Meet your Neighbour: Jacob Windatt of London Comic Con, Shock Stock, and more
Jacob Windatt seen here at one of the Shock Stock live-streams, 2020 (Source: Jacob Windatt)
LONDON, ONT -- Some people go above and beyond to give back to their community. Jacob Windatt is one of those people.
The owner and President of Grimbrothers Entertainment Inc. has brought several events including London Comic Con and Shock Stock to our city.
Windatt, a Fanshawe College alumni, began his career in film when he produced a feature film that he said, "…had terrible reviews from all over the world."
"Producing a low budget, shot-on-video feature in London introduced me to a community of like-minded people (I met my wonderful wife) and I decided to make London my permanent home."
Two of those like-minded people that helped shape his career were James Bialkowski and Cliff McIntyre of Vagrancy Films. Upon attending one of their screenings, Windatt knew he wanted to be involved.
James Bialkowski (left) and Jacob Windatt, 2013 (Source: Jacob Windatt)
"At first, I was producing small video segments that were played before the films. I would do funny skits, on the floor interviews, and promotional videos for future events. As time went on, Cliff had been diagnosed with cancer and it eventually it took his life. It was a devastating blow to the community, but we vowed to continue on, and I became more involved with the process of actually booking the films and organizing the screenings.
As they obtained a fan base, convention organizers in Toronto requested their assistance in booking films for their events. It was when their suggestion of booking a celebrity guest to the organizer was turned down that they decided to book one themselves as a part of their screening. The event was a sellout.
"At the end of the weekend James and I looked at each other and said, why are we doing this for someone else when we could be doing it for ourselves?"
In 2011, Shock Stock, 'Canada's Premiere Horror & Subculture Event' was born.
"Always being a fan of these films and knowing our community's taste helped make Shock Stock a truly independent, truly uninhibited celebration of the subculture of horror and cult films."
Nominees interview for an episode of FANatics at Shock Stock, 2015 (Source: Dockrell Photography)
Following the success of Shock Stock, another opportunity knocked. Local comic store, Heroes Comics, had just won the Joe Shuster Award for best comic book store in Canada.
Realizing that London had become recognized as a city known to those who like pop-culture, Windatt created decided to create London Comic Con.
The inaugural convention consisted of two guests, a wrestling ring, and vendors which included his seven-year-old son who sold crayon drawings of Godzilla.
Following the first London Comic Con, friend Andrew Kitt, an events manager in town approached Windatt to join forces to build on the idea. They became partners, growing the convention and having to move it from Centennial Hall to the Western Fair District, and later the London Convention Centre.
Former Mayor of London, Matt Brown cuts the ribbon to the entrance of London Comic Con in 2015, with Andrew Kitt (left) and Jacob Windatt (Source: London Comic Con)
Of course in keeping with the pandemic guidelines, their conventions have been postponed until next year, but that hasn’t stopped the ideas from flowing.
For anyone missing the convention experience, Windatt has you covered with his upcoming SUPER-Market. October 3 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., guests can attend the Mustang Drive-In for a physically distanced shopping experience.
These conventions connect guests to celebrities, local vendors, and musicians alike. People who may have felt their passion for horror and geeky fandom were not the ‘norm’ suddenly fit in without question. It creates 'con-families' and friends that continued long after their events end.
Windatt has come a long way since the mid-nineties when, as a high-school student, he planned on making films. Now he shares his passion by allowing filmmakers worldwide to submit their work to his events. His passion has extended to our community, and we are grateful for it.