By Marika Lapointe
If your family and co-workers don’t understand your love of Freddy Krueger or your obsession with sonic screwdrivers, come to Fan Expo. You’re one of us.
Fan Expo Canada is the second largest convention of its kind in North America (after San Fran’s Comicon) and it didn’t disappoint. I think it goes without saying that Fan Expo is the gathering place for fanatics of all things horror, sci-fi, anime, comics, cosplay, art and gaming…but now I’ve said it. Moving on.
For starters, the organizers have come up with some great panels this year. From cosplay workshops to movie sneak peeks to Q & A panels, there is more than anyone could hope to cram into a weekend. It’s fair to say that one could easily spend an entire day in conference rooms without even stepping onto the convention floor (and still be a very happy camper). In fact, it’s well known that carefully planning your day at FanExpo is the only way to make the most of your day or weekend.
Personal highlights were a Q & A session with the cast of the upcoming show, Trey Parker’s Cannibal the Musical. If you haven’t seen the film version of the 1993 Troma Video classic start there (available here). Then, add the guys who brought you Evil Dead the Musical, some additional Trey Parker-approved songs, tons of off-colour humour and you’ve got something to do come February 2015.
Apparently they will be holding auditions at the end of September so you too could be part of the cannibalistic fun! Visit their website cannibalonstage.com for more information.
Another local hit I was happy to catch was the sneak peek at Why Horror? a Toronto-made documentary film about the psychology of horror and why we like being scared (well, some of us. My mother for one can’t sit through Jumanji, much less Suspiria). The Q & A panel tackled the oft-asked questions of why horror resonates with us, why the genre has grown so much in the last decade and the benefits of watching horror films. Expect screenings here in Toronto come October. Keep up with the project at whyhorror.com.
The big-daddy of Q & A’s however was one with living comic book legend Stan Lee, creator of many of the Marvel characters you love including, The Hulk, Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, X-Men and Iron Man. Despite a late start (it seems even comic book legends can’t escape the Gardiner on time) Stan Lee took the stage and charmed the audience with his charisma.
He has clearly done more than his fair share of these expos and has developed a skill for answering fan questions as if it was the first time he heard them. He got the crowd laughing at every turn managing to keep the conversation on the topic of comic books rather than his personal life. He did admit to liking Spiderman best and that he was always bothered by how no one recognized Clark Kent as Superman when he took his glasses off. Regardless of whether or not you’re a Marvel fan, Stan Lee truly is an institution and it’s a pleasure sitting in a room with him.
Other obvious highlights are the mass of vendors that can cater to all your dragon-egg and MLP plushie needs. Artist Alley is a fantastic place to get beautiful prints, fan art and commissions as well as getting your favourite comic books signed by the artists themselves. The Festival of Fear area can provide you with that goat skull you’ve always wanted and Cosplay Corner has a wide selection of high-quality costume elements to help you become the Dr. Who or the Sailor Soldier you’ve always wanted to be.
Speaking of costumes, as you oggle the displays surrounding you, be sure to look at the people squeezing past you, the cosplayers present were quite impressive and always happy to pose for pictures. Word of warning though, as you head to Fan Expo be prepared to wait in line, walk VERY slowly and purchase what might be the most expensive lunch you’ve ever had.
If you haven’t been yet, you still have time to join the festivities. Fan Expo runs through August 31st, 2014 and there is still plenty to see. For more info visit : fanexpocanada.com