Greetings Comic Book Fans!

This past weekend was Fan Expo down in Toronto. Every year, my buddies and I make a weekend of it. We get a hotel, we go out for food and drinks, and we spend way too much money. This year was probably the best one in recent memory. My one complaint: it was INSANELY BUSY.

Usually, I’ll hit the con Friday to commission some sketches from the artists there. Sadly, I was a little later than I’d planned (and a lot later than I should have been) and most of the artists were already booked for the weekend. At 5:30 the first day of the con. However, I managed to score a commission from one of my favourite artists so I was quite pleased.  So, the lesson here is to – especially when you’re looking to get art from a big name artist – get there when the con opens and you might get lucky. We took our leave fairly early that night and met up with Pete for dinner and drinks to belatedly celebrate his birthday.

Saturday was insane. Utterly and totally insane. It took most con-goers about two hours to get into the con (it was slightly less for people who had pre-purchased their tickets online). We were packed into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre like sardines. Navigating the aisles was an adventure to say the least. Which brings me to my next con lesson: if you can, get your passes first thing on the first day of con.

Sunday was still busy but not quite as insane as Saturday. We got to the Convention Centre about 10:30am and the line to get in was already quite large. My one buddy wanted to get Bruce Campbell to sign his copy of Shatnerquake and was disappointed when there were no more tickets. I was kicking myself because I could have picked him up one on Friday – I didn’t even think about it. I mean, the last time I got anything signed it was Roman Dirge (Lenore, The Monsters in my Tummy, Something at the Window is Scratching) and he was signing at a booth so no tickets were necessary. I just had to get in line about 2 hours before he showed up to sign anything. Luckily, organizers released a couple of additional blocks of tickets so my friend did end up getting a Bruce Campbell sig. We spent the day walking around the con and just having a raucous time.

One of the best parts about cons is looking at the cosplayers. Often I’ll just take a break outside the dealers’ room and just sit by one of the columns in the hallway and just people watch. This time, however, I got a lot of strange looks myself. (I was crocheting a gift while I people watched – hey someone’s got to keep the old lady arts alive.)

PS> On September 13th, the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA is hosting its 20th annual Wiggle Waggle Walk-a-Thon at Bayfront Park. Registration starts at 9am but the official start time is 10am. I encourage y’all to join me there and help to support an awesome cause. For more information visit their website at http://www.hbspca.com/page/20th-annual-wigglw-waggle-walkathon or  contact the SPCA directly at: 905-574-7722, ext. 427.

Shelley Smarz is a life long comic book fan. Expect many more columns.