Photo: Getting in the groove, local costume players (aka “Cosplayers”) showcased their creative skills and strutted their stuff through the Cosplay contest at the 2017 event. Photo courtesy of “Windsor ComiCon.”
Wham! Pow! Wow! At The Helm Of Windsor ComiCon
With fall just around the corner and “Windsor ComiCon” on deck, Biz X magazine Publisher Deborah Jones had the chance to catch up with Jeremy Renaud, the newly appointed General Manager of “Windsor ComiCon” who took over the reins of the local pop culture event earlier this year to ask him a few questions . . .
Deborah: Jeremy, since you took over, what’s it been like?
Jeremy: It’s been an exciting ride to say the least Deb!
Deborah: Oh, how so?
Jeremy: It’s been a tremendous learning curve. I have seen more aspects of a show now than ever before and have been given the opportunity to manage a number of intricate parts all at once.
Deborah: How have you approached this year in terms of guests and celebrities?
Jeremy: Firstly, in collaboration with the President (Colin Douglas) we wanted to get back to the traditional roots of a ComiCon by focusing more on a variety of guests that have contributed to comic fandom. This year, we secured a diverse range of creators and contributors through writers, artists and inkers that moved the industry forward through their respective work.
Deborah: . . . and in terms of celebrities?
Jeremy: We’ve gone out and secured some unique guests that haven’t been to this area before . . . having been a little light in terms of horror guests in the past . . . we went above and beyond this year securing some really unique ones. The response has been exceptionally positive.
Deborah: Excellent! I also see that you’re bringing some of the original Degrassi cast and the Blue Power Ranger. What’s the story there?
Jeremy: The Degrassi Tour has been doing well across the province and we have had a lot of requests to bring them in. We also have a local flavour and Degrassi roots with Dan Woods who lives in this area. Fans will know of through his portrayal as Principal Raditch. In terms of the Blue Ranger (David Yost), it’s kind of funny as I’m often stopped anywhere and everywhere being asked, why not the Pink, Red or Green Ranger? From a business perspective and collectors one, we approached it as in the fact that many people have seen the Pink, Red and Green Rangers at other shows nearby in the very recent past and in multiple markets. With the Blue one coming, it is a Ranger that many have not seen, ever. Once word was out that he was coming to Windsor, many Ranger fans became excited with the idea of working toward completing their autograph series and/or meeting him personally. Thus, he is certainly a draw to the area. But, for the record, I’m by far not opposed to the other Rangers, it will just be a matter of time.Deborah: Nice, and have there been challenges in getting these guests?
Jeremy: The biggest thing is that there are many factors that go into securing guests. It’s not as easy as people request, then a guest appears. There is a lot of research, communication and exploration of guests’ availability and interest against their schedules with work, family and other shows, as well as costs and ability to draw. It’s a very slow dance to say the least. The good thing is that we’ve connected with many people, so am already thinking farther out in terms of 2019, 2020 and even 2021!
Deborah: Understandable, and, in general, were there any bigger challenges you faced?
Jeremy: Going further into the realm of guests and really, other shows, it’s the competition in general. There are literally over 400+ shows in North America alone and we are all competing for the same guests, so it’s quite possible that we may be interested in a guest that we can afford, but simply a conflict in schedule will prohibit their appearance or they go to a bigger show to make more money. There is a lot of complexity behind all that goes into it. Secondly, though our geography works for us in many ways there are also some challenges in getting people [and goods] over the border. There are literally millions of rare comics and collectibles in Michigan alone that our fans are looking for, but to get them over the border takes a tremendous amount of paperwork and headaches, which some vendors are not ready for. Furthermore, not as many Americans have passports in comparison to us, so for shows in the U.S., it’s a bit easier to draw us to them than vice versa, but we are trying!
Deborah: So what makes Windsor ComiCon different than other shows?
Jeremy: First thing that comes to mind is we have a tremendous group of supporters. By supporters I mean our staff, volunteers and sponsors. It is truly a team effort and without daily consultation and advice from the President who has taken me under his wing, to local staff, volunteers, Cosplayers and a huge cast of sponsors . . . this wouldn’t be possible. We are truly lucky to have a presenting sponsor in Cartoon Kingdom, a local business who is celebrating their 20th anniversary. Secondly, our venue — Caesars Windsor — is tremendous and provides an all-in-one solution for our needs. I love the fact it brings an immediate credibility to our show and a level of professionalism that I believe isn’t quite found at other venues. I’m looking forward to the future as I want to push the venue harder and see things grow, but it will take some time. Finally, and most importantly, are our fans and attendees. They are the ones that help us continue to provide this pop-culture event. We are looking to build a fan-centric experience for them for years to come and appreciate their support to date.
Deborah: We’ve known each other for quite a few years now and I know that you come from different background to this, new to you, entertainment world. How did you get involved and what do you bring to the table?
Jeremy: I was working for a local marketing agency that was hired to work on the project during its first year. The GM of that time hired me out directly in year two and eventually, with the change in ownership, the immediate past GM (now President) kept me on board and moved me up. In addition to this, I believe my experience in my past life through sport has really brought me ahead. From project and event management through to fundraising and sponsorship, I had some tools in the utility belt to break out into the pop world, which lends itself well.
Wham! Pow! Wow! – At The Helm Of Windsor ComiCon Continues HERE