Monday, August 31, 2009

Fan Expo 2009: My first big con!

So, before I say anything about Fan Expo, I have to give a disclaimer: this was my very first big con and my first Fan Expo. That being said, here are my thoughts....


Was it busy.

I've worked retail (as per my second post about my life experiences), been to Disney World many times, and gone to other events with large crowds (concerts, sporting events, etc.), but nothing prepared me for Fan Expo.

I didn't get a chance to go on the Friday (something called my job) and my plan was to only go on the Saturday (family life does that to you). I half expected it to be a busy day, as other fans warned me.

We arrived early (wife and son in tow), to make the 10am open and we hit a wall of people on the 600 level (we parked in the south building lot; we ended up with one of the last spots). "Is this the line to get in." "I don't think so. I think it is the line to buy tickets." We headed down to the 800 level and were hit by another wall of people. "Is this the line to get in?" "I think so...."

After trying to find the end of the line, we ended up in a second line for another entrance that was about 1/8 the size of the other line. Ended up on the con floor in no time....

Our first order of business was to visit the Tron booth (remember, I'm the Disney fan). It was cool to see the new Tron bike (which was at SDCC), but disappointing to see that they didn't have any free handouts (EPIC FAIL). The people manning the booth had some pretty cool shirts on, but of course, they weren't selling them.

Next stop was the DC booth for the trip around for free stuff. Not a big disappointment, as we left with a bag full of comics, buttons and Black Lantern rings.

Headed over to the Labyrinth booth. There were a couple of books that the owner had picked up at SDCC that I badly wanted. Found them with ease. It was a good thing I bought them first; when I went back by the booth before I left, one of the books was already sold out.

We ventured around a little bit more, saw the celebrities (didn't end up with any autographs, since I couldn't justify paying for them...) wandered some more and stopped for lunch before my son and wife left me to go home.

At this point, I met up with a buddy and headed for artist ally to get my comics signed. I was successful in getting autographs from:
  • Ivan Reis (Blackest Night FCBD book)
  • Karl Kerschl (Wednesday Comics #1)
  • Alex Maleev (The Last Days of American Crime sampler from SDCC)
  • Marko Djurdjevic (Shrapnel #5)
  • Ty Templeton (The Batman Adventures #1-3)
  • Darwyn Cooke (Parker: The Hunter book)

I missed Deodato (which didn't bother me) and Francis Manapul (but I can get him at other Toronto cons).

Had some interesting experiences with some of the creators: Ty Templeton was critiquing an artists work that brought his work to him to look at. It was an interesting conversation to listen to. He then proceeded to tell a tale of how he sold one of his original covers on eBay, behind his wife's back, to cover a speeding ticket.

Alex Maleev and Marko D. were sitting beside each other. Both gave their opinions of dealing with Radical comics (Marko's wasn't very nice). I came away from the experience with negative feelings towards both artists.

Walked by the celebrities one more time, where I snapped some pictures (guy from Heroes, Walter Koenig, Billy Dee Williams, Ferigno and the "Soup Nazi"). My buddy had me stand in front of him, so he could get a picture of Mary McDonnel. For some stupid reason, her personal assistant was stopping people from taking pictures.

We stopped and talked to the Soup Nazi, which was really cool. He was a very personable guy and we talked for a few moments about his upcoming work. He mentioned he auditioned for the NBC show "Chuck", which I hope he gets as it is a really great program.

We wondered the floor some more, stopping by the Anchor Bay booth to find out when Leslie Nielson was coming by. We were told 2:30ish. Then I had a look at the line up for him and I knew there was no chance of me seeing him before I left (Post con note: apparently he never showed up, so it's a good thing I didn't wait around).

I had a look at a few more booths and left at around 2:45. I could have easily spent 4 more hours there.

While I did take $120 with me, I only spent $40 (post con note: the balance of my cash was spent at The Comic Room on Sunday, on 3 weeks of comics sitting in my pull list).

Lessons learned:

  • You have to go with a game plan. Before the weekend, I figured I would wonder the booths, but that never happened. And I wanted to see some of the artists, but again, didn't happen due to time constraints and crowds, which leads me to my next point...
  • One day isn't enough for Fan Expo. Next year, I will have to go for 2 days.
  • Don't take my son. As much as I love the little guy, it was too crowded to wheel him around.
  • Have more money to spend!

Well, there's always next year.


Anonymous said...

I was at the show, good comments, good advise. I believe the official attendance was around 60,000 people, but the real number was mor like 75.

Lunatic Entrails

TubbY said...

that was a great event. too bad i started collecting comics the month after. i missed some pretty good artists and coulda got some comics signed if i started earlier. oh well, hope our fav artists come next year.