Fan Expo 2009 – Saturday AKA Marvel Day
Ever heard of Comic Con? If you’re reading this you should have, and these days everyone’s trying to get a little bit of the comic convention pie, meaning that as being one of the cultural centres of Canada, Toronto played host to one of the biggest conventions of its kind – in Canada. Which means that this weekend, the dreary painful weekend that occurs soon before school starts, is(was) Fan Expo. Now, as a little warning or point of reference, I attended for an hour or so on the Friday and for most of the Saturday, and to be honest that was all I needed. Also, I punched Joe Quesada. Mentally.
You’ll see that in my other post: How I beat Joe Quesada in a Cage Match and Made Him Cry.
For some more context, I’m an anime guy more than I am a Sci-Fi guy or a Comic guy. This means, more often than not, I’ll be at Anime North yearly. Anime North would have to be the closest thing to a comic convention I had been before this Fan Expo business; however I learned that there are a couple main differences between the two cultures, Anime and Comics. First – The running of the nerds. While at Japan and E3, these are actual events, when I say (type) running of the nerds, I’m referring to the whole aspect of being absolutely crazy for the branch of fandom you’re in. For instance, there is a well dignified reason that Naruto fans are called Narutards. This is in comparison to the fact that I’ve never seen anyone go crazy over Spider-Man or any other western comic, no matter how much more popular they over Naruto. And, while I can’t account for all Expos or Cons, this was a very subdued location compared to the rabid violent attacks I was used to experiencing. Usually I would be snapping pictures like a madman and trailing through the events like they were estranged parts of my college fund. Here, the results were different. Although, it could be because this time, I was here on a mission. A mission to get a comic collaboration I’ve been working on critiqued. And to punch Joe Quesada in the face.
In any case, Fan Expo is huge, with an expected attendance of over 40, 000 people. I know that’s not much my US standards, but you have to consider this is a guy coming from AN. Last time I went there, there were only 14,000 people.
You ever seen a hockey game before? Well imagine three of those stadiums placed side by side and you would have the size of the show floor, which hosted five different conventions: Comic, Sci-Fi, Anime, and Horror. Comics were obviously the largest parts of the expo followed by Anime shockingly enough. Horror and Sci-fi were stuffed into two corners where all the real nerds hung out, discussing Doctor Who, Star Trek and Horror-things which I had no idea existed. I’m pretty sure I insulted a couple people by asking who some famous special-effects artist was.
Everything with that con seemed to scale with it, the artist alley was huge and the amount of games to play and things to buy grew with it. I personally got a copy of Umbrella Academy, which I must recommend to anyone, regardless of Gerard Way’s origins, Newuniversal, since it was written by Warren Ellis and I love his writing, and Spider-Man #600, the best Spider-Man issue this year.
Oh, and I did manage to find out why characters were murdered en masse during Ultimatum. You know, that crappy Ultimate Universe book that killed nearly half the cast. Apparently it’s a lead up to another plotline and it’ll all make sense later. God that was useless answer.
Back to the comic thing. Along with my artfully endowed partner, Vivi, (to whom really most of the effort lays) we gave our Work-In-Progress for a webcomic into several professional artists who commented on its appearance and briefly on its story. Considering I’m the writer, I took notes. The people there were surprisingly good with us, who were thrusting something into their hands and staring with glimmering hope-filled eyes that accompany both the young and the naive.
In my own anticipation, I was fully expecting someone to slap me.
When they didn’t, I went to shake their hand, awkwardly decided not to and then passed on to another professional. That was better than I thought it would be. If there’s anything I could say about Fan Expo, is that the professionals who showed up are helpful people. Special thanks go out to Nick Postic, who returned some great commentary.
So, soon enough once we get the hitches worked out, everyone should look out for the semi-weekly webcomic, Claim My Earth. A comic about dreams and subways that go on forever. Until they reach the end of the line that is.
On thing I’d like to point out was that most of Saturday’s events (in terms of comics) revolved around Marvel. And while this isn’t a problem, seeing as the only DC character I like is Batman, I was wondering why the DC events was more focused on Friday and Sunday while Marvel was the main focus most days, especially on Saturday. Hell, you could have called Saturday, Marvel Day in terms of the overwhelming presence they had.
All in all Fan Expo was fun, but I found the lack of variety in the events daunting. At AN, they’d have a ton of things to do centred around all aspects of anime culture. And maybe that’s the problem here. Fan Expo might be spreading itself a little thin with all the different sections that it doesn’t focus on a single topic 100%. Or maybe I’m a fish out of water here, and this is just how Comic Conventions really are. Buy lots of stuff, talk to the editors and writers, and obsess over that. At the very least I can say Fan Expo was a different experience from what I’m used to, but I recommend it to anyone with more than a passing fancy to comics and cons.