Toronto Fan Expo '11
(image courtesy of my friend Dennis. You can see more of his Expo photography pics here).
Last weekend I attended the Toronto Fan Expo. I only go to two comic conventions a year (the other being Wizard World's Toronto Comic Con), so I had been looking forward to the expo for the past little while. What's more, this year's Fan Expo was a bit different, in that it would be the first one in which I'd be behind a booth in Artist's Alley. On Sunday I was going to work the Toronto Comics Workshop booth, promoting Holmes Inc, an anthology I contributed to earlier this year. So yeah, exciting times all around.
I attended the convention on Saturday and Sunday, and the first thing I noticed was how much more organized everything was this year. Last year saw me waiting in line for at least 2 hours. This year I waited for about 6 minutes. I appreciate that the organizers really took the time to address last year's problems with overcrowding and created a very fun, very streamlined experience.
On Saturday I attended a panel on writing crime comics, featuring Brian Azzarello and Jason Aaron, two writers I immensely enjoy (if you're not reading Scalped right now, this is a problem). The panel was very laid back and cool, mostly just the creators answering any fan questions.
I also attended the costume Masquerade, where cosplayers showed off their impressive costumes on stage. The show was fun, but personally I had more fun seeing the costumes for myself, interacting and taking pictures, as I walked the convention floor.
Other highlights included checking out the Ubisoft booth, where I got a chance to play the new Rayman Xbox game in 3D. Even though the 3D didn't really do much for me, the game itself was really fun, reminiscent of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I also had the opportunity to try out the upcoming Star Fox 64 3D for the 3DS, but declined, since I'm getting that game no matter what and don't want anything spoiled for me.
Speaking of the 3DS, I brought my system with me to the convention, with Street Pass mode turned on. I encountered like 80 other 3DS owners between the two days, which is more than I've met in the past five months combined.
Artist's Alley was another highlight for me, where I got a chance to talk to many great people working in comics, including Jeff Lemire, Fred Van Lente, and Cameron Stewart. Ty Templeton drew me a sweet sketch of Ren and Stimpy (one of my favourite comics as a kid being his Powdered Toast Man Special), and I picked up an original Cameron Stewart art page from his comic Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye, which was written by Grant Morrison.
Other goodies I picked up included a copy of Fred Van Lente's Comic Book Comics, and Last Window: The Secret of Cape West. Last Window, a DS game that was never released in North America, is the sequel to Hotel Dusk, which I had enjoyed a few years ago. Finding the British import at one of the merch booths was a real treat. My one regret this con was not purchasing a really sweet Bio Shock print at one of the artists' booths, or getting the name of the artist so I could buy it in the future. Anyone who was at the con and knows what print I'm talking about (a Big Daddy and several Little Sisters), let me know who that artist was.
On Sunday I worked the booth, promoting Holmes Inc for a few hours. The time passed surprisingly quickly and I had a lot of fun hawking my wares. I think I personally sold exactly zero copies of the comic, but I know that overall the booth did really well.
Overall, Fan Expo was a really fun experience and a complete improvement over last year. It has me eagerly waiting for the next comic convention. With only 7 months to go until Wizard World Toronto, I'm already counting down the days.