Well, I just got back from Toronto FanExpo 2008. A blast as always! Tom and I got onto the dealer floor around 10:30 or so, about a half an hour after the show opened. Having purchased our tickets online last week we were able to bypass the enormous ticket line and head straight downstairs. We waited in line for no more than a minute or two before getting right into the show. A far cry from the years when we just showed up at the door and waited for a couple of hours to buy tickets. I forgot to check my shutter speed so this picture is pretty washed out, but you can see the ticket line up. What youâ€™re seeing here is the back cluster of the line which is preceded ay a couple hundred feet of people in line. This was taken as we were leaving at 3:30. Word to the wise, order tickets online!
Once inside we were quick to wend our way over to the Least I Could Do booth. We enjoy chatting with Sohmer and Lars and always head over there as quickly as possible as they are generally the highlight of the show for us. This year they seemed very busy and distracted. Perhaps theyâ€™ve achieved success like the PennyArcade guys. While they truly deserve it, standing listening to Sohmerâ€™s Red Bull fueled antics is something I will genuinely miss.
The highlight for us this year were the guys from Hard Nipple Clothing. Fronted by a particularly engaging Austin Powers replica these guys proved to be a great deal of fun. With Powers drawing people in as they passed down Artists Alley one couldnâ€™t help but pay attention and buy a â€œfewâ€ tickets for their t-shirt raffle. Coming back 3 1/2 hours later with 35 raffle tickets in my hand I found none of their exuberance had dissipated. A truly fun bunch of people with a few clever products(none of which seem to appear on the site linked above).
As a Linux Geek, Iâ€™m loathe to admit it, but the Major League Gaming association had a spectacular Microsoft sponsored setup. There were a few hundred gamers there competing on XBox 360â€™s in an extremely cool techno environment. My gaming skills are spectacularly lame, but just standing in there made me want to compete.Â The only blight on this gathering were small clusters of gamers being extremely obnoxious to their opponents following their victory. I realize daily that Iâ€™m getting old, but that had me shaking my head and thinking something starting with â€œâ€¦youth of todayâ€. My apologiesâ€¦a secondary blight on this cool gaming vibe was the blatantly irrelevant commercialism of Zellers having transplanted one of their electronics departments into the outskirts of this gaming mecca. Whatâ€™s that about?
As usual, I eventually found my way over to the massive t-shirt booth put together by the guys at Stylinonline. I love this booth! If you can dream of a t-shirt thatâ€™s comic, film, or pop culture related, these guys have got it. Iâ€™m not affiliated with them in any way, but they sure do get a lot of my money. Seeing the wall to wall t-shirts with their comic and TV themed graphics makes me a pretty happy guy.
I believe that this was the first year for Marvel Comics to have a booth. While it didnâ€™t appear to have a lot of content they had some cool classic rock tunes playing and both the booth and the airspace above it were festooned with enough Marvel character banners to set any comic fans heart aflutter.
The autograph signing area was a busy as ever and even seemed to be better laid out this year. Providing a good sized buffer between the raucous GamingExpo and itâ€™s quieter artistically themed counterparts. I was slightly bitter at the cancellation of Missy Pyle, hoping to get my GalaxyQuest disc signed, but enjoyed seeing the others even if I didnâ€™t seek autographs from them.
Posted outside of the show once again was
a booth manned by the members of the 501st Legion. Everyoneâ€™s seen these die-hard Star Wars fans in photos of Comic Conâ€™s resplendent in their Empire finery. This year â€œVaderâ€™s Fistâ€ was accompanied by â€œThe Rebel Legionâ€ which had more than a few Jedi sprinkled around. A fellow looking strikingly like Quiâ€™Gon or perhaps Obi Wan was even teaching lightsabre techniques to a small cluster of young Padawanâ€™s. An extremely dedicated and talented group if every there was one.
As always the FanExpo was awash with brightly coloured Anime fans both enjoying the show and anxiously awaiting the Masquerade that is held on Saturday nights. I donâ€™t claim to recognize all of the characters or even to be an Anime fan anywhere near their class but I really enjoy seeing the cosplayers having so much fun in their various clusters in and around the show.
In all we were in and out of the show in about 4 and a half hours. Not nearly enough time to do all of it justice, but plenty enough time to consume all of my ready cash on t-shirts. One of these days I hope to dig deeply into the boxes of comic books in the ComicExpo with plans to finally finish off my Iron Man comic book collection, but while Iâ€™ve added some sweet Iron Man items to my t-shirt collection I guess comic additions wonâ€™t be happening this year.