Fan Expo Canada 2012: The First-Hand Experience

Fan Expo Canada 2012: The First-Hand Experience

Over the weekend in Toronto, I attended my first convention at FanExpo Canada. I had a very limited budget, and spent most of my time at panels and on the show floor, but was it really worth it? Find out after the jump. (Beautiful ladies inside.)

The Beginning

FanExpo Canada is a truly amazing event with an incredibly friendly atmosphere. I really don’t know why I waited this long to go to a truly amazing Canadian convention filled with passionate creators, guests, staff and exhibitors. As soon as you step onto the show floor, you are thrust into a world of many fandoms, it’s just incredibly overwhelming. It felt like a summer Halloween, except adults and guests took part as well.

My Saturday started at 3'o clock in the morning as I woke to prepare for what seemed to be a great day. I showered, ate breakfast, packed all the comics I wanted to get signed (which stayed unsigned, more on that later.) and headed out to the con with a friend at 9am. I’m almost never in Toronto; I live in a small city not 30 minutes away from it so visiting the big city is always a treat. Upon arriving to the convention centre, the line stretched down the whole street with at least two thousand nerds ready to enjoy a great Canadian day. Upon entering the line that wrapped around the Rogers Centre and CN Tower, I found out Stephen Amell and the stars of Arrow would walk around the show floor, but I searched all day and couldn’t find them. (Hey Amell, if you’re reading this, send me your autograph!)

The Arrival

I arrived on the show floor at around 11am, greeted by giant Frankenweenie posters. The tremendous amount of exhibitors, booths and gorgeous cosplayers gave me a nerdgasm, and I rushed down to the signing area to check out who had arrived in the already. I spotted John Bernthal rocking a Tony Stark goatee as well as Stan Lee and John Barrowman. After spotting only these three people, the incredible feeling of seeing them with my own two eyes had taken over. I tried to resist getting autographs (and I did!) to spend it on things more personal to me (and I did!).

After settling down in the Expo and doing a lot of exploring, I went down to the gaming area, where WB had set up two PS3 consoles with an Injustice: Gods Among Us demo. This game is on my 2013 must-buy schedule, so I thought I’d give it a go. I chose Wonder Woman, and her skill set seemed fit with a wide array of moves featuring not only her lasso and fists, but you can also switch to the classic shield and sword combo. The game’s combat is very fluid, and once you get the hang of it I think you’ll be able to master it easily. I recommend that you try this game out at upcoming conventions, because it may be something big. I also played a few matches in WWE 13, and it’s the greatest wrestling game yet. Even though I can't elaborate about it on this site, I recommend it to the wrestling fans.

The Amazing Spider-Man Panel

I sat down at Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man panel expecting to hear some great news about the future of Spider-Man, and more hints towards issue 700. I wasn’t disappointed. Ryan Stegman, Stephen Wacker, Dan Slott, Axel Alonso and Arune Singh were all great and funny, welcoming the Canadian audience with open arms. It began with lots of talk about issue 692, where Alpha debuted. Dan Slott assured us that the hatred towards this annoying kid was perfectly normal, and he wanted to write him that way. They continue to reiterate that Dan Slott must go in to hiding, in which Wacker informed us that they have a panic room for him with Doctor Who DVD’s and “jellybeans” in which Slott quickly corrected him and said “Jelly babies! I’m trying to teach him about Doctor Who…” which was a personal favorite moment of mine. Remember that amazing Spider-Man collage that formed Spidey’s eye? We were told that Marvel contacted the artist and made an agreement to turn it into a variant cover to The Amazing Spider-Man 700, and told us that he’s working on some more including one for Daredevil. Even though an official announcement is yet to be made, Stan Lee will be answering 10 letters in the back of Amazing Spider-Man 700. After all the chatter about Spider-Man, Arune introduced us to Minimum Carnage, a series that has Kaine (Scarlet Spider) and Flash Thompson (Venom) meeting for the first time to take down Carnage, whose main goal is to attack the Microverse. This series was met with great applause, and there was a ton of praise for Chris Yost from the panelists, mentioning his work in animation as well. All the covers for the series are looking very fantastic, and I can’t wait to pick them all up. The only way to describe them all is "lots of symbiote". We were also introduced to the incredible Hawkeye series, and the panel teased the upcoming arc which was described as “Hawkeye versus a video tape”, where Clint had done something really, really bad and someone has found out about it. Arune and the panelists continued the slideshow and started to give some well-deserved praise to Mark Waid’s Daredevil series. I believe this got the highest applause, until we shifted to Bendis’ End of Days. Dan Slott pulled out an uncolored, unedited print out of the first issue and let two lucky fans come up to the panel to read it. After one fan finished, Arune asked him his thoughts on the book and the fan was simply at a loss for words, only saying that it was incredible and epic. It was then time for some Q&A with all of the panelists, and one of the first questions was about Harry Osborn possibly donning the Green Goblin persona. Dan Slott said that during the Danger Zone arc, there will be “goblinish surprises”. The next question was about the Alpha Flight, and Arune said that one of the characters would be joining the X-Men soon so we Canadians can stay satisfied. A couple of minutes later, the cover to The Amazing Spider-Man 699.1 was revealed, which featured Morbius The Living Vampire holding Peter above his shoulders (think Ultimate Warrior) in front of a beautiful moonlit background. This led to a debut announcement exclusive to FanExpo Canada…Morbius the Living Vampire’s own ongoing series by Joe Keatinge and Richard Elson. The crowd ate it up, with each of the panelists knowing it. They explained that since Thanos: Son of Titan fell short; the creative team was available to work on a new project. They were asked which character they’d like to write, and it was said they dove deep and pitched a great deep, dark Morbius book that won’t just explore vampire mythology, but everything that makes Morbius who he is. However, it didn’t take long for a “Rob Pattinson has a new movie role” joke to come out of one of the panelists. I think it may have been Wacker… The next audience question went back a little to the Hawkeye announcement, when a fan asked “Who is the Hawkeye tape with?!”, to which the reply was “Who? Oh you think it’s a sex tape?” which was one of the best moments in the panel, with the fans laughing. The next reply was a simple and straight “Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger”, who recently got engaged. Arune took the microphone and asked the Canadian audience, and seemed to legitimately ask “Is that like a Royal Wedding for you guys?” We Canadians simply stayed silent; with a portion of the crowd giving him a few boos. I quickly left the remainder of the panel to purchase a photo op with someone who I dreamt of meeting – John Barrowman. The Spider-Man panel was an absolute blast to be at, and there were a couple more things that I didn’t cover such as the announcement of a Punisher: War Zone series with concept sketches and more talk about Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel series, as well as Arune and the rest of the gang taunting us because we do not yet air Ultimate Spider-Man or have Cartoon Network, Great fun.

A Captain And A Five-Time Champ

After purchasing the photo op ticket, I approached the room in which John would be taking pictures and tracked the line that went for what seemed like miles. There had to be at least two-hundred people ready to meet Captain Jack, who recently got a role on The CW’s Arrow. Whilst in line for about an hour to meet the wonderful Mr. Barrowman, the Doctor Who Society of Canada had an amazing booth with life-size Daleks, a giant Emperor Dalek and incredible Doctor Who merchandise which I had considered buying. Before I knew it, I was in the Photo Room ready to take my photo. Upon approaching John, I felt a sense of fulfillment, like my life was complete and I could die right there because I had met one person that I have grown up watching. He was really nice and instructed the position we needed to be in for the best picture, and we chose an action pose. He patted me on my back and I was on my way, but it was just an incredible experience overall. After picking up the print, I headed back to the show floor to play more WWE because the Avengers: Battle for Earth booth was packed with a huge line. Upon walking the floor some more, I saw a Bane cosplayer dancing to Rick Astley’s famous “Never Gonna Give You Up” in Just Dance 4 by Ubisoft and instantly knew that my life had been complete, but I needed to meet some more guests. I walked up to WWE Superstar Booker T’s booth, where he was selling early copies of his new biography From Prison to Promise. I instantly bought a copy, took a picture with him, shook his hand and got the book signed. It was incredible, because I am a huge wrestling “mark” and meeting Booker was an absolute milestone in my life. Unfortunately, every comic guest that I wanted to meet had incredibly long lines and I didn’t have time to waste. I missed the Marvel NOW! Panel because of Barrowman, but it was worth it. I spent the rest of the day walking around talking to exhibitors and exploring some shops, which contained anything a geek could ever want. They had stores selling swords, Doctor Who merch, Supernatural merch and decades worth of comic books ranging from 1000$ to 25,000$.

The End

August 25th 2012 was an incredible journey for me personally, and the expo was filled with beautiful women in amazing outfits. A lot of females dressed up as Ms. Marvel, Poison Ivy, FemShepard from Mass Effect, Silk Spectre, Wonder Woman and a few Rogues. Most men were in incredible Deadpool, Spider-Man, Iron Man or Captain America outfits that looked straight out of the comic book. The Expo definitely didn’t disappoint, and I’m considering returning to Toronto this spring for Toronto Comic-Con. I was given a press pass for all days except Saturday, but I sadly couldn't attend those days. However, I still had a blast and a great time with a friend. If you have never been to a convention, I urge you to go no matter how small or big. New York Comic Con is right around the corner, and that’s the perfect opportunity to get started.

Note: Most images that are used in this article were found on Instagram or taken by myself (Blurry Dalek photos!). If you would like your image removed from the article, or if you would like your cosplay from FanExpo to be featured please Contact Me
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