Fan Expo Report: That’s a wrap, folks!

Here are some final thoughts on the last day of Fan Expo 2011.

It’s now Monday, and with that, the reality of another Fan Expo having come and gone is sinking in. After four days, vendors, celebrities and fans filed out of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s south building for the final time Sunday night, thus bringing the convention’s first four-day-schedule to an end.

On the final day of the convention on Aug. 28, I attended two panels and interviewed Kill Shakespeare co-creators Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery about their series, which saw its twelfth and final issue (of the volume?) released on Aug. 24. Where the panels are concerned, I attended Marvel’s “Next Big Thing” panel in the morning and learned about two new mini-series Marvel will be putting out under the CrossGen imprint in the coming months. As for the second panel, the afternoon brought DC’s final panel fans’ way, featuring DC Executive Editor Eddie Berganza and artists Yanick Paquette and Francis Manapul. Both artists spoke to fans about working on the new character designs for their respective series, Flash and Swamp Thing, even drawing sketches of each character which they later gave away to lucky fans who answered specific trivia questions relating to each character. It was an okay panel, although nothing of note happened. Considering it was the final day, Marvel definitely took the day with its morning and afternoon panels. I’ll say this for DC though, thank you for the poker chips, as I now have four.

As for the interview, Anthony and Conor were great. This was the fourth time I’ve spoken to the guys, and this was easily one of my favourite interviewing experiences. They’re always great to talk to, and considering I usually talk to them for at least 40 minutes, I never have a dull time. I could spoil the interview, but for that you’ll have to wait. Expect an article and the full interview shortly. And if you by chance still haven’t picked up the first trade of Kill Shakespeare, or read the series for that matter, now is as good a time as any.

The rest of the day was fairly tame. My lovely “best girl” was with me again for the day, and I took much of the afternoon off until closing and finally rummaged around the comic book vendors, continuing my gallant search for all things Gambit. After turning up empty at a couple of shops’ booths, I did find two more issues from the 1999 Gambit series. Alas, I’m still missing issues 0.5, 15, 16, 18, 24, and so my search shall continue. I didn’t really come away with much this year comparatively to previous convention outings, but I’m pretty happy with my finds, and hopefully by the end of the next convention I can at least finish the 1999 series.

As for the convention as a whole, I feel like last year’s altogether seemed to have more to offer my interests. I noticed there were a lot of vendors that didn’t have much merchandise in the way of action figures, or even little things that would have otherwise differentiated them from each other. It seemed like vendors offered much of the same, while I think there may have been a few too many t-shirt stands. Next year I would like to see more variety not only in the available merchandise, but also more of a presence from the comic book companies. I couldn’t help but notice that neither Dark Horse, IDW or Boom! had a noticeable presence this year, leaving much of the space to Marvel, DC and Image to dominate. Even still, Saturday aside, the Con was fun as always and I’m looking forward to the 2012 Fan Expo. I do have to commend the organizers for learning from last year’s event, and promptly moving it to a larger location within the convention centre, because even on its busier days, this year’s convention congestion wasn’t even comparable to the 2010 event.

Finally, to the CBD crew, everyone did a great job with their postings this weekend. It was nice to see such an array of work and events covered over the event’s four days. Here’s hoping our dedicated crew can do much of the same next year. Congratulations guys (and gals).

Until next time,


Photo Gallery:

A fan rifles through some back issues at one of the many comic book vendors at Fan Expo 2011.
Marvel EiC Axel Alonso makes a point against comic book piracy at Marvel's "Next Big Thing" panel at Fan Expo.
Kill Shakespeare creators Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery greet fans at their booth at Fan Expo 2011.


Swamp Thing artist Yanick Paquette sketches the character during DC's panel on Aug. 28. The sketch was given to a fan who answered a trivia question about when Swamp Thing was created and by whom.
Paquette's finished sketch, which a lucky fan got to take home.
Flash writer/artist Francis Manapul talks to fans at the DC panel on Aug. 28. Manapul drew a sketch of the Flash for fans, which was given to a lucky fan who answered a trivia question about who the Rogues' tailor is.
Manapul's finished Flash sketch, given to a fan after its completion.
Artist Michael Cho at his table speaking to an interested fan.


Andrew Ardizzi
Andrew Ardizzi

Andrew Ardizzi is an honours graduate of journalism from Humber College, and is currently working out of Toronto as a freelance writer and editor. He's also the Senior Editor at Crystal Fractal Comics. You can find him at his blog, or follow him on Twitter.

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