Fan Expo!

(Dear readers: This post is very long, but I’ve tried to keep it as entertaining as possible. Come with me on an epic journey of extreme nerdiness!)

Last weekend, my dad drove Hubby and I to the airport and off we went to Toronto. We flew on a Porter plane and sorry if this sounds like an ad, but if you ever have the choice between Air Canada and Porter, go with Porter, they are great! Unlike the miserly bastards that run Air Canada, with Porter food is included and the flight is much more comfortable. Of course, flying in general is incredibly expensive either way.  They advertise great deals, but then sneak in “fuel surcharges” and you end up paying out the nose. So we won’t be flying again for awhile. Still, it was a half hour flight vs five-six hour car ride, which was great.

Anyways, we arrive at our hotel and right off the bat, you can tell which guests are Fan Expo attendees and which aren’t-Someone wearing some crazy costume (Fan Expo), someone giving strange looks at said costumed person and clutching their luggage (not Fan Expo). I was excited, it was my first time! The next day, we get up bright and early, pay a ridiculous amount for breakfast at the restaurant in the lobby (There were no other restaurants nearby open at 8am. WTH??) and after triple checking that I had our advance passes, camera and my purse, we lineup. As we waited in line, I snuck some pics:

My brother-who has gone to many Fan Expos-warned me that the lines are long and slow and the food is overpriced. So I pulled out an issue of Sandman and smiled smugly at the snacks at the bottom of my purse, no overpriced nachos for us! After waiting in this line, we were ushered into another line, and then another, and then forced to wander inside one of those metal barricades that are set up like a maze, everyone wondering why. Maybe for the organizers entertainment, who knows? Then we finally reach it-The gates of the Expo. We stroll around:

There is an area called “Artists Alley”, in which comic book artists display their wares and you can chat them up. Or at least that’s the idea, the ones manning their booths seemed to be their friends or Fan Expo employees. Weird. After walking around some more, we lined up to meet Jeff Smith, artist, writer and creator of the beloved “Bone” series. If you haven’t read it or are looking for a nice piece of literature for your children, I recommend it! It is a very funny and sweet series that is safe for all ages!

After waiting and waiting (The guy at the front of the line droned on and on..), we met him and he was very nice! I asked some questions about how to get into the industry and his answers, while a bit general, were still appreciated. I know it seems like a long shot, but I would love it if he came to the monthly Comic Jam! I think he could come up with some pretty cool stuff! Ah well, a girl can dream right?  After a short break, we went upstairs for a mini Comic Book workshop. It was fun and the instructor gave some very useful tips, not just for making comics, but pretty much art in general. The only problem was this one annoying 16-year-old kid who kept raising his hand and blabbing out long winded answers in his squeaky, nasally voice. Clearly the kid thought himself very smart and wanted to prove it to the instructor-and the rest of the class. Personally, I wanted to smack him! People were there to learn from an industry pro, not some know-it-all teenager, particularly since the class was only an hour, but eventually I just learned to ignore him and focus on what was being taught.

Our last activity of the day was what brings most people to Fan Expos/Comic Cons-The celebrities. Most of the time the guests at these events star-or starred in- science fiction, horror and fantasy movies. Since this was my first Expo, I naively thought that I could meet almost everyone there, no problem. Unfortunately this is not how things go.To get an autograph, you have to get in line, pay $40-50 for a photo glossy and after two seconds the celeb signs it and says: “Next!”. For a photo op, you have to wait in another line, pay ahead of time and wait in another line upstairs for them to grace the room with their presence.
So to sum up: Fan Expo=Waiting in line+paying $$ for the priviledge of standing next to another human being for a photo or the joy of owning a scribbled on photograph.
Yep, it’s nuts, but as much as this non-psychophant hates to admit it, it is kind of exhilerating! I met Malcolm McDowell and was SO nervous!
Him (In his wonderful, one of a kind voice) : “Hello sweetheart”
Me (shaking, wide eyed): “I know this sounds trite, but I really love your films. You’re so talented”
Him: “Oh that’s not trite. Thank you.”
Hubby snuck a photo of us and I definitely looked crazy, my eyes the size of saucers, clutching my photograph. But what can I say? I’ve been a fan of his since junior high!
My next celeb was Lance Henriksen. (No photo, sorry. Click here to see Lance) My brother told me that the guy was nice and he wasn’t kidding-Lance is very cool and easy to talk to! Lance played the cyborg Bishop in “Aliens”, as well as starred in a great vampire movie “Near Dark” and the TV show “Milennium”. He also has an autobiography out called Not Bad for a Human. I had a hard time deciding whether to buy his book or pay for an autographed photo, I decided to get the photo and read the book later. When I told him that I wanted to hang the picture in my kitchen, he wrote “What’s for breakfast?” on it, which made me laugh. Our last celeb was Katie Sackoff for my brother. She was nice too. I also got this snap of Kevin Sorbo nearby:
It was quite the scene of controlled chaos, fans on one side in lines, celebrities sitting in chairs, Fan Expo employees screaming at anyone who dare cut in front of people and cross the threshold to take (free!) quick picture with their cameras of the celebs. I watched a three foot woman practically give the beat down to a guy who did just that! I know that they want to squeeze all the money they can out of us, but what a racket-noise-wise and money-wise! We emerged from the packed celeb area and wandered around the also busy hallway, full of costumed people and kids doing some kind of dance. Here are some random shots:
Finally after being tired of all the craziness, we left and landed right in the middle of late NDP leader Jack Layton’s funeral. It was a sea of orange:
The service was broadcast on a giant screen and on the televisions inside a pub where we ate lunch. I’m more of a Liberal, than an NDP person, but it is sad that Jack passed away so young. He was a very charismatic leader and I definitely think his heart was in the right place on certain issues.
After more walking, Hubby and I went back to the hotel and spent the rest of that evening casually strolling around the business district of Toronto.  The CN tower was lit up with orange lights and the air was warm, it was a quieter end to a busy day.

11 thoughts on “Fan Expo!

  1. Lynn

    This post was fascinating. I’ve never been to an expo like this and had no idea about the lines and the paying – I thought once you were in, you had full access to the celebs, everything included.

    I still got a thrill from your descriptions of meeting the celebs…not sure I’d pay for it, but on the other hand, how exciting!

  2. Zhu

    Malcolm McDowell? Wow! I would have been impressed to meet him too. The worse part in these kinds of situations is you really can’t think of anything original to say. I would have gone with “I love your work” too or something along these lines. While mentally telling myself that boy, I sound lame 😆

  3. Allison

    Do you think you’ll go again next year?

    We went to FanExpo for the first time this year too, and while we had a lot of fun, I don’t know if we’ll do it again anytime soon. I’m not a big fan of waiting in line and talking to a celebruty for 5 seconds doesn’t really appeal to me.

    But I did LOVE seeing all the cosplayers and some of the art and collectibles on sale were really cool.

  4. leashieloo

    This is super nerdy fun! I’ve always wanted to go to something like this. My sister and I are going to the local comic con next month and I’m excited. Not dressing up, though I love seeing costumes!

  5. Tania

    That’s cool you met Jeff Smith – I loved Bone! So well done.

    And I would have been flummoxed if I had met Malcolm McDowell, too. 🙂

  6. Godless Lawyer

    The whole thing reminded me of the Simpsons ‘Bi-mon-sci-fi-con’.

    We definitely needed “Homer Simpson – Nerd Buster” for that know it all kid.

  7. Pauline Post author

    Lynn-It should be a flat fee, but yes it was exciting despite the expense. If they get people who I REALLY want to meet next time, I just might go again. (Just not by airplane and we’ll probably crash at my brothers)

  8. Pauline Post author

    Zhu-Ha! That’s exactly what I did! I said the most dorky thing imaginable and then mulled over what I should have said for the rest of the weekend! Ah well, when you’ve got hundreds of people who want to talk to you, you don’t really care what they say. (Well unless they say something mean, but who the hell would pay to mouth off a celeb? Especially Malcolm?)
    Allison-I am SO jealous that you attended the Tony Moore zombie workshop! It looked awesome! Yeah, the whole waiting and paying to talk to someone is pretty ridiculous. As mentioned, I’d only go through the hassle again if there people there that I really had to meet!

  9. Pauline Post author

    Leashieloo-I’m not one for dressing up either, but I do love taking photos of the costumes! I can’t wait to hear about your Comic Con adventure!
    Tania-Isn’t Bone great? I wish I knew about it earlier! And he was very nice, not as in much of a rush to talk and then move on to the next person! Malcolm would flummox anyone! 🙂

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