September 7, 2016

The Return to FanExpo

Beffanexpoore I moved, I would go to FanExpo in Toronto every year, dating back to when it was still known as the Canadian National Comic Book/Sci-Fi/Anime Expo. I saw the show grow from being a modest comic convention to a huge attraction. It was usually a lot of fun, especially when hanging out with friends, but there were times when the ever expanding size of the convention and the number of people there were making things hard to fully enjoy like I used to. While I would have liked to have continued to attend, I decided that the only show I would make a point of not missing while living away from Toronto would be TFcon.

Well, as circumstances would have it, I had the chance to be back in the neighborhood for a couple of days, and and I took the opportunity to attend FanExpo again this year, for the first time since 2011. I could only go for Friday and Saturday, 2 of the 4 days, but I was looking forward to seeing what the show would be like after being away for so long.


Well, I’m not saying that I didn’t have any fun, but this show has grown far past the aforementioned “huge attraction” status. It’s a monstrosity! While it was all well managed, there were a lot of freaking people there! I had often used the term “Human cattle” to describe what it felt like to attend this convention, but I feel like that doesn’t go far enough.

fanexpo-charlesSo, besides trying to wade through the unending sea of humanity, here is what I did:

An early highlight was seeing Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario & Luigi. He’s a fun loving guy who spoke a mile a minute. Even with an introduction to how he became an actor, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Q&A panel that got through so many Qs & As. Anyway, he basically says that he loves his job and is happy all the time. Of course he is. He’s Mario.

Another great event I saw was a live script reading with many famous voice actors including Rob Paulson, Bill Farmer, Maurice LaMarche, David Hayter, and more. They were reading scenes from the script to Ghostbusters, but as different characters and celebrity impressions. I could tell you that it was pretty funny, but I found a video of it so why don’t you just watch it and imagine how much cooler it was to have been in the room at the time.

Besides these events, I attended some art related discussion panels about drawing and coming up with ideas. And that’s about it, as far as scheduled programming goes. There were many cool events and great guests scheduled for the show, but I missed out on a lot, either because the timing didn’t work out, I wasn’t there for all 4 days, or it was an extra special ticket event. So I didn’t get to see Mark Hamill, Kevin Convoy, Hayley Atwell, cast members from Daredevil and The Walking Dead, Christopher Lloyd,  Kevin Smith, and Stan Lee. When you line up all the things that I didn’t do, I can’t help but be a little disappointed. There is just so much to see and do at this show, and obviously there is no way to get to it all, but it seems like I didn’t do very much or get my money’s worth and I don’t know how I could have done more with what I had.

fanexpo-max fanexpo-hikari

When the possibility of going to FanExpo came up, the one thing that immediately came to mind was that I could buy a convention exclusive Transformers Fortress Maximus from the Hasbro store. I was happy to get to do that, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t be getting any version of Fort Max any time soon. So I took care of it right away on Friday morning. Seeing as this is the largest Transformers figure ever and thus I had to carry the freaking gigantic box around all day, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. He kind of took a beating, but we grew close in our time together. I also bought 2 Funko Hikari vinyls. I enjoyed wandering around the dealer room, but there were hardly any deals to be found when I did. Almost everything I saw was 2 or 3 times more expensive than it should have been. Come on, man! Conventions are supposed to be about deals! I wish I could have stayed for the Sunday to see if that situation had improved.

fanexpo-mario fanexpo-eva

Here are a few costumes that I liked. I did take a few other pictures of the sites but most of them turned out blurry. I’ll post more stuff from the show floor on my Tumblr sometime soon.

The best part of the show was when I got to spend some time with my friends, who I had been to many of the same conventions with for many years. It was great to wander around together again. I’ve missed that aspect of FanExpo since I stopped going. But I haven’t really missed going to the show itself, paying the ever inflating ticket price, and dealing with the crowds. It wasn’t all bad by any stretch and I wasn’t really phased. The other attendees were mostly polite and the staff did their best to handle it all. So I’m glad that circumstances worked out for me to attend the show after being away for so long, but if I can’t get there again next year, well, that’s probably OK. We’ll see.



Leave a Reply