Super Fan Comic Con In Toronto Answers Critics Over Claims Of Mis-selling, Buying Facebook Likes And Shouting At Vendors

This last weekend, the Toronto SuperFan ComicCon took over the Better Living Centre. They promised much.


But there has been major criticism on their Facebook page – and elsewhere, when it's been deleted. Allegations of making false claims about the show, misrepresenting the show and the organisers to the vendors, of deceitfully managing social media and abusing vendors who did turn up.

However, Bleeding Cool did manage to contact the organisers, who gave answers to every point raised, mostly to do with their novelty at this kind of show, Even as they also boasted of their experience in other kinds of shows. First a few of the more prominent complaints…

Gen Ishihara They boasted such high numbers and delivered so little. The table prices were ridiculously high for a first year con, i didnt even break even, a disappointing first for me. Every vendor and artist i talked to did not break even. It was so sad to see talented artists dropping their print prices to a measly $5 just to get something, anything in return.

I literally feel like i was scammed by this con with such a table price and nothing offered in return. Promotions on the day OF do not help at all, everyone is already gone for the weekend or have plans. Advertising and publicity should have been done months in advance, or at the very least weeks..

Not to mention staff that threatens vendors and artists not to pack up early because they make the con look bad.. seriously they did not need help with that. Staff that tries to get artists to buy more space during the con?? so they can get more money from us again?? What on earth?

Unbelievable, and unprofessional. Im in shock…

Bill Silva Unfortunately, they will sweep it under the rug. As a dealer, you can bet I won't be back. I spoke with other dealers who stated the same. None of the big dealers booked. Once they hear about how lousy it was, you can bet they will have a hell of a time getting dealers next year. How are they appeasing us? By offering us a $150 discount if we book by June 14 and give our deposit. F*CK OFF! I wouldn't return if they offered me a free booth.

Dawn Poetry Dainton I had one of the organizers actually yell at me for packing up early, saying that I was making the show look bad. (I was right next to the door and did so as discretely as possible) when I asked him about all the other vendors who had left he said "we'll deal with them" he then basically threatened me, and said "what are you going to do when this show gets big and you want to be a part of it?" Respectfully sir, me and the 19 other events I have this year will be just fine without you.

Jon Lam The Venue was almost completely empty. Most of the Patronage were Vendors buying from other Vendors…true story. Also, Vendors are extremely disturbed at how management failed to promote this event, and how some of the vendors were even threatened when wanting to pack up early.  I do not want your discount, I want a refund.

Bill Silva As a fan…horrible! But as a vendor…BRUTAL! What a wasted weekend…both time wise and financially. Good luck booking vendors next year. We are a tight knit bunch and you can bet the word will spread fast around our community

Jonathan Farrar Booking the Superfan Con on the long weekend, which is well known for being the weekend where many Canadians leave the city to open their trailers/cottages was the first problem. Add competition with Anime North ( running the following weekend ), zero advertising ( unless you count 'day of' advertising) & a C-list Guest list and it's destined to fail. Also, alarm bells should go off if the 3 biggest/best comic book stores in Toronto do NOT want to participate in your convention. I would be surprised if the gate exceeded 2000 people for the 3 day event. Worst convention I have EVER attended.

Michelle Grimm It would have been better if all the vendors paid the same booth price like every other convention. The fan attendance was incredibly low and no one in toronto knew about the convention. Not good advertising at all. Good luck but I know a lot of us vendors wont be back.

Corey Bland For all the vendors who paid with a credit card it may be in your best interest to dispute the charges. My wife was a vendor and from what I hear from her and can see from reading the comments it is evident that most vendors booked based on lies told by the promoter whether it be the made up statistics (which are still on their website, so save them), the lies about affiliations with other major promoters or the moving of vendors booths to other areas (I know many vendors we…
Karen Dales They didn't have my booth available to me when I arrived. They had to build 2 vendor tables for me and my friend, and then Mr. Newdick demanded we move to a less visible area because the tables were going to be in the way of the long lines expected for the photo ops. There was NEVER any line at any time. The move greatly hit our sales.

Jason Skitch My 8 year old daughter won the kids division of the cosplay contest. Winners were to be announced on Monday at 4pm with group photos after. Neither of these things happened. We spoke to 5 different staff from 4pm to 5pm before someone would acknowledge the contest. They said they are mailing a cheque for the $100 "cash" prize but ignored the $25 ShelfLife site credit portion of the prize. My 10 year old daughter, who did not win (there was no 2nd prize for kids), was given an exclusive SuperFan comic as a consolation prize. I hope that they do not rip off my 8 year old daughter. We help make the kids costumes but this is the first one that my 8 year old made entirely on her own. We drove for an hour just so she could enter the contest. She was incredibly excited to have won but also extremely disappointed that her victory wasn't announced, that there were no group pictures, that she had to hunt staff for an hour and that she has to wait for mail to get her prize since she wanted to shop at the con if she won. Competitors were supposed to use a cell to snap a pic at the con and upload it to enter. We do not have a cell (yes, I am a caveman). We had to leave the con to find a wi-fi hotspot, swap the memory card from my camera to a laptop to upload to the web. We got the picture up at about 11am on Monday, the cutoff for entry was noon. This gave us only 5 hours to gather votes, while others had a full three days. She worked so hard for this and I am very proud of her, especially for her patience. CLICK ON MY NAME AND READ THE DESCRIPTION FOR THE ALBUM NAMED "SuperFan ComiCon Cosplay Contest".

Omri Jo So you took my post down? VERY CLASSY!!!! Great job alienating all of your customers. I will never again go to any of your events and also tell others to avoid. You should have taken my comments as advice for next time and addressed the issues you had. Instead you removed my comments even though I was being VERY nice. You should fire your Social Media person!

Jon Lam I think it's passed the point of an apology now. Apologizing initially, and not censoring honest feedback would have been a start. Now they've just spat in the faces of those that gave them a chance. We don't want their apologies anymore. Especially for exhibitors and Vendors, we want our money back.

Alana Lee You want to delete all reviews that are not telling you how wonderful your event was, but the hilarious thing is that most of us have platforms that are on a grander scale that we can share our own articles, reviews and evidence on. You have burnt many many bridges and believe this community is a large one and we stick together. We take care of our own, and you are not one of us. You cannot mistreat our friends and colleagues and pretend as if it never happened and brush it under the rug. Good luck with that. Expect some awesome articles coming your way  Hugs and kisses!

Michael Rice One of the other big issues was VENUE and SIGNAGE. Like NO signage. Me and 2 other dudes thought it was at Direct Energy Centre—as that is where most shit is, but it was at Better Living, and really NO signage to direct people to that fact—especially from the TTC and the parking lot near the Ricoh Coliseum. I am sure some people probably circled the Direct Energy Centre, checked all the doors and then just bailed thinking maybe the event wasn't on. Too bad this couldn't have been Downtown Toronto.

James Jesus MagGot Really wish I could give it a good review. But the organization/ promotion/ guest list and date we're all highly problematic. I wish you folks all the best in the future but this was the worst con I've been to. You have a lot of work to do and vendors to appease.

Michael Heddle Can the lady that called my store a few weeks back offering a booth please call me again…. I'd like to ask her why she flat out lied to me about this show… She said it was the 2nd year they were doing it (which I knew it wasn't), and that they had a smaller version last year near the Airport…. I honestly believe she was trying to claim the Canadian ToyCon as their show…

Alana Lee WOW I know the owners of Canadian and burlington toy con and they are lovely amazing people who run a spectacular show. If that is true, shame on them. I met Paul Newdick AT GTA Comic con which is run by the same people and he was not a part of their team he was there attending asking people to come vend at super fan.

Alli Cat I was told it was the 3rd year and was given a ton of statistics that were obviously made up. I flew in from the States to be a vendor at this con. I've had bad experiences in the 5+ years I've been a vendor at cons, but I've never been lied to like this. Its shameful. These people run home and garden shows. No comic con vendor will deal with them again. And I spoke with some of their celebrity guests who also said they'd never work with these people again. They should apologize and never try to run a comic con again.

Michael Heddle 3rd year? Wow. I applaud these guys for wanting to make another con in Toronto, but some serious planning and promoting, not lying, would of been much better. I don't expect a phone call from these folks…. If you check the "Like" stats for this page, you'll see it's glaringly obvious that they paid for a ton of fake likes… That money would of been better spent on flyers to ge dropped off at shows, comic nd toy shops. Look at their stats. One day after this page was created, they got 1200 likes. That does NOT happen. A week later, another thousand. Another week later, another thousand. They bought the likes. It's very obvious… Even moreso when you check the twitter account for them, and see nothing but eggs…. I mean,…. Seriously.

Of course for some people, there was an upside:

Justin Drysdale Had a great time meeting the celebrities. Yes it may not of been busy but it actually allowed us fans a chance to get up close and personal with the celebrities without being rushed. Here's to many more Superfan Comic Cons in the future!!

Can anyone save the SuperFan ComicCon from such criticism?


Photo by Amanda Muise‎ there. Well, I contacted the organizers, listing the issues above and this is what they told me, broken down into topic.

All exhibitor and booth pricing was based on square footage and standard booth spaces, so the cost depends on how big of a space each individual exhibitor purchased.  For specific pricing questions, we're happy to set up a phone call with show management once their offices are open. No one on the SuperFan ComicCon staff was told to resell vendor spaces. We offered some vendors the opportunity to expand their spaces at no cost during the show in an effort to help improve the vendor's experience. As with other shows, if a booth space becomes available and a vendor is interested in the space, the vendor has a new opportunity to acquire the space.

Yes, SuperFan ComicCon is a brand new convention and this year was the first time we ever held this event.

Yes, SuperFan ComicCon was Showcase Marketing's very first geek culture themed event.

With regards to our Facebook page and Twitter account, we hired a social media company who told us they would expose all of our content out to their online communities to help maximize our exposure for the show to help increase attendance. All likes, comments, posts, and retweets are organic. We also took advice (which we thought at the time would help us) to delete the posts and reviews. We now see that doing so wasn't the best approach and have reinstated all of the posts and reviews, positive or negative. As part of our learning curve and to ensure that future events meet the highest standards, we welcome feedback. We invite you to share your feedback and tips for success. We would like to make SuperFan ComicCon an annual show that surpasses all expectations.

If someone had felt mislead by any of the SuperFan ComicCon staff, we do apologize for that. This was never the intention, all the staff believed in the show's success.

Show Attendance: The statistics presented in the vendor letter and on the website were estimates based on other first time comic conventions and from previous events we've held over the past 20 years. Based on past experience and with consultation with other shows, we believed the numbers were realistic. They were based on the amount of hits to our website and the reach we accumulated through our online advertising. We also coordinated an aggressive media relations campaign with show celebrities that earned over 10 million impressions within the GTA. We thought we would attract 15,000 show attendees.  We apologize for falling short as we learn this industry.

Many comic conventions provide a sharp learning curve for organizers, and many of the best shows had rather unfortunate beginnings – Dan DiDio getting shut out of NYCC through overcrowding in its first year is a common example. There do seem to have been serious problems here though, and while welcome that the show seems keen to address them, it seems that show organisers with experience in other areas, took for granted that the comic con version would run just as easily. Hopefully next year, if there is a next year, they will have learned plenty of lessons and maybe made a few specialist hires…

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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