Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fan Expo 2011: Recapitulation

The Fan Expo is kind of a big deal. If you don't know what it is, look it up. It's sort of Nerd Christmas and Nerd New Years rolled into one weekend for all the basement dwellers in the area, in that it's super exciting and awesome and also frustrating and terrible. Or not, as the case may be?

Last year was legendary in its awfulness. The thing was moved to a smaller hall due to bad scheduling, which combined with the unexpected astronomical growth of attendance, and the generally mishandled entry/re-entry system, made it a festival of waiting in line more than anything else. And people bitched. Oh... did they bitch. But even at the best of times, people at this thing are gonna bitch. It's the Bitch Expo. Waiting in line, you can sorta tell who's a veteran and who isn't by the relative amount of bitching they're doing.

Regardless, this year's entry system was vastly superior to last year's. Yeah, there were lines. Of course there's gonna be, but hey, sometimes if you're in the line at the right time you get this happening to you:

Freddy is easily distracted, and Bishop is easily confused.
Yeah, there's me and my brother in line behind the ribbon-cutting ceremony. So that's sorta rad. It might also be the only official photo we have with celebrities. On account of, you know, our general overall cheapness.

But if you've never been there, here's a quick summary: Nerds. Nerds everywhere.

Looking over the pictures Dree took, there aren't many pictures of just the crowds. Maybe that's because the bigger hall and extra day [four gooey days as opposed to the three of previous years] meant there was a thinning of the ass-to-elbows overcrowding. I certainly appreciated that aspect. Here's an artist's interpretation of the floor on Saturday, the busiest day of all:

Seriously, take your photos in the lobby.
There's Dree and me and Joel in our Saturday costumes. Yeah, we dressed up. How can you not? It's like a bonus Halloween. I mean, it's mostly Anime kids in goofy/slutty/perplexing outfits, and/or various Doctor Whos, but it's just sorta comfortable walking around looking like a goon in a huge room full of goons.

Us and guest of honor Tom Felton.
So there were autographs of famous people, and pictures and displays and shops selling stuff. It's like a big giant mall composed exclusively of stores your girlfriend doesn't wanna go into. But having gone for years [I think this was #8] you're sorta not there for the shopping anymore. It's the other stuff.

Personal vote for most confounding guest: Larry Hagman.
I'm not usually in it for the celebrities. Like I said, I'm too cheap to bother. I did see both Larry Hagman [above] and Elvira [Mistress of the Dark] coming out of bathrooms, so that remains the closest brush with celebrity. No, wait! We were buying cold Cokes [a very rare commodity around there, apparently] and we were behind Jason Mewes, who was getting a coffee, I think. Coffee! They're just like us.

Enough of the LEGO pictures for now. Here's a real picture of Joel and I in our costumes, taken from Dree's facebook. If you have access to that, look at the rest of the pictures. They're pretty good.

We took the dartboard approach. He landed on "Zombie" and "The Dude" and I got "Boba Fett" and "Hawaii."
And here's Dree, who went all Meta. Probably too Meta for that crowd, though. Cosplayers tend towards the extremely literal. Either way, I thought it was a pretty brilliant quasi-costume.

Is she dressed as her necklace, or is her necklace dressed as her?

Anyway, here's a quick rundown of what we did, non-shopping-wise:

DC Panel with Jeff Lemire. I'm not much of a fanboy except for my fan-crush on this guy. They were talking mostly about DC comic stuff that I have no understanding of, but whatever. Dan DiDio was there too. If that turns your crank.

Writer's Guild Pro Panel with people from Murdoch Mysteries. They neither confirmed nor denied that they stole my idea.

Horror Shorts. Wadzilla and I Was a Teenage Werebear. Both super good, although probably not films you'd bring your mother to.

Remembering Frightenstein.  Probably the highlight of the weekend for me. Mitch Markowitz is a hell of an entertaining dude. And I can also claim to be two degrees from Vincent Price, via meeting his daughter.

This was also supposed to be DnD day, but it got side-tracked by my attempts to meet some dudes to buy some Transformers, and the general non-functionality of Mobilicity preventing my phone from ever working. So DnD didn't really happen. We did play a few rounds of the card game we play, though, so that's good. Although one of them was... played concurrently with a conversation from an interesting fellow. You meet lots of interesting fellows at these things, though. Guys that come up and just start gabbing away like it ain't no thing. Here's a picture of him!

Along with the stars of Black Swan and that Nicorette commercial.

This day was supposed to be anchored by Troll Hunter, which failed to be screened. We were never given a reason why, either, which bums me out. We did, however, go to:

Lance Vs. Lance. This was a strange panel, but entertaining. Lance Henriksen is an interesting dude.

Saw the Horror Shorts again, with Dree with time.

So yeah. Good stuff all around. Here's a few pictures of the junk I came home with:

More not-Lego. Kre-O was 2 for 1 at the Zellers booth!
Transformer things.
Various and sundry. Actual LEGO and a totally bitchin' Aliens toy.
Books, for readin'. The Sweet Teeth are signed, as are all my Lemire books [stalker.]

And there are the only signatures I got. Mitch Markowitz, the producer of Frightenstein/ Super Hippy, and Richard Comely, creator of the perennial Captain Canuck character. Also a boss Kreon poster that I found sitting on the ground.

So there you have it. A long but terribly shallow review of the nerdiest weekend in Canada. To say it was better than last year is the understatement of forever, but it was not the best ever. Rue Morgue and the 'Festival of Fear' section seemed extremely small. I don't know if they even wanna be there anymore, which is sad, as that was the reason we went in the first place.

Also, I remember fondly those first years, where you were far closer to everything, and it was less packed and more intimate. I mean, it was nice to see Tom Savini sitting right there near the fans like he did the first year we went, but he was also charging 20 bucks for an autograph, which I got for free way back when. Same goes for Doug Bradley, who has moved off the floor and up to celebrity row. But hey, it's growing bigger than me, and these guys should get some compensation for the hand cramps they probably end up with. I guess.

Anyway, that's that. I now have slightly less than one year to develop and construct my costume. Here's a sneak peek:

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