A Brief Report from Fan Expo 2014

September 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s not San Diego Comic-Con yet, but every year, the crowds get bigger and the lines get longer at Toronto’s Fan Expo. This year the early estimates were up around 120,000 over the four-day celebration of nerdom. So, yup, me and the boy spent three days there.

As usual I bought a deluxe ticket which means you get access to all four days and a t-shirt. You also get to enter at 2:00 on the first day instead of 4:00, so the floor is a little more breathable. Unfortunately, deluxe has pretty much become the standard unless you’re a casual attendee, which means it’s value has been diluted. The next stage up is the premium ticket, which gets you all of the above, plus more swag and different and possible shorter lines to stand in. Last year, I wrote that buying a premium ticket was crazy, but ….

So…we arrived a little earlier than last year and ended up waiting inside rather than in the punishing sun like last year. And it did seem that things were a little better organized as we were on the floor on the convention shortly after 2:00. Thursday is the day to buy stuff.

I bought a copy of Ray Fawkes’ beautiful collection of Canadian ghost stories The Spectral Engine and got it signed. I also got some old issues of Frank Miller’s Hard Boiled signed by Geof Darrow. I should note here that most artists don’t charge to sign stuff. Yes, if you want a commission, it will set you back a hundred or so, but you’re getting something original. Celebrities on the other hand do charge. This year, the cheapest autograph was $25 for a Ted Raimi (Joxa the Mighty on Xena: Warrior Princess). At the top end, Matt Smith, the eleventh doctor, was asking $110! And he got it. There was a huge line-up for him. I don’t collect those. Although one year, I did fist-bump Larry Hagman.

Did pick up new steam-punk goggles, a ray-gun key chain, a dalek pin, a new collar for the dog, the obligatory free EB Games bag, the third season of Adventure Time and a pile of paper, coupons and vouchers I still have to wade through.

Other highlights:

  • My son played demo versions of Lego Batman 3, Little Big Planet 3 and Far Cry 4.
  • We had our pictures taken by a Big Hero 6 promo
  • We made fake promos for the Showcase
  • My son sat on the Ice King’s throne
  • We hung out with our friend Lindsey

I didn’t attend many workshops this year. We did however line up for the Adventure Time one. For those of you who don’t know, Adventure Time is a very weird cartoon which airs on the Cartoon Network in the US and Teletoon here in Canada. It’s a post-apocalyptic fantasy about Jake (the dog) and Finn (the human) and their friends and enemies in the world of Ooo. John DiMaggio (Jake) and Hynden Walch (Princess Buddlegum) were on hand to show their favourite episodes and chat. Over 600 people crammed into the theatre to see them.

Of course the other fun thing at Fan Expo is dress-up: Dr. Who (various doctors), Illyria, Poison Ivy, Thor, Loki, Captain America, various Dragonball Z characters, Star Wars, zombies, Black Widow, Superman, Batman, Gamora, Starlord, Spider-man, Rick Grimes, Green Arrow, . I saw a guy standing in costume who looked really really like David “The Governor” Morrissey of the Walking Dead, but to ask “are you..?.” doesn’t quite cut it. (see Fan Expo’s Facebook page for more – if you look for the picture of Finn and Jake and see the girl dressed as Marceline the Vampire Queen, my son and I are in the row behind out of frame. “So what?” I hear you shrug. )

Overall, while I had a great time, I’d say I had less fun than last year. I attended fewer workshops (there did seem to be less to do and a lot of repeats) I somehow missed Steve Epting. I didn’t get to see the cast of Lost Girl. There also seemed to be less swag and Marcel, DC and Dark Horse were not there (all three are a good source of free stuff). And yet, no doubt, we’ll be back next year.

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