REVIEW: Fan Expo 2008, Metro Toronto Convention Center

So this past weekend was Fan Expo, the biggest annual convention Toronto sees for all things relating to comic books, science fiction, anime, horror, and gaming. Basically a lot of geek in one place.

What follows is a report of the few (there were just so many!) events I was able to attend over the course of the weekend when I wasn’t haggling for discount comics.

Every year, Fan Expo tries to outdo the previous year’s slam dunk of guests. This year, many thought the organizers “dropped the ball,” as it were. Those people are idiots for one reason and one reason alone:

Dr. Buzz Fucking Aldrin!

Ever hear of the moon? Yeah, the moon. Buzz Aldrin’s been there. He and Neil Armstrong were the first two astronauts to walk on our planetary satellite’s surface! And 40 years later he is still awesome. Why?

Because he was on the moon!

There are actors who pretend to go to the moon. There are dorks who write about spandex-wearing, mommy-issue-laden douchebags (note: I love comics) who go to the moon. Then, there’s this guy. Went to the moon. Still not impressed? What is wrong with you?

Another of the panels I went to was the Brent Spiner Q&A. For you geeks who don’t know, Brent Spiner played Data, the infamous android of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame. Unfortunately, the talk wasn’t overly impressive. Spiner, while very comical and great at talking, spent most of the hour not answering the questions or avoiding them by saying things like, “You know that I’m not really an android, right?” No, Mr. Spiner. I did not know that.

However, so as not to be a big downer on one of my favourite science fiction characters, the panel started on a great note. As fans were filing into the packed room, Spiner spent about 5-6 full minutes plugging Burrito Boyz, a Toronto institution that makes the best Burritos. Everyone who has ever had one agrees. Including Brent Spiner. Hearing an android talk about Burritos for 6 minutes made the experience totally worth it.

So there’s this new thing that Marvel has been doing lately wherein they grab stacks of comics and other merchandise and more or less put on a little trivia hour for fans. Run by two marketing people and 2 writers, it was actually a lot of fun. A lot more fun than I thought it would be at least.

The charm of this event was its simplicity. There were two types of games, (straight trivia and a more complicated trivia game where fans team up with the writers) and questions of a wide range of difficulty, ranging from “what is Cyclops’ real name” to “name all the characters Daredevil has known biblically.”

From the game show, I followed my Marvel-obsessed friend into what was advertised as a ‘casual discussion’ with Marvel representatives. While it felt a bit more like market research than a casual discussion, it was certainly well run and at times even humanizing to see these creators (the same ones from the game show) be frank about things in the Marvel Universe.

Not that I’ve been rating things on a scale of ten, but to give you an idea of how this panel felt, I give it a 6. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t more than a 6.

Fan Expo is (obviously, rightfully and damn well better be) the Toronto mecca for nerds and their compatriots (geeks, dorks, dweebs and the occasional jock.) We’re all friends here (except for that one asshole who snapped at me when I was about to tell him which booth to find the comic he was looking for) and because of this sub-cultural camaraderie, people feel it’s okay to wear costumes.

If only I had the balls for such activities.

The moral here is that if you were hoping to see people make the (often wrong) decision to dress up as their favourite comic book, science fiction, anime, manga, horror, video game, emoticon, bad dream, porn star or internet fad character, this convention did not disappoint.

Posted on August 29, 2008 by | Hits & Misses, Live | 5 Comments »| Tags: , , , , ,

5 Responses »

  1. I had no idea that people were actually complaining about the quality of the guests for the Fan Expo. Like you said, Buzz Aldrin! How much better could it get than to have a guest that’s actually been in space, not fake space? I typically go to the Fan Expo for the Festival of Fear, but was tempted for the first time in a long while to attend some of the sci-fi events. The only one I did make it to was a panel on Smallville with Michael Rosenbaum and Laura Vandervoort — which reminded me of why I don’t like going to the sci-fi events: the sci-fi fans! They ask so many inane questions, take so many damn pictures and have little perspective on what goes on behind the scenes of their favorite movies/tv shows. Not a Q & A goes by without someone asking about what’s going to happen to a certain character in the future storyline of the show, or some other detail that should be directed to the show’s writers, not the actors. Essentially, the actors are treated as though they ARE their characters, which just seems nuts to me. Now I’m ranting, so enough of that.

    By the way, I was at your Hard Core Logo tribute night and I just want to commend you on a job well done. I hope you do something like this again in the future.

  2. if i knew people would be dressed up as emoticons i totally would have went.

  3. next year stats is going dressed as april o’neil with his press badge. it’s a new rule we’re enforcing.

  4. OMG, I just spotted Heath Ledger in the top photo disguised in a Superman T-shirt checking up on what reports of his (fake) death have done for the publicity of The Dark Knight.

    Juicebox is gonna blow this story wide open!

  5. I admire what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that this is working for you as well. Took me awhile to read all the comments.ugg broome boots sale for you !

Leave a Reply