Fan Expo 2012 – 5 (Of the Many) Lessons I Learned at my First Con
Admittedly, this was my first con/expo…ever. In Canada there aren’t too many and the high majority are way too far for me to travel to. Well, that and I don’t do big crowds. This year though, I made it a point to ensure I got to one and this past weekend, I did. It was 4 days of extreme emotional and physical highs and lows but, a blast over all.
Con Lesson #1: Artist Alley is the place to be.
The moment I ran down the final set of escalators leading into the main hall, I felt more overwhelmed than I have at any other point in my life. I could no longer handle the anticipation and upon arrival, I literally squealed like a little girl who’s just seen Justin Bieber live.
As much as I wanted to run around and check out every aspect right that moment, I knew my purpose and made a hasty get away to Artist Alley to grab some signatures before the con ‘officially’ opened. This was an expensive endeavour. Never in a million years did I think there would be so many bloody brilliant artists all over the place. Aisle upon aisle with big and indie names alike, all gathered with prints, issues, and originals that are just to damn good to pass up.
It was a wonder to see the amount of work I would likely never find anywhere but at Fan Expo. Local Ontario self-publishers sat in a high majority and not supporting your local comic community when you have the means to would be a crime. So, I scooped up near everything I saw and was successful in getting every signature I wanted. At this point I thought I had con’s all figured out and boy, was I terribly mistaken.
Con Lesson #2: Expect super duper huge lines.
It was quite clear from the start that there was a bit of disorganization when it came to floor plans and events. Artist Alley was cramped even during early admission when the floor was practically empty, the aisles were just too small. Once you get the hang of being more aggressive in your walking patterns though, the more cramped areas didn’t seem so bad. Especially when you got through it to see the artist you were hunting down had no line – that is as good a reward as any for the hard work.
It felt as though too many tickets were sold and lines were sickening. I purchased my tickets months ago, only to spend half a day trying to get in and another 30 minutes to leave. Once again I will point out my lack of con experience because for all I know, this is common. And from what I’ve read, there are down falls to every con and I am glad to say, other than some messy scheduling and tight fits, it was far more good than bad.
Con Lesson #3: I am a giddy, nervous fanboy.
I never considered myself a fanboy, of anything. I don’t like to argue and bicker about things I enjoy, I want to enjoy them. I prefer to fancy things for what they are and accept their purpose, rather than obsess over their creators and aspects which I find displeasing. I also, having spent many of my teenage years in Vancouver, have grown pretty cold to fame and rarely am affected by it’s presence. But, as it turns out, when I got to some creators, artists and booths I was very wrong on the fanboy aspect.
Sure, I wasn’t arguing anything but I can now relate to the excitement of meeting those who push these comics, films and games out. I literally grinned from ear to ear and often became very giddy, barley answering their questions and comments, just trying to make a swift getaway before that girlish squeal made it’s next appearance. I suppose it’s not the same as being star-struck but, embarrassing enough to make me blush at the thought.
Con Lesson #4: Cos players are 10x more thrilling to see in person than in photo.
I had the pleasure of seeing countless, astoundingly well produced outfits over the course of Fan Expo. Unfortunately for you, I am rather horrid with cameras and scored very few great photos. I will post what has turned out well, but, those were very few and far between. Thankfully, everyone was more than happy to take photos and I couldn’t help but sneak myself in a few for scrap booking purposes.
Con Lesson #5: There is nothing more exciting than a gathering of geeks who hold no judgement to your own inner dork.
In the city which I abide, we have our fare share of folks into comics and other ‘geek’ cultures, but, it’s very rare you see them around. There are a few local gatherings, mostly for Magic the Gathering, but, none of comic, horror, and anime appreciation. (Which is shocking considering the oddly high number of creators that live here as well.) So, being in the presence of so many other people who embrace and get the same rush and excitement as I do from these people and their work, was truly inspiring.
Everywhere, all I heard of was great films, comics, shows, art, anime, toys, even freaking bath robes coming from the lips of people ranging in age like no other gathering could. I saw everything from toddlers to 90 year olds and everyone was having a blast! That sounds like a successful expo to me!
In the end, I came out with a lot of nice swag and met some hilarious and talented folks. I even managed to nab myself a signed Crossed hard cover, which was a major score do to my lack of chance on ever getting it directly from Lapham’s hands. Not to mention my first purchased commission piece of Toni Chu by Rob Guillory, the artist of Chew.
It was experience like no other and I am tremendously excited for Toronto’s Comic Con this coming year, where I will go in with a much better understanding of what the hell is going on.