Thunder Bay's popular fan convention has found a new home.
ThunderCon is moving to the CLE grounds for its 2019 installment, the event's media manager Heather Dickson said Wednesday.
"On the fifth year, we're deciding to kind of switch it up a little bit," Dickson said. "We have clearly outgrown our previous space."
ThunderCon's former home was the Valhalla Inn.
"It was lovely, very luxurious, wonderful to have everything under one roof," Dickson said. "But we are growing too fast and too big to keep staying there."
Dickson said current plans involving running ThunderCon out of the CLE's Heritage and Coliseum buildings. Some outdoor events will also take place.
"Everybody's super excited to have it more downtown, more central, very accessible, and with lots of outdoor space, lots of parking," she said. "We're kind of really excited to see what's going to happen here."
This year's ThunderCon will take place on September 21 and 22, 2019.
Dickson said guests will be announced over the coming months.
Link to Article HERE
Check out the great article on page 49 of this month's Walleye Magazine!
Media Release – October 3, 2018
ThunderCon and The Hunger: When Worlds Collide!
One night – Two Events, One Remarkable Hallowe’en Partnership! Two of the city’s most notable festivals – The Hunger and ThunderCon are proud to announce a spectacular partnership on Saturday October 27th, 2018! They are combining forces to rock the downtown Waterfront District, in a celebration of all that is creative, musical, theatrical and just plain Out of This World!
The Hunger 2018 is celebrating Lucky 13 – 13 years as Thunder Bay’s largest music and performance spectacle, presented by Definitely Superior Art Gallery. It is also the gallery's major annual fundraiser for the contemporary arts. What's in store for people this year? ... On one night – Saturday, October 27th, between 8:00pm and 2:00am, the streets of Port Arthur’s downtown core become a Hallowe’en delight, with The Foundry, El Tres, Black Pirates Pub, The Sovereign Room, Red Lion Smokehouse, Atmos and the Paramount Theatre, playing host to over 54 performance acts – including 42 live bands / DJ's and 12 specialty performers. A popular 19+ Halloween festival event, 3,000 people attended last year. One cover charge of $20, gains you access into 8 venues/stages for your spooktacular pleasure. Patrons show their photo ID and pay at the door of any participating Hunger venue, and receive a "multi-pass" wristband and program with times/locations for acts. The Hunger also offers thousands in prizes to be won, with exciting Best Costume Contests at each participating venue.
ThunderCon is Thunder Bay’s premiere fan pop culture convention, this year celebrating its 4th year on Oct 27th and 28th, two days of featured panels, performances, celebrity guests and a bustling geek/nerd marketplace for all ages. This year, ThunderCon is also super-excited that The Hunger will be designated as the convention's official affiliated "After-Dark" Halloween event for the 19+. Spend your day in Valhalla, your evening at their VIP event at Sleeping Giant Brewery, and cap off your night in devilish style with the Hunger - Lucky 13.
Both events feature Montreal nerd-rock band, Double Experience, who made such an impact at ThunderCon last year, that they were asked to return as part of the Hunger’s eerily sensational 54 act evening line-up. As a 19+ Halloween festival event, The Hunger also offers costumed Cosplayers another opportunity to strut their stuff and compete to win thousands in prizes, with Best Costume Contests at each location around midnight, rewarding some of the most creative costumes being paraded around the downtown north that evening, and there are many!
“ThunderCon is a family-friendly, all ages weekend,” says Media Director Heather Dickson. “But many of our attendees have been asking for a 19+ event. The Hunger approached us with the idea of a collaboration – a sharing of talent, as it were, as well as co-promotion, and we jumped at it.”
“Two unique and creative entities are coming together, as we both produce and present large-scale events that feature the newest creations of artists, musicians, performers and entrepreneurs,” says Renee Terpstra, Development/Administrator of Definitely Superior Art Gallery. “This year, by joining forces, we will be offering our respective audiences even more, ratcheting up the excitement for thousands of enthusiastic costumed attendees!”
“We share a common adult 19+ demographic,” says Dickson. “So cooperating allows us to offer more to our patrons and attendees. And it’s just great for the arts/culture communities that make up our organizations. It’s a win-win-win situation!”
For more information, check out ThunderCon at http://thundercon.org and The Hunger athttp://www.definitelysuperior.com/the-hunger-lucky-13 or Facebook event page:https://www.facebook.com/events/312281422911680/.
Brian Muir has worked on 70 films, including Alien, the Harry Potter series, and Guardians of the Galaxy
Brian Muir, a sculptor and artist who has worked on some of the most iconic sets, costumes and props in film history, will be appearing at this year's ThunderCon, organizers said Thursday.
Muir is perhaps best known for sculpting the original Darth Vader mask and armour from designs by Ralph McQuarrie. It wasn't his only contribution to the Star Wars series, however: Muir also sculpted the stormtrooper armour, and worked on the C-3PO suit.
Heather Dickson, ThunderCon's media manager, said Muir approached the event's organizers about taking part this year.
"He had heard that we had got [comic book writer and artist] Jim Starlin just a couple of weeks back," she said. "He had gone on our website and looked at what we had done last year, and the way that we really focus on cosplay and props, and just celebrating the look of pop culture and movies and stuff, and he thought it was something he really wanted to support."
"I almost hit the floor when I got his email," Dickson said. "It was really sweet to actually be contacted by somebody of his level."
He's also worked on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, several James Bond films, the Harry Potter series, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Princess Bride, Sleepy Hollow, and the Dark Crystal.
Muir has also written two autobiographical books — In the Shadow of Vader, and Beyond the Shadow.
"He'll be doing autographing, obviously, several panels," Dickson said, adding that organizers hope Muir will run a workshop at ThunderCon, as well. Details of his appearance are still being worked out, she said.
Voice actor Vic Mignogna has also been confirmed as a guest at this year's ThunderCon, and Dickson said more guest announcements will be coming soon.
This year's ThunderCon is scheduled for October 27-28 at the Valhalla Inn.
CBC Newswatch Link HERE
TBT NEWSWATCH, THUNDER BAY - The creative brain behind well-known comic works such as Marvel’s Thanos, DC’s Darkseid and Epic’s Dreadstar has been officially confirmed as a special guest for ThunderCon 2018.
Jim Starlin, comic writer and illustrator, is best known for revamping the Marvel Comics characters Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock and creating or co-creating Marvel characters Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. His career dates back to the early 1970s.
“It’s amazing that we are able to bring a legend in the comic industry,” said ThunderCon executive Toller Madsen. “An amazing writer, penciller, inker and artist; I’m excited that Jim Starlin will be our first comic artist for ThunderCon.”
Having had a role in the creation of Marvel universe villain Thanos, Starlin’s appearance in Thunder Bay comes at a relevant time for movie fans. Thanos will be a prominent character in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, which is expected to have its theatrical release in May 2018.
Organizers put significant effort into attracting internationally recognized keynote guests, including Robert Picardo (Star Trek Voyager; Stargate), along with making other event improvements for 2017. Those efforts led to a significant increase in out-of-town and local attendance, and put ThunderCon on the convention circuit map. Those same efforts continue into 2018.
Keep an eye on ThunderCon’s Facebook page, where more special guests will be revealed leading up to the October event: https://www.facebook.com/TBayThunderCon/
See article HERE.
A comic book writer and artist who's written or drawn some of the industry's most famous characters is coming to Thunder Bay, Ont. this fall.
Jim Starlin is appearing at the 2018 edition of ThunderCon, which is scheduled for October.
Starlin's career as a writer and artist stretches back to the 1970s. He's written or drawn major characters like Batman, Superman, the Punisher, Daredevil, the Hulk, Captain Marvel and the Flash. Starlin also co-created Marvel supervillain Thanos, and created Gamora and Drax of Guardians of the Galaxy film fame.
Heather Dickson, ThunderCon's media manager, said Starlin will be appearing on panels, and signing autographs while in Thunder Bay.
"When he's here, he just wants to be meeting fans, chatting, autographing," Dickson said.
Dickson said the support ThunderCon has received from Thunder Bay and its residents is allowing the festival to take more risks and book bigger names.
"That gives us a safety net," she said. "It's not like we're going out on a limb, because we don't have business backing. We're not an expo — we're fan run, and nobody gets paid. It's just all volunteers."
"We're just doing this because it's an awful lot of fun, and because we would have loved to have gone to something like this in Thunder Bay when we were young."
More announcements comingVoice actor Vic Mignogna (Fullmetal Alchemist, Star Trek Continues, Dragon Ball Z) has also been announced for this year's ThunderCon, and Dickson said more guest announcements will be made in the coming weeks.
ThunderCon will take place Oct. 27-28, 2018, at the Valhalla Inn.
LINK to the CBC article
One-year-old Elliot Koski reached up from his stroller to tug on the Predator’s dreadlocks and pet his face while the alien creature scowled into the camera and looked generally intimidating.
“Nice Predator,” said Elliot’s dad, Cory Koski, with a laugh.
It was Elliot’s first time at ThunderCon, the local pop-culture convention that took over The Valhalla Inn this weekend and hosted characters of all kinds.
“I love how it’s improved over the years, there’s just more,” said Cory. “This is a really good draw and there’s a lot of people really participating. There’s a lot to look at and people dress in great costumes, I also like bumping into people I know that are all dressed up.”
The event, which is in its third year, seemed to attract a lot of families.
“It gives families the opportunity to come out and express themselves as the inner nerds that they are and I love seeing the kids dress up in their costumes,” said Crystal Koski, Elliot’s mom.
Cory agreed that he loved seeing all the little kids getting into the fun of the day, dressing up and meeting some of their favourite characters.
“I grew up as a geek and this culture was despised by most people except the subculture,” said Cory. “Now geekdom is everywhere and everyone loves it.”
Deciding to make ThunderCon weekend an event, Thunder Bay resident Noah Daniels and his son Callum, 8, stayed at the hotel so they could attend both days.
“It’s a staycation,” said Noah. “We wanted to make a weekend of it. It’s nice to see it getting bigger every time.”
“It’s really fun,” said Callum. “I just like all of it, I like seeing R2-D2.”
The Luc family has attended ThunderCon every year, said mom Danielle who was dressed like Poison Ivy from Batman.
“We usually choose a theme and all dress up like that,” she said. “We let (the kids) pick what they want and then we decide from there what we will be.”
The family of Batman villains featured son Malcolm dressed like The Joker and daughter Shailyn as Harley Quinn. As part of her costume, Shailyn carried a huge mallet, but when she saw the Predator coming she turned and walked quickly in the opposite direction.
Inside the Predator costume, David Biscardi said what he loves about events like ThunderCon is the creativity it inspires.
“It’s an outlet to see what you can do,” said Biscardi, who spent a-year-and-a-half accumulating all the parts for his Predator costume. The legs and torso, he said, were just a latex skin that needed to be painted after he got them.
“The mask was made by a Thunder Bay artist, the hands were made by a Thunder Bay artist,” said Biscardi. “I sourced them from all different people who have different talents and it all gets put together.”
A lot of the details Biscardi added himself, including designing the animatronics and sound system for the cannon on his shoulder.
“It was a lot of late nights,” he said. “But you build it and get the response. When people say ‘oh wow!’ that puts a smile on my face.”
Another pair of aliens who were turning heads this weekend were Klingons Peter Hutchison and Pierre Ouellette, both from Timmins. The were invited to attend the convention as part of the Klingon Assault Group, an international cosplay club focused around the Klingon empire and Star Trek fandom.
“We’re trying to build a community of Star Trek cosplayers here in Thunder Bay,” said Hutchison. “We’ve got a number of people who have expressed interest. There’s a new ship that’s been founded here called the Imperial Klingon Vessel Shadow Lord, so Klingons are going to be a regular presence here in Thunder Bay from now on.”
The Klingon Assault Group, said Hutchison, is based on the principle of having fun. There are very few rules and everyone is welcome.
“We do accept other races,” said Ouellette. “As long as they’re not human, and they pledge allegiance to the Klingon Empire.”
See full news article HERE
THUNDER BAY - From its less than humble beginning three years ago, the little convention that was meant to gather fans of sci-fi, comics, games, and everything geek together in a fun and inclusive way, has grown like a colossus and is taking the city by storm.
ThunderCon wrapped up on Sunday and organizers say the turnout and reception this year has far exceeded expectations.
“We were setting the bar rather high this year,” said ThunderCon executive chair, Robert Kilgour. “I think we have been rewarded with a little bit of success. We have set a higher level for bringing new and interesting ideas for our con to the people of Thunder Bay and I think everyone has responded well.”
Kilgour said when ThunderCon first started three years ago as a one day event, more than 1,000 people attended. It grew in its second year when it expanded to two days, but this year, he is expects attendance to be more than 4,000 people.
“I think we all had dreams of that, but we never expected it to grow quite this quickly,” he said. “The uptake on it was huge.”
This year included several special guests such as Robert Picardo of Star Trek, voice actor Chuck Huber, video game writer, Ann Lemay, actor Kevin Porter, author Jayne Barnard, and cosplayer MNC Props, or Vincent Grenier.
ThunderCon offers something for everyone, from board and video games, to comics and collectibles, or cosplay and live action roleplaying, whatever your fandom is, you can be sure to find it. And that is what makes the convention so special, according to Gary Kemp, a vendor who has participated in ThunderCon since it began.
“It’s so inclusive,” he said. “There’s no exclusion. When you walk in the door, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you wear, your orientation, colour, creed, anything. It’s such a wide reaching event and it speaks to the creativity of the people here.”
Creativity was certainly on display, as people dressed up as their favourite characters from movies and comics and video games.
Karen Hutchinson, a cosplayer from Timmins, Ont. made the drive to Thunder Bay with her fellow Klingons and she said her experience at ThunderCon has been amazing.
“I really enjoy these fan run, smaller conventions,” she said. “It allows you to spend more time getting to know people, people are really friendly up here, and we’re having a lot of fun.”
Hutchinson has been involved in cosplay since she was a child, and because her parents were costumers, and her father owned an upholstery shop, it always meant her Halloween costumes were extra special.
“I just grew up into it,” she said. “We were a Star Trek family. I grew up on Star Trek and other sci-fi and learning how to make costumes as I went.”
But what’s next for ThunderCon? Kemp has seen it grow substantially in only three years, but he believes too much growth, too fast, may hurt the convention.
“I believe it can keep growing, but I think the danger is to grow it too quickly without thought to what that growth is,” he said. “You want quality not necessarily just quantity.”
Which is something organizers are very conscious of as they start thinking about what ThunderCon will look like in 2018 and just how big it will get.
“There are so many different individual and fandoms within Thunder Bay and I think they see an opportunity here to share their love for their fandom together,” Kilgour said. “But I also think word has gotten out not only in the city, but into the district and northern U.S. and as far as Winnipeg and Timmins.”
“We will always keep an eye to growth, but I think what we really want to do is look at what we have and make it as good as possible,” Kilgour continued.
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Hundreds of geeks, nerds and fans attending this weekend’s ThunderCon event at the Valhalla Inn will be coming from outside of city.
This year ThunderCon organizers put significant effort into attracting internationally recognized keynote guests, including Robert Picardo (Star Trek Voyager; Stargate), along with making other event improvements. These efforts may pay off, as nearly half of the online pre-registered attendees are coming from outside the city.
“Going into the third year we knew we had to take the risk and go big, or become a stagnant event that inevitably dulls over time,” said Rob Kilgour, Chair of ThunderCon Executive. “With the help of City Tourism Manager Paul Pepe and the City of Thunder Bay, ThunderCon has garnered so much attention beyond our borders. It’s pretty darn exciting when you have Klingons from Minnesota coming to your Con!”
Kilgour adds the event’s improvements couldn’t have been possible without the Northern Ontario Heritage Corporation, which generously contributed a $12,300 grant.
“I’m thrilled that through the NOHFC, our government is able to support thriving independent events like
ThunderCon that help bolster tourism here in the Northwest and provide unique opportunities forNortherners that would otherwise be unavailable,” said Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Chair of the NOHFC.
“Congratulations to the organizers of Thundercon on their third annual event,” said Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay Atikokan. “It continues to grow and exceed the expectations of the organizers themselves. It’s events like this that help build community and strengthen our local economy. I’m pleased that our government was able to provide a Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation grant to support this great weekend.”
ThunderCon takes place this SATURDAY Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and SUNDAY Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Valhalla Inn.
For additional information, or to arrange interviews during ThunderCon please contact:
Media coordinator, 807-630-8366.
ATTENTION ASSIGNMENT EDITORS
Media passes for your organization will be set aside for your reporting staff. Please instruct staff covering the event to check in at the front desk at anytime Saturday or Sunday to retrieve a weekend pass.