Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Comic Cons Aren't Just For Comics

Last weekend I decided at the last moment to accompany my daughter, an avid animator and fan of everything pop culture, to Fan Expo in Toronto.

My intention was to connect with a couple of author pals and support their books. I expected an expanse of booths and hundreds of people milling around, but nothing prepared me for what I experienced.

We took the subway to Union Station and followed the signs that led to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Several Expo volunteers were already on hand to direct us to the area where we could buy tickets. I expected a lineup at a ticket window just outside the venue, but we were asked to proceed down Simcoe Street, along the side of the Centre, and into a parking garage.

As the crowd got thicker and the temperature rose, I couldn't help but feel were being herded onto some mysterious intergalactic vessel, never to be seen again.

We finally got inside, and boy oh boy... was it huge!

Exhibitors from Warner Brothers, Disney, TeleToons, Space Channel... I could go on but you get the picture... as well as dozens of comic book and collectible retailers took up the centre of the huge building. Along the edges I found Artists Ally, booths rented by local artists who specialized in comic books, fan art and Anime. I almost bought a Tardis air freshener, but it was ten bucks. I did, however, score a Montreal ComicCon poster from a Quebec comic book retailer who didn't intend to sell the posters.

I was pleased to see several independent/small presses represented, as well as Canadian divisions of big publishers like Penguin and Harper Collins, hawking books from the SFF and Paranormal genres. Champagne's new imprint, Burst, would feel right at home.

There, I met up with my friend Lesley Livingston and had my ARC of Once Every Never signed.

In the lobby and upstairs, I saw Ghost Busters, Steampunk Society aficionados, and Star Wars 501st Regiment Storm Troopers. I met up with Adrienne Kress at the Steampunk Society booth, where she displayed her bestselling children's books Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, and Timothy and the Dragon's Gate.

Later, I sat in on a panel about world building. A tall adolescent with fluffy hair obscured my view of the panel which included Lesley Livingston, Rob Weston, Ed Greenwood  (my DnD son would have loved to meet him!) and Violette Malan, a fantasy author. They kicked ass and made us laugh while giving great advice on writing.

And lastly, I must comment on... THE COSTUMES! They were incredible. I couldn't stop staring at the amazing effort fans put into their favourite characters.

There was too much to take in during one day. I can see now why people buy passes for all four days. Maybe I'll go back next year and just walk around... in a COSTUME...? Maybe. We'll see.

The 501st, ready to fall out.

The Steampunk Society had lots of really swell gadgets.

These guys freeze framed for a while before starting to hand out posters.

I expected Yakko, Wacko and Dot to pop out of this thing. 


Amber Green said...

Toronto seems to be quite a hot spot for creative types.

Sandra Cormier said...

I was certainly blown away by all those great costumes!