The Hook Rocked Fan Expo Canada! Or Was It The Other Way Around?

Everyone has their addiction, their release valve that allows them to continue to function in a crazy, mixed-up world.

For some its chemical (Hopefully not, though!) in nature, auditory (Rockin’ out until your ears bleed!), or monetary (Shop ’til you drop, right ladies?), but we all have, and need, something that fills that void in our hearts created by our daily routines.

Personally, I like to dive into a great comic; at least you can blast your enemies between those pages! 

Fan Expo Canada is basicallySan Diego Comic-Con Lite”, but not in a bad way. Over 65,000 Canadians from all walks of life gather in Toronto over the course of four days and pay homage to the masters of comics, sci-fi, horror movies, anime and video games. Some wear elaborate costumes that take a whole year to perfect, others, like me, just throw on their favorite t-shirt. Some bring rolling suitcases to carry away their wares (the nerd masses spend tens of  thousands of their hard-earned dollars at these conventions every year!), others, like me, just grab two big bags and hope for the best when their spouse sees just how much one can spend on comics!

My Saturday was spent acquiring comic books, t-shirts and memories of experiences only a true fanboy would find of value. Like meeting Tom Savini, a true  Hollywood Renaissance man who most people will recognize as “that Sex Machine guy From Dusk Till Dawn“. He’s been an actor, stuntman, director, and a special effects and makeup artist! He currently spends his days advising young people how best to create that perfect “zombie eating a brain” experience.

Tom Savini Image via Wikipedia

Education really is so important, right?

Seriously, Savini is really one cool dude who knows he’ll never be George Clooney, but his fans love him. I watched him at his table, set directly beside the main autograph area. He charged $20 an autograph while his more well-known compatriots got away with charging $40 for a signed picture and another $40 for a posed picture.

For some its all about the star power of Fan Expo. They stand in line for thirty-plus minutes to fork over their cash for fifteen seconds with their favorites. Lee Majors, William Shatner, Eliza Dushku, the full line-up wasn’t as high-profile as San Diego, but no one seemed to care.

Personally, I can’t wrap my head around handing someone almost $100 for a picture and a signature, but maybe that’s because it takes me longer to scrape together $100 from the jackasses I deal with on a daily basis!

No. I’m content to pay my $40, plus $20 for express ticket delivery (You want to do anything to avoid prolonging your time in line at a comic convention, believe me!), and just “walk the floor” soaking in all the sights and sounds.

And when you combine five genres, mix with a hearty helping of diverse fans, and pour into one convention hall, the end result will overload your senses! There was everything from average retailers (HMV, Zellers) to middle of the road stores (various comic/genre merchandise like The Silver Snail), to the downright bizarre (Twisted Toys, stuffed animals that are, well, twisted!), to appeal to anyone and everyone.

Well not everyone. my daughter, normally a quiet child, was so repulsed by the guy running the Twisted Toys booth, she told him off! “You’re a sick person!”

I still can’t stop laughing.

Traffic coming into Toronto was extremely light, considering the state funeral of Jack Layton was unfolding Saturday, as well as the usual summer events. The initial line-up to get into Geekfest 2011 (The wife’s name for Fan Expo!) wasn’t bad at all, but for some reason the organizers wound the line into the most bizarre shape (You would depart an escalator and twist around three times before winding up where you would have been if you would have simply turned left!), leaving reason far behind!

It’s always interesting to watch the staff at these things slap on a badge and t-shirt and adopt the personality of a drill sergeant! Their behavior just adds fuel to the simmering fire that can erupt easily at a con; tempers can flare when you’re wading through dense crowds under normal circumstances, but when you’re attempting to pass people with wings and swords bulging from their backs, expletives are going to eventually fly!

Of course most people were good-natured, even when the crowds began to get as thick as some of the nerds you had to squeeze your way around. I think most of the attendees were just happy to be out of their mom’s basement.

But I kid my fellow nerds. Seriously, the day started to take its toll after a few hours of geeky goodness, so my family packed up our treasures and headed out for lunch. Through a cyber-snafu, we wound up with two sets of Fan Expo tickets, so we found a young server at East Side Mario’s who was more than happy to take them off our hands!

Our good deed done, we filled our stomachs and headed home while the ‘con raged on without us.

Now I have to start saving for next year!

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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49 Responses to The Hook Rocked Fan Expo Canada! Or Was It The Other Way Around?

  1. Brent Spiner was at the last Comic-Con we attended, and while it was fun to hear him speak, I would NOT pay a millionaire actor $30 for an autographed picture. I thought that was repulsive. At least say “All Proceeds to Charity!”

    And there was an edge to him, like he’s bitter now. He threw off vibes of “I can’t believe I’m here, 20 years later, talking about Data. I want to be taken seriously as an actor, dammit, not stereotyped as a gold-eyed robot!” I can’t say I blame him, but it took the shine off the experience.

    Up next: Michael Dorn. WHOO-HOO!

    • The Hook says:

      You go, you great big Trek fan, you! I’ve seen Spiner too, and you’re right!

    • Russ Ray says:

      The last Trek con I ever attended was one with Spiner… in the 90s, you never had to pay extra for autographs or pictures, so I ended up getting Frakes, Nichelle Nichols, Mark Lenard, and I think Takei… Spiner wouldn’t meet and greet, which I found disappointing, and then I learned what a recluse he was in real life. I don’t think I would ever pay extra for autographs… that is a load of crap, but I guess the con business has changed once people started realizing they could make money off it.

      • The Hook says:

        Data certainly is popular, isn’t he?
        And you’re right, the con business has changed – and not for the better!

  2. Ahahaha! I love all your entries, but I must confess a special love for this, reflective as it is of our shared passion for comic books and the gatherings that honor them (and all other things nerdy).

    I’m with you on the signature front. I already spend way too much time in line at SDCC to actually fork over money for the privilege. I already got the signature I wanted (Joss Whedon’s, boo-ya!) during a chance encounter in law school, beside.

    Aaaah, my nerd heyday! Through visiting and reading about cons, I’m allowed brief, joyous remembrances of it. 😉

    😀 <– me after reading this post

  3. Jo Bryant says:

    They charge for an autograph???? What happened to giving back to you damn fans for putting you in the position to sign autographs in the first place. Did you see Kevin Sorbo? Did ya? Did ya?????
    BTW – that picture of the metalised furry thing, twisted is being nice. 🙂

  4. Caroline says:

    Sounds like you had a great time! I wouldn’t have paid the extra cash for an autograph or photo either…that’s ridiculous. I’d much rather soak up the scene, like you did. I think I’m there with your daughter too…that toy is definitely twisted, and very weird. Kinda freaking me out, ha!

  5. Kim says:

    No, I am pretty sure that it was you who rocked 😉

  6. mairedubhtx says:

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. jennygoth says:

    sounds like a great time the only comics i know are dandy beano and viz lol but i loved them that bear is weird if it is a bear lol someone has a twisted imgination but its brilliant xxjen

  8. Good for your daughter in telling the Twisted Toys guy off!
    Glad you had fun at the Expo!

  9. brittany220 says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun! I’m glad you had a great time! I went to Wondercon in SF and that was the first convention I’ve been to, San Diego Comic Con would be fun sometime though!

  10. HoaiPhai says:

    It sounds like a blast. Does the public get dress up, too? I’d love to go mostly to photograph people in wild get-ups.

    What’s with Brent Spiner? He is getting recognition for a role he played. That’s what he wants, right? It’s not like he’s a real android who wants attention for his acting skills instead of his mechanism.

    I love that “killer koala” or whatever it is!

  11. Russ Ray says:

    Ah, Zatanna…

  12. bmj2k says:

    I’m sure Zatanna lifted that guy’s, um, spirits.
    And the stuffed animal? Obviously a victorian steampunk teddy bear fire hose nozzle.

  13. Androgoth says:

    I have just subscribed to you and then I don’t miss out on your most excellent postings, i like the idea of sitting around and taking in the cash for a signed picture or whatever, now how ghoul is that? 🙂 lol the unknown photograph of the Teddy is a cross between Johnny Depp / Captain Jack Sparrow Pirate Boy, The Terminator and Doctor Bones, well that is my take on it anyway… lol It was definitely a good day out that’s for sure and meeting Tom Savini too so an all round brilliant time, and equally a brilliant posting too…


  14. Raven says:

    Seeing Tom Savin creating that perfect “zombie eating a brain” experience would be a thrill in my opinion!!! I think he is HOT! I am not a big comic fan but enjoy it just the same. I don’t like shopping but do enjoy a variety of things…Sci Fi is one.
    Hope you are having a great weekend.
    Thanks for stopping by Ravenwood.

  15. jlheuer says:

    Just one day? You didn’t check into a hotel and have a bellman move your bags around? Btw, I love comics and vampires.

  16. irratebass says:

    Dude, I cannot wrap my head around the thought of paying someone for their autograph, but YOU MET TOM SAVINI….sooo cool!

  17. Aaron Babcock says:

    Well your daughter isn’t wrong. Sounds like you had a blast!

  18. sonsothunder says:

    Yeah, Savini actually has that “Zombie Eating A Brain” sort of glazed over look himself. But interesting fellow. Personally I think a “Zombie” or someone already ate “Clooney’s” brain. The lame movies he’s allowed himself to star in ( IMO) spoke less than a 1919 Boris Karloff, silent film.

    The “Steampunk” pop-off,valve, peg-leg, Kuala looking “creachsture’.. Well, he looks like he may have served on the “Queen Annes Revenge” as Blackbeard’s galley rat…Oh, and speaking of blowing off steam,..Yeah, the old man must have self consumed in a burst of flames…seconds after the photo was taken…
    Cause I see a five finger plum of smoke spewing out of his right ear already.

    Great stuff…Love the laughs.

  19. bekkoni says:

    That is the most adorable steampunk killer wabbit I have ever seen. And all I got last con was a pocketwatch.

  20. ernestwhile says:

    I’ve never been able to picture myself at one of these things, but I always enjoy the pictures. I imagine if you were a fairly attractive lady it would be super super easy to get laid as much as you want.

    I did hang out on the set of Star Trek III when I was a budding teen lad, though. I got to meet everyone except Mr. Nimoy, who was directing. Nichele Nichols looked at me like I was a pastry. Shat made a few crappy jokes. I think Walter Koenig was drunk.

    Good times.

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