Canadian National Comic Book Expo - 2006
I wrote a few months back about going to the Paradise Comicon, and the novelty of attending a "big convention." I had no idea what I was talking about. The Paradise Con is big, sure, but only in terms of what I'm used to. Paradise has plenty of name guests, but the atmosphere is laid back, and you have plenty of room to walk around. The Fan Expo is a combination of five conventions: comics, horror, sci-fi, anime, and gaming (yes, Paul, I put it last). It's Nerd-a-palooza, held in a proper convention center, and with crowds like I've never seen. I mean that last bit literally, I've never seen a crowd like this, but we'll get to that in a minute.
For me, the draw of conventions used to be the opportunity to pick up cheap comics or hard to find items, but I think I own everything I want that's in my price bracket (although if someone knows where I could find a reasonably priced copy of Batman: The Man who Laughs I wish they'd tell me. And, really, why does everyone have issues 1 to 3 of Point Blank and not 4 and 5? Did the two last ones even come out? And will I ever see a copy of The Fall again? I get it Ed Brubaker, I should buy your stuff when it first comes out instead of waiting for reviews. I've learned my lesson, stop punishing me).
Anyways, the real reason for me to go these days is guests and workshops and question and answer sessions. For Saturday, I'd planned on going in for the Geoff Johns workshop at noon, but, true to character, I got there late. I wandered around for a bit and made the Josh Middleton drawing workshop shortly after. Middleton was informative, and entertaining, and he drew some pretty pictures.
After the workshop, I wandered around the dealer tables on the floor for a bit before heading to the back to see if I knew any of the guests. One of the first tables was John Paul Leon's, and I managed to talk to him a bit without gushing too much. I mentioned a few books of his that I'd liked, and he said they'd printed too dark. He complained about the loss of control when handing over his work to a colorist, and I suggested he do something at Oni, since they're a mid-sized company publishing in black and white. He pondered the idea, so if that happens it was because of me. You heard it here first.
Around the other side of the table I talked to Tommy Lee Edwards, whose work I also like a lot. He has a really big head. He complained about DC not collecting the Question miniseries he did with Rick Veitch, talked about Marvel's eagerness to work with him, and told me about a project he's got coming up with Mark Millar, which hasn't been announced yet (shh, don't tell anyone). The whole time, I wondered how hard it must be for him to buy a hat. Not really, he was interesting, and he seemed like an alright guy. But he did have a big head.
I moved down the row of tables at the back wall, stopping to talk to people whose names I recognized, and moving past ones I didn't, until I stopped recognizing any names and realized I'd moved beyond the comics people. I kept moving until I saw three name signs that stopped me dead in my tracks:
I continued walking down the line until I saw a lineup of fans snaking around the right side of a pillar. I walked around the left of the pillar to see who everyone was lining up for, and when I did, all thoughts of space captains and demon rockstars left my head.
cartoon character at one point! I wanted to tell him about a match in which he'd fought some no name guy with a big, Amish beard, and how the part when he'd thrown the guy against the ropes and on the bounceback grabbed him by his beard with both hands and thrown him across the ring was one of the greatest moments in wrestling history, up there with Hulk Hogan body slamming Andre the Giant in Wrestlemania III. Unfortunately, you needed to have a special (more expensive) pass to get to him, so I didn't get a chance. Instead I moved on.
The oddest thing about the way the guests were positioned was that you'd have a big name, and then an unrecognizable name, and then a big name. I don't know what the reasoning was, maybe so the big names' lines wouldn't run into each other. So you'd have the hot girl from Firefly,
The whole experience was surreal, and made all the more surreal by all the people in costume. You never know when you're going to turn around and run into Wolverine, or Deathstroke.
Squall from Final Fantasy (dude, no). But the effect of all the costumes was to give the place a fun atmosphere. I wish I'd taken someone along, most of the time I was just smiling and laughing to myself. My favourite photo of the day was this shot of one girl dressed up as something taking a picture of four other girls dressed up as something.
I ended the day with a workshop by Terry Dodson, which had too much talking and not enough drawing. I waited for useful content as long as I could but then left before the end. I raced to the parking lot where the attendant had been nice enough earlier to let me stay until 7:00 without paying extra. He was mad that I rolled out at 7:15, but gave me an angry wave-through. (Thanks, guy!) All in all, not a bad day.