FanExpo, my day in images

As I mentioned in my last blog I was headed to this past weekend’s FanExpo in Toronto. This, despite my dislike of large crowds and waiting in seemingly endless line-ups. Although the day proved to be exhausting, I managed to enjoy a wide range of activities: shopping, spotting celebrities (Larry Hagman butted past me on his way to the washroom as I stood in an ATM line) attending a few panels, and chatting with folks about comics. Here are a few photos which capture a little of my experience at FanExpo.

FanExpo 2011 ticket lineup

The lineup for tickets. I told you... didn't I tell you? I haven't even gotten inside FanExpo and already I'm waiting in line. Actually there are 2 lines here, the one on the left which I'm standing in is for cash payments. The one on the right is for debit and credit card payments, and moved considerably slower than the cash line.


FanExpo 2011 Star Wars Family

Star Wars was well represented at FanExpo. Here, a whole family from Tatooine visit the show and pose for photos.


FanExpo 2011 R2D2 models

Some people have too much time on their hands. Not ony did these guys have time to build life-size models of R2D2, but they also organized themselves into a club as well.


FanExpo 2011 C3P0 and R2D2 costumes

These might not be as realistic as the models above, but these girls (yes there's a girl inside the R2) certainly deserve full marks for inventiveness.


FanExpo 2011 Futurama Zoidberg costume

What's fun is when you find people in costume taking photos of other people in costume.


FanExpo 2011 Cosplay Girls

There were plenty of cosplay girls (and guys) dressed up as their favourite anime characters.


FanExpo 2011 Mario Costumes

People even dressed up as their favourite video games, like Super Mario.


FanExpo 2011 Monty Python Knights

These Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail were on their way to the Saturday evening Masquerade. Such great costumes, the servant even has coconut shells to do the galloping horse sound effects. I hope these guys won a prize!


FanExpo 2011 Main Floor

The main floor of FanExpo as seen from one of the panel conference rooms above.


FanExpo 2011 vintage Archie, Human Torch and Detective comics

Of course, there were comics at FanExpo! These vintage Archie, Human Torch and Detective comics were some of the rarer finds, kept in a display case. The Detective comic is issue #33 from 1939. The grade for it was 3.0 (10.0 being perfect) and it was valued at $950.00.


FanExpo 2011 Reid Fleming Dennis the Menace books

Some of the haul I brought home. I found these books at the Silver Snail booth for 50% off the U.S. cover price. Couldn't resist the Reid Fleming: World's Toughest Milkman collection as I have 2 of the issues tucked away in a longbox.


FanExpo 2011 Joker action figure

I found a great deal on this Joker action figure.


FanExpo 2011 Joker and Batman action figures

As you can see, my new Joker figure will complement this Batman statue I got at a comic show last year.


FanExpo 2011 All New Comics swag

Of course, I stopped by the All New Comics booth to pick up my regular comic shipment and have a chat with Peter. He and Brian (sorry I missed him) are great! They had generous gifts for their customers who stopped by their booth at FanExpo. My gift pack included all the books pictured as well as an All New Comics t-shirt and lanyard. Easily $100 worth of gear. Thanks guys!


Five things to do at FanExpo

2011 FanExpo Floorplan

FanExpo is a very BIG show. Plenty of room for line-ups and a crowd here.

I’m not really good in crowds. Oh, I’m not phobic about it or anything, I can still function. Let’s just say that I prefer smaller groups to larger ones. My chief complaint is that I have little patience for waiting in lines. It’s unlikely you’ll ever find me camping out for the next Apple store opening or even the final acts in George Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy of trilogies.

So why would I go to one of the ultimate geekfest calendar events like this weekend’s FanExpo in Toronto? Opening today, this four day pop-cult extravaganza is a comic book, sci fi, horror, anime and gaming expo all rolled into one enormous, awkward mass of humanity. The event has grown into the third largest of its kind in North America and boasts of hosting Canada’s largest masquerade.

Past guests have included: Stan Lee, John Romita Jr. and Sr., Alex Ross, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Carrie Fisher, Malcolm McDowell, Edward James Olmos, Alice Cooper, Clive Barker, George Romero, Wes Craven, Bruce Campbell, Margot Kidder, Elvira and many more. And, guess what? People… Line… Up… That’s right, when they’re not jostling one another around the 700 retail booths, thousands of people will stand patiently (mostly) in line to meet their idols, speak with them for a moment or two, maybe have a photo taken and get their gear autographed.

To be honest, I haven’t really had much experience with comic cons, having only gone to some of the smaller shows. FanExpo will be the biggest show I’ve gone to. So what should I look forward to doing? Here’s five things:

Shopping? Of course!

The vendor booths are one of the largest components of any con. There’s always deals to be had and you never know what gems from yesteryear you might find if you take the time to dig through a few longboxes. All New Comics, the online comic mailing service I use will be there so in addition to being able to chat face to face with Peter and Brian, I’ll also be able to pick up my most recent orders along with a special gift. Thanks guys!

Attend a panel

Historically, this is one of the most important parts of the con experience, the opportunity to see your favourite writers, pencillers, inkers and industry execs discussing what’s hot, new and important in the industry. DC Comics will be there to roll out more teasers about their New 52 relaunch. Marvel Comics will be there to make certain DC doesn’t score too many points as the topic de jour amongst comic fandom.

Check out all the Exhibitors (similar to vendors, only not)

The major companies will be there, so will all the indy companies. They’ll all be introducing their new books, characters, storylines and merchandise. This is a great opportunity to find out what’s coming up in the world of comics through sneak previews, giveaways and deals, deals, deals.

Stroll down Artist’s Alley

I may not line up for much, due to that crowd/standing in line thing, but still, it’s worth a look and a lot of big names in the industry will be there including: Joe Kubert, Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert, Jeff Smith, Chris Claremont, Tony Moore, Matt Fraction, Steve McNiven, Brian Azzarello, Jill Thompson, Ethan Van Sciver, Francis Manapul, Dale Eaglesham, Fred Van Lente, to name only a few.

Try to stare without staring

One of the most enduring clichés surrounding comic cons is that of the over-the-top fan. You know what I’m talking about. The nutters who take their hobby to the next level of extremes and attend events dressed as their favourite characters. The anime and manga crowd are really big on this, to the point of having coined a word to describe this activity: cosplay. This sort of activity is not only encouraged, but also rewarded at such events as the Saturday evening masquerade. If masquerade isn’t enough there’s also the Teletoon Retro Costume Contest.

There’s lots of other things I could do. Take in a sketching duel, go to a portfolio review or have my picture taken with all my favourite costumed characters. But hey! There’s only so many hours in a day and if I have the time I wouldn’t mind catching some of the activity at the sci fi, horror and anime expo portions of the show.

In spite of the crowds, it should be a good day.