreciation Event, and look what happened. Attendance didn't change much from 2006 to 2007, and even went down from 2007 to 2008. No show in 2009.

Wizard has been know for their aggressive scheduling tactics as well. They tried to start up WW Atlanta, on the same weekend as HeroesCon (2006? 2007?). They scheduled WW Philly this year, during the same weekend at HeroesCon. The difference, Hobbystar stopped, Wizard continues.

Anonymous said...

It safe to say that this will indeed start some of the bullshit again that was around a years ago.

Basically two sinking ships have teamed together, can't see this union of Wizard/Paradise of being successful.

And if Wizard/Paradise try to start something with Hobbystar I think they are simply out matched and out gunned. Over the past couple of years many interesting tidbits of information have surfaced about the so called Con-War of Toronto. It may seem that Paradise was not so innocent during the Con-War.
Should be every interesting to see how all of this unfolds. If it even happens at all.

Kevin Boyd said...

Good lord. What's wrong with people? That stuff is all water under the bridge. The Paradise show is now officially dead (insted of merely on hiatus) and gone. Pete Dixon is now a Wizard/Shamus employee, and he no longer has to do any of the heavy lifting - he's now the guy that will be putting Wizard con staff in touch with suppliers and locals, and the actual running of the show will fall to the basic Wizard formula of show-running. The question people have to ask themselves is what does the basic Wizard formula show bring to the table for Toronto/Canada?

Anonymous said...

I'll just go to TCAF.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Kevin has some sour grapes.

Kevin Boyd said...

Over what, Richard? Just tired of people trying to revive all of this con war garbage.