By Eleanor MacVeigh
The fourth annual Atomic Lollipop, dubbed “APop” by fans, happened a few weeks back at the Ontario Science Centre, where even the employees got dressed up. Three days of fandoms, cosplay, panels, and friends both new and old made for a great weekend. Did I mention the Science Centre? Because it was a great backdrop for the fans and ensuing antics. While revelling in seeing my favourite characters all around me I also had the opportunity to walk through and explore the exhibits. From wandering around skeletons and running into Titans, to random encounters with dark elves and League of Legends characters in the Great Hall, APop had it all.
Many of the visitors I spoke to were happy with this year’s location, and enjoyed the multi-dimensions of the con and the centre. What was different was that on Saturday and Sunday, the Ontario Science Centre was open to the public as per usual, which led to a Spiderman exclaiming “my entire day has been filled with kids happily pointing and shouting ‘Spiderman!’” Meeting little people that actually think you’re the character you’re cosplaying is surreal.
Cosplayers like Kendra Snaith revelled in the attention (seen in her Anivia costume from League of Legends) and were everywhere showing off their tributes. Kendra created the Pool Party Skin just for Anivia because it didn’t exist and she thought it would be fun to do. This is just one of dozens of the inspired reboots that were seen all weekend.
But it wasn’t just the costumes that made it to the con. Sellers, speakers, and performers were rampant as well. Venders this year sold everything from our favourite Japanese snacks like pocky, to Doctor Who themed bath fizzers, Lolita clothing, themed plushies, custom glass work, and so much more! The panels covered just about every fandom that was on parade. Care Of Magical Creatures had witches, wizards, and muggles alike learning about reptiles, owls, and a slew of other magical creatures. But that wasn’t all - the OWL testings were opened up to muggles, as well as Ollivander’s Wand Shop where you could find (and by find I mean craft) the perfect wand.
Fan Fiction The Show presented a collection of Sailor Moon themed fan fictions found online and read by their cast and special guest Toby Proctor, the voice of Tuxedo Mask. On the Saturday they held a second panel, Erotic Fan Fiction Competition. It was Team Sushi’s Dragon Ball Z fan fiction versus Team Titan’s Attack on Titan story. After a lot of laughter, Team Sushi holds their title as undefeated. You’ll get them next time ladies.
Northern Belle Rogue and Gilly_Kins of Geek x Girls (www.geekxgirls.com) fame sat down and educated cosplayers on the how to’s of cosplay. Where many other panels covered the How To: Sew, Build, or Construct your cosplay, these ladies focused on the actual level of “play” commitment. How in depth you want to be in your cosplay. I’ll admit it, I took a ton o f notes, including the bit on how to pose for the best photo. The best pieces of advice they decided were:
But the fun didn’t just stay inside the studios, the Grand Hall played host to three different Burlesque shows, Holodeck Follies, So You Think You Can KPop, and so much more. The KPop completion was a mix of dance, lip syncing, and some of the teams were even singing with their choreography. The judges had a fair balance of compliments and suggestions for improvement, but from where I stood, they were all amazing.
The day and the evening had everything from epic lightsaber battles, a bouncy castle and jousting, a couple of LARP sessions for a Doompunk nature, Nerf target range, and the Wheel of Death & Zombie Thunderdome. Zombie Survival Camp (yes, that’s a real thing) set up a booth to promote their camp, educate the masses on survival and what to do in case of a zombie apocalypse, and runa thunderdome against their very own Zombie that you could have mildly hurt. Would be “survivors” spun the wheel and wherever it landed would dictate their weapon for the showdown. Survivors were then placed in the battle arena and cheered on as they went head to head with the zombie as Zombie Survival Camp instructors gave them pointers on the best way to take the zombie down.
The evenings at APop got a little more interesting with DJs , live bands , and dancing. From the dance party, to the fire show, the burlesque shows, late night jousting, to a Midnight Society Meeting complete with Ross Hull, there was never a moment with nothing to do. Possibly the most controvercial aspect of the con was the burlesque shows though. I have never seen that much booty shaken and breasts revealed amidst so many childhood heroes. The host even jokingly harassed a possible 16 year old for being in the audience of this clearly adult segment.