The world you know is an illusion, a pale imitation of what the world should be. The real world, the only one worth living in, a world free of prejudice, racial and gender persecution, is one that only aligns with ours intermittently, for several excruciatingly-brief days at a time, in various locations throughout the world.
I’m referring of course, to a comic book convention.
Hello, mega-nerd, remember?
Fan Expo Canada recently joined our world’s vibrational frequency for four days, forever transforming all who came in contact with it, including yours truly. I am basking in the post-con afterglow, but I still feel like Lockjaw’s chew toy. (Yeah, I’m a mega-nerd. What of it?) So where do I begin? How do you sum up a con so packed with nerdy goodness the organizers must have used Gallifreyan TARDIS technology to fit it all in?
(Yeah, so I’m THE mega-nerd. What of it?)
Here are just a few of the highlights of my Fan Expo Canada 2015 experience:
1) I got to see Tom Savini again. If you haven’t seen his performance in From Dusk Till Dawn, you really haven’t lived, so stop reading this, beg, borrow or steal a copy and don’t come back around here ’til you do, people! We’ll wait for you.
All good? Then we’ll continue.
Meeting the Sex Machine himself, not to mention one of the greatest make-up artists in the biz, is a geeky pleasure I never tire of. The man’s a genius; he could turn your grandma’s shiht zu into a hell-hound in five minutes flat. That would certainly liven up Christmas, wouldn’t it?
2) Seeing my daughter’s eyes ablaze as she located that elusive piece of fandom merchandise. In this case it was a necklace adorned with the Dark One’s dagger from Once Upon A Time – within an hour of scouring vendors. That was a personal record, by the way. The entirety of the Expo’s North Building was dedicated to celebrities and merchandise and let me tell you, they needed it; they had everything but Jimmy Hoffa’s corpse preserved in carbonite in that building. My daughter’s still on Cloud Nine; the kid honestly never thought she’d find one – then she found two.
Hey, when it comes to an artifact that can control an all-powerful being, it never hurts to have a back-up…
3) The EB Gamer Zone. I haven’t played a video game since I was a teen, but even I couldn’t help but be excited about the energy coming from the EB Games quadrant of the South Building. Why do I go to a con sober, you ask? Simply put, who needs alcohol when you can watch a male angel, a werewolf, a mutant straight out of Mad Max and a purple Teletubbie rock out to Just Dance 2015? To top it all off, they were giving away sweet, sweet swag in the form of high quality Fallout 4 bags. Consider me converted to the First Church of EB Games.
4) The LEGO fun zone. Where a kid could actually be a kid, which is quite rare in our world. Truth be told, I don’t have much use for rugrats since my own child has evolved but I had a blast watching hordes of little ones walk through lines, filling up their bags with all the pieces they needed to construct space ships and other ridiculously cool constructs. LEGO isn’t just a toy, it’s a means of firing up a child’s imagination, thus enabling them do just about anything they want with their lives.
5) Cineplex’s wheel of fun. And by “fun”, I mean two-for-one passes to a 3D screening of “Dark Water” and “Death In Heaven”, the final two episodes of last season’s Doctor Who, free movie tickets and posters. I love movies, kids, and the only thing I love more is free movie swag.
6) Orlando Jones. He’s a comic actor who rocked out Sleepy Hollow. What’s not to love about this guy? He’s got layers, man. Just like an onion. But he wouldn’t make me cry if I sliced him. I’m assuming. Come to think of it, if I sliced him, he’d be crying, wouldn’t he? You know what? This metaphor went right off the rails, didn’t it? Let’s just say he rocks and leave it at that, shall we?
7) The tower of Tees. StylinONLINE.com is the most kick-ass nerd attire website this side of… well, anywhere on the web to be honest, but for me, they’re the best part of the Expo. Every year they construct these giant mini-stores out of black racks and stuff ’em full of the most unique t-shirts, baby onesies, (hey, babies can be nerds too), hats, bags, etc. you’ve ever seen.
8) The InnerSpace booth. Any media outlet that caters to fandom is okey-dokey in my book. (Why do you think I’m writing for Pulp Nation in the first place? It’s not for the chicks, I can tell you that.) But the InnerSpace crew is a cut above. Not only did Teddy Wilson, Morgan Hoffman and Ajay Fry host and moderate panels every day, they signed autographs and posed for pics with fans – for FREE.
9) The Agent Carter clone army. Hayley Atwell’s ridiculously-unlucky-in-love Peggy Carter was the hit of the Expo, with hundreds of Carter clones running rampant. They came in all shapes and sizes and many of them did the real thing justice. As the father of a budding feminist, it was wonderful to see nerdy sisters doin’ it for themselves.
10) The atmosphere. No, I’m not referring to the air quality at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Trust me, packing tens of thousands of people, some of whom are in costume, into an enclosed space does not always produce a wonderful scent. But the energy at Fan Expo Canada 2015 was so electric, when my phone died out, I just held it up and it was charged in five minutes. Of course, the constant shocks I received from anyone in a furry costume became painful after awhile but you have to take the good with the bad, right?
But overall, I have to say, nothing compares to the atmosphere at a con and this year’s Fan Expo did not disappoint. Sure, the crowds in the celebrity signing area were thicker than Benjamin J. Grimm’s hide, the line-up to the escalators leading to the so-called “real world” were almost treacherous (if someone had yelled “FIRE!” I would surely have died beneath a stampede of Agent Carters), and the Labour Day traffic in Toronto made the trip home stretch out twice as long as usual, but so what?
At the end of the day, my sixteen-year-old daughter had a blast (seeing her eyes light up makes it all worthwhile), and I have nothing negative to say about a place that makes the disenfranchised, the lonely, the so-called “freaks” feel welcome and safe.
Our Fan Expo experience was irreplaceable. How many sleeps until we get to do it again?
See you on the streets of Pulp Nation, friends…