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 basically “San 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.
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!
- Fan Expo primer: Happiness is a warm gun … carried by a woman (arts.nationalpost.com)
- Hayden Panettiere charges $30 an autograph (entertainment.msn.co.nz)
- Eliza Dushku Slams Daily Mail For Hayden Panettiere Diss (socialitelife.com)