Day two of Fan Expo came and went, it being my first day at the convention. I spent the afternoon with my best girl, in the words of the Wonder Years’ Kevin Arnold, and had a fairly enjoyable day altogether as we weaved and darted our way in between and around other patrons. And it was my birthday on Friday too, so you know, bonus.

The convention switched locations again this year, and I think it’s for the better. After the less-than-spacious debacle that was last year’s event, the Con moved all the way around to the main entrance of the Metro Toronto Convention Center’s south building. The main convention floor is in the same room as the spring Toronto Comic Con was, only expanding the total area beyond the smaller confines of the spring floor-plan. The Fan Expo layout was fairly large and although there are about as many vendors as last year, the additional space lessened “travel restrictions.” If you attended the event in 2010, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s very much what you would come to expect from a Con this size; there were plenty of comic book stores that had set up shop on the convention floor, many of which were selling graphic novels both old and new at reasonable prices. The Con was also a great place to find older back issues, and most vendors were already offering fairly reasonable deals at this stage of the event.

The newest additions to my collection of Gambit comics.

I arrived at the Con this year with one goal in mind: collect Gambit comics. I began collecting them about two years ago, starting mostly with the 2004 series, and from there I’ve gained close to half of the 1999 series and all but issue one of the 2004 series, in addition to a Giant-Sized Gambit Annual collecting four individual issues. I was a man on a mission this year, and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t recall the name of the vendor, although he’s a nice guy and near one of the t-shirt displays, but he was offering a 4-for-$10 deal for comics priced $6 or less, and 50 per cent off for individual issues over $6. Altogether I came away with 10 new issues, including nine issues from the 1999 series which brings me up to 19 issues of the 25 issue run, and the aforementioned issue one from the 2004 series, thereby completing the run. All this for $30. As a bonus, my best girl bought me the four-issue mini-series from 1993, leaving me now with a fairly large stack of Gambit books to read. Not too shabby. I also now have yet another Green Lantern shirt in my t-shirt rotation, bringing the total up to six. An intervention should probably be scheduled.

My latest Green Lantern shirt.

It wasn’t all play, as I did do some work too. I sat in on two panels on Friday, the first being the DC Flashpoint Friday panel which featured creators Eddie Berganza, James Robinson, Francis Manapul, Andy Kubert and Brian Azzarello. Throughout the panel they went into tremendous detail on how they created the Flashpoint world from conception, to execution up to its completion. One lucky fan even was privileged enough to read issue five of Flashpoint in advance of its release next week, while select fans who asked particularly poignant questions received black poker chips from Wayne Casinos, while everyone in attendance wound up with a red poker chip just for showing up.

My (now) lucky poker chip from the Flashpoint panel.

I also sat in on a panel hosted by Kill Shakespeare’s Anthony Del Col, who spoke to a packed conference room full of fans and aspiring creators alike for the better part of an hour about how to market an independent comic. I feel like it was a really eye-opening experience, and that aspiring creators really came out with a better understanding of how to put together not only their comic, but how they should go about coming up with a solid business plan to promote their product to not only fans, but to other creators and publishers.

All in all it was a great first day at the Con, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend. With two days remaining (and limited cash left), I’ll be looking to hunt down those final six Gambit issues to complete another run, so wish me luck. As for tomorrow, I’ll be attending two more panels on the DC 52 relaunch and the X-Men panel, so stay tuned for coverage on those.

Until then, enjoy a night’s sleep. If you’re attending the convention Saturday, good luck. I expect it to be busy.

All photos courtesy of Andrew Ardizzi.