October 23 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 30  

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Simpsons Mania!

By Kelly Marcella
& Paolo Zinatelli

Gazette Staff

TORONTO -As one of the mainstays of our generation's popular culture, The Simpsons not only provide endless hours of laughs, but they really know how to draw a crowd.

This past Saturday, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted the first ever Simpsons Mania. Hundreds of people streamed into the Centre to look at animation sketches and ask questions of one of the original Simpsons animation artists, Wes Archer.

The event was put on by Animation Connection, an animation art gallery based in Toronto. Owner Steve Watt said The Simpsons are the gallery's best selling and most popular act, surpassing Looney Tunes, which was the best seller.

"We are the world's leading sellers of Simpsons' art and we have a tremendous clientele," Watt explained, adding there has been incredibly strong public demand.

Watt stated he would like to make it a recurring event, getting bigger and better every year.

Archer was on hand to sign cels purchased by collectors. "I've been with the show since its creation," Archer said. He left in 1996 to work on King of the Hill, where he has since remained.

According to Jack Skorochod, director of Internet marketing for Animation Connection, this event was important because with the majority of animation now digital, it's hard to find people like Archer anymore.

"This is the first big event with a personality involved with the creation of the show," Skorochod explained. "Collectors and fans of the show will buy regardless of the event." "I want all of it, but I can't afford it," said Dan Vanrooy, who was purchasing a sketch of Wayland Smithers. Vanrooy added he had travelled all the way from Lake Louise.

Dina Wendler from Toronto attended the show for one reason. "Because it's free [admission]." She added she was fighting the urge to purchase Simpson's art. The credit card stays in the pocket.





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