Montreal Comic Con – Much Ado about Hamlet


Bonjour hi. It’s Jim again, and I’m back with another Comic Con review. This time, we are off to the land of Poutine and Beaver, Montreal. I have my hands tied a bit for my Montreal reviews (not in a good kink way, either). Everything here has happened in the great wide open area of the general public. That means nothing–at all–is used from BTS land. With that caveat, it’s on with the show!

Comic Con is different from each city. Montreal goes full blast and is the single best Comic Con event this side of Trump’s wall. Montreal has everyone from the comic artists, to voice actors/actresses, to publishers, to Doctor Who and the cast of Hamlet. If it’s in Fandom, they’ve got it. There are even more areas and people listed on their venue–so many more, I can’t possibly cover them all. If you are a fan of anything under the fandom rainbow, you have to go to Montreal. It is, by far, the best and smoothest run Comic Con I’ve been to.

ONLY in Montreal will you find Kevin Smith being introduced to Poutine (2 years back); Tom Felton serenading a cafeteria (last year); and David Tennant dropping the single most sage piece of knowledge about Donald Trump. Montreal has it all and, yet, the vibe of a Comic Con (all people coming together) still fits. What a wonderful world it would be if we lived each day like Comic Con.

In voice land, we have Kevin Conroy and Charles Martinet. Kevin, during a panel, opened up on his beginnings from the stage. He said something that was rather interesting (okay, a lot of things that were rather interesting) about the Dark Knight. The voice and I do mean, the voice for Batman, comes from Kevin’s work in Shakespeare. His connection with the character comes through Hamlet. I felt a bit sheepish when he said it. After all of these years watching his animated series work and being involved in Shakespeare, it was a ‘wow, am I thick’ moment for me. The parallels are there–including the internal struggle–that it makes perfect sense to equate Prince Hamlet and Batman, but it took Kevin Conroy’s role for me to see it. This just goes to show, Comic Cons are educational! (Kids, remember to push that angle on your parents! ‘But, Mom, I’m learning about Shakespeare!!’). The other side of the coin comes from Charles Martinet aka Mario. I have to admit, I liken Charles to Mario so much, I might have accidentally called him Mario once (twice, okay). What I saw in Charles’ booth was nothing short of amazing. He is one of the most giving actors to his fans. Every time I would walk near his booth, I could see him engaged with fans (young and old) in character and out. His ‘Yippee!’ is infectious and still echoes in my head. In fact, I’ve caught myself using it daily. Whilst looking up a clarification on Charles, I ran into his reel and he is one incredibly talented actor (and funny to boot!).

Lucius Malfoy and Gimli walk into a bar…I’m a big Harry Potter fan. I’m a big Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings fan, too. These two actors, Jason Isaacs and John Rhys-Davies define those series in the films for me more so than the titular characters. I think that speaks a lot to their acting, but what the public saw of them in Comic Con speaks a lot to their true character. I got to witness Jason Isaacs mesmerize a group of young adults (and a lot younger). He had the entire area spellbound, and it wasn’t him trying to sell a poster or the new season of The OA, he was pushing something that is very near and dear to my heart–reading. He kept court and expounded on the beauty of the written word by masterfully demonstrating how a scene, maybe someone favorite scene in Harry Potter, was just one snapshot of the imagination found in the book. His audience took him in and took him to heart. Young people walked in as fans of the movies and walked out as newly christened readers. That, my friends, is the power of Jason Isaacs. John Rhys-Davies is, as most fans discover rather quickly, taller than the characters he plays. His fans also learn something else rather quickly–he is one of the most giving people around. I have seen John Rhys-Davies at a full capacity booth and give each and every person their time, a smile, a laugh, and his honest attention. I’ve seen him walking out to greet fans big and small–always with great cheer. He is oxygen. In an age of fake people, it is so damn refreshing to see someone like John Rhys-Davies. Hollywood newcomers could learn a lot from him.

Much Ado about Hamlet. I teased it for the title and here, at the close, it comes. Much Ado about Nothing is what I saw Tennant in during its London run and Hamlet, well, anyone with a tv set has seen Stewart and Tennant play the father-son role in that gorgeous production. Besides being rather gracious and completely the best at their games, Tennant and Stewart have another thing in common–their unapologetic views of what we all know as ‘shite show, the 2017 edition’. Let’s face it, once Bowie went back home we all knew the world was doomed (remember all of those ‘Cubs will win the pennant when hell freezes over/end of times jokes? Not so funny now, are they?). 2017 hasn’t been kind to a lot of people and to see Tennant and Stewart stand up for what they believe in is pretty empowering. Stewart made no bones about it–what the UK is going through is the result of carnival barkers selling lies. There’s also no love lost between Stewart and a certain president. That ‘non-love lost’ is shared by his Hamlet co-star, David Tennant. Tennant was an amazing panelist for the special Doctor Who panel (Tennant, Kingston, and Agyeman, all of them brilliant during that panel). His message towards Trump was rather clear in stating ‘no Doctor Who fan would like the guy’. However, what Tennant said about his character of Kilgrave deserves a spot of its own. The question was about playing villains–how does one connect to a villain when acting. Tennant’s initial response focused on Kilgrave and how the character was someone who didn’t have the easiest of lives and then was given almost absolute power. To compound this power, the one person he wants to be with seems immune to him. This is essentially, pinning for the girl we can’t have mixed in with a rather complex network of fears and anxieties, aka the human condition. Brilliant in itself, the answer could have stayed there, but Tennant pushed it further into Sage land. His extended response echoes a bit of what Stan Lee said about Doctor Doom–nobody thinks they are a villain. The words that hit home for many of us are (as a direct quote–yeah, Jimbo took notes on this one!): ‘Nobody knows he is a villain. Donald Trump thinks he is a great guy.’ Microphone drop. Standing O.

I think, if anything, we can take away the theme of empowerment from Montreal Comic Con. I started out positing the wonders of a world that had Comic Con as daily life. I don’t mean the costumes (although, I’d ROCK this Princess Leia outfit), but the attitude–no matter what race, color, religion, or geopolitical background you come from, you can get along with each other. I’ve seen it. I know it can happen. Hell, maybe it can only occur in 3-day stints, but it’s a start. After all, isn’t bringing people from all walks of life what Fandom (especially SexyFandom) is all about?


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