The Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted the 11th annual Toronto Comicon last weekend. One of the highlights of the event was an exhibition of comics both rare and recent, with visits from their authors and artists and appearances by movie and TV actors.

Actors Sean Astin and Billy Boyd (Samwise Gamgee and Peregrine Took, Lord of the Rings) took pictures with fans and signed memorabilia, as did Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) and Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse). Comic book artists David Finch (Justice League of America), Nick Bradshaw (Wolverine & the X-Men), and Tony Moore (co-creator and artist of The Walking Dead), among others, took part in sketch duels, comic book signings, and meet-and-greets.

Compared to Fan Expo Canada, the summer’s largest convention, Toronto Comicon is much smaller and has fewer artists, writers, and actors. Fun though it was, the event could have taken place in a smaller venue for a shorter time instead of in Toronto’s largest convention centre for three days.

However, the event was a perfect way to whet the appetites of comic book readers, cosplayers, and pop culture fans. More emphasis was placed on the show’s vendors than on attending celebrities, and independent artists had a chance to sell their own artwork, books, and figures to the public.

Fans could also attend Q&A panels with the aforementioned celebrities or sketch duels between artists representing Marvel or DC Comics. The sketch duels were unexpectedly entertaining. The artists asked the audience what they wanted to see drawn, drew it, and raffled off the finished product. A three-way duel between Leonard Kirk (Fantastic Four), Mike Del Mundo, and Marco Rudy (Marvel Knights: Spider-Man) saw the artists drawing—hold on to your loose items here, folks—a breakdancing zombie version of My Little Pony. In a tamer sketch battle, Nick Bradshaw and Kirk drew a vampire version of the beloved DC Comics character Batman.

The event was a great way to spend the weekend in Toronto. With Marvel Studios releasing four films (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and the much anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy) between Toronto Comicon and Fan Expo Canada, one can expect that the upcoming 20th Fan Expo may break attendance records.

Until then, I bid you fareewell in the traditional words of the legendary Stan Lee: Excelsior!