Fan Expo Wrap Up: The FF panel, 4 Colour Couples and More

How was your Fan Expo weekend?

Glad to hear it.

How was mine?

Oh you know, My FF workshop was the buzz of the internet for a weekend, Brian Azzarello, Jill Thompson and Matt Fraction tried to convince me to get engaged during a panel and Hayden Panettiere is really, really short.

Here’s a breakdown of my weekend including the full story that I promised earlier on my infamous Team Spirit The FF workshop.


The crowd at the FF Workshop

I get to the building and try to help out. My main contact with Hobbystar, Kevin Boyd, looks wrecked already but is in good spirits. Word starts filtering in Ethan Van Sciver is not coming. Due to a misspelling of one letter of his name (and his ticket being paid for by a third party), Ethan was given the full security mistreatment by United Airlines. By the time he got done, there was no flight to be had.

I make my way up to Team Spirit: The FF workshop. The workshop was designed as a way for those interested in the collaboration process and wanting to get into comics, how collaborations work. The Toronto Cartoonist Workshop let me have the honor of moderating it. And I mean that. I got to do a panel with Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting and Marko Djurdjevic. All are guys I respect, Epting especially is one of my current favorite artists.

There are a ton of versions floating around the net about what happened next with artist Marko Djurdjevic. I can tell you only a few of them are sort of right. I posted a very brief version a few days ago but here’s my full account.

Here’s what happened.

I entered the room, Marko was the first artist there. We spoke briefly (I asked him how to pronounce his name as I had been given 4 versions by different people). Steve Epting arrived. Hickman is nowhere to be seen; I later learn his flight was late.

I start the panel and we go through a few questions for both men and to be completely honest, I’m unsure how we got to the subject of Marko’s contract ending but it came up; I think just before Hickman got there.

Marko gave his opinion on why he left the Marvel gig, JMS (the infamous toilet paper comment did occur) and redesigns.

At no time was the panel hijacked.

The panel was about collaboration and Hickman hadn’t arrived yet. Marko started explaining his views, I let him go. I felt it was very fair to show the good side and the bad side of collaborating and Marko’s views were every bit as valid as mine, Hickman or Epting’s. In fact Hickman discussed with Marko openly about what could have been done differently.

If Marko had been so rude and uncaring towards the other panelists or myself, why would Hickman or Epting bother to ask him questions? I also think that the description of “tense” that’s being thrown around is also a little misleading. MTV, CBR and Bleeding Cool might all want to check back the audio versions of the workshop because you will probably hear me laugh numerous times.

Despite the fact I write for this site, I would have happily given my side of the story (which was offered to Bleeding Cool).


Friday was fairly uneventful.  I met up with Shelly Smarz to go over questions for our panel called The Four Colour Marriage. Basically there happened to be a number of married couples who work in comics at the convention and the panel was to talk about what it was like when you and your spouse work in the same industry and sometimes on the same projects.

It was a fairly standard panel, maybe even a little on the dry side due to the subject manner.

Until the panelists got bored. It started with Brian Azzarello.

“What’s hard about that…UnMarried Guy”

Matt Fraction quickly perked up too “yeah, I have a question for Mister I’m Afraid of Commitment down there”.

And then the dog pile was on.

I made the mistake of telling them I was saving up for a ring, Jill Thompson suggested I go to artists alley and buy one. Kelly Sue DeConnick suggested the panel should plan my wedding, Jill Thompson agreed and then suggested we call my girlfriend on my cell. Azzarello sat there watching with a slight smile on his face as if to say “that’s what you get for not getting into 100 Bullets sooner”.

Despite the fact the entire panel was made up of industry vets that I respect…. I deflected them on to Shelly and her impending marriage the first chance I got.

I should note that all the participants were cool to deal with, especially Jill Thompson and Brian Azzarello. Jill did have a few really good ideas for proposals that I may use. It should also be noted that despite the fact I weigh about two of Brian and have a couple of inches of height and reach on him, I never ever want to be in a fight with him.

I then headed over to Women in Comics sketch off which honestly was one of the best sketch offs I’ve ever been to. If you ever see Katie Cook at a convention panel STAY FOR IT! She has the best idea for a Batman one shot ever.

That night I headed out for a non-official convention outing called The Questys. It’s kind of like the Razzies for comics.  Beyond the awards there was stand up performances by Andrew Iviemy and Gavin Stephens as well as musical performances from Nerds With Guitars and Kirby Krackle (whose new album I’ll review next week). Great performances by all and the money from the door went to a good cause.

Kyle from Kirby Krackle with Nerds with Guitars


Not much to report actually as it was my day off.  I wandered the floor, had a few people ask me about the FF panel, that was about it. I was amazed at that even though the con was still super busy, I still didn’t want to punch anyone in the face.

While walking around with Ed Campbell, we noticed that the horror section had shrank significantly this year.  I discovered my good friends at Anchor Bay have gained the rights to Battle Royale! Sweet!


Final day of the con and I run into Kevin Boyd who somehow looks better at the end then he did at the beginning. I ran into the guys from Geek Hard and Andrew and I were both comparing the “who hurt more, who was more tired” notes. Yet Kevin, who I know for a fact was running around more than I was, looked like he could go another two days. I believe this is what he sleeps in:

Depiction of Kevin Boyd's rejuvenation chamber. Not Pictured, Kevin Boyd

Later in the afternoon I got to host a round-table on Captain America featuring Jason Aaron, Steve Epting, Steve McNiven and Bob McLeod. It was a fun little panel just meant for talking about Cap (although Jason Aaron did let slip he is writing the regular universe Cap in something in the near future) as opposed to scoops.

More than anything else that I took away from the panel was how the two Steve’s expressed their admiration for the work of McLeod (especially his work with Mike Zeck) and after the panel made sure to go over and let him know that they were fans.

Speaking of which, both Steves were pretty awesome. Steve Epting had to put up with me twice and was nothing but cordial both occasions.

And that was the end of the weekend. Just a few leftover notes.

Retailers, US cover is no longer a deal at cons. I regularly get US cover, you want my business, you’ll have to do better than that.

The biggest surprise of the weekend would have to be the brief appearance of director Guilermo del Toro on Sunday.  Apparently the appearance was kept a secret as convention organizers weren’t positive he would show up. But show up he did and signed for an hour. Apparently he will be in Toronto for the next year working on Pacific Rim. Mr. del Toro, I know of a great podcast that would love to have you on.

To Hobbystar/Fan Expo: I actually have nothing bad to say this year. As readers well know, I’m not one to mince words but honestly not a single complaint that I can attribute to you and as you may know I’ve had some harsh words for you in the past.  In fact my only real complaint about the con at all is that the fanboy stench on Saturday was pretty bad but I can’t blame you for that. Hell, you allowed the Axe people in there handing out samples of body wash so in essence, you did try and combat it.

That being said, I do have a few guest requests for next year: Matt Wagner, Kevin Eastman, P. Craig Russell and Walt Simonson are a good start.

As for best costume, there were a few but in the end this guy won me over.

Brent Chittenden
Brent Chittenden

Brent Chittenden is a Canadian freelance writer currently writing for, and his own pop culture podcast, TATANS. He is readily available for writing and speaking gigs. Brent like sandwiches.

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