I got back from Toronto last night after a very hectic few days in Toronto at Fan Expo Canada 2009. Here's a rundown of some of the highs and lows for me.
- Met Caanan, Andy Belanger, and some of the guys from Transmission X in person. Great bunch of guys. The Webcomics 101 panel was lots of fun (and I'm happy to say that no mice were eaten). Though by the end of the con I think they'd had enough of me dropping by. :) By the end of the weekend I had sketches from both Caanan and Andy.
- Got to meet Darwyn Cooke briefly, he was on the top of my list for artists I wanted to see. I was tempted to get a full sketch from him as the ones he was doing were amazing but unfortunately it would have broke my budget (not that they were that much but I placed myself on a fairly tight budget). He was kind enough to sign my sketch book with a quick Green Lantern doodle instead.
- Friday was mostly just trying to figure things out and waiting with my brother in line for autographs or autograph/photo tickets.
- Got to meet Bruce Campbell for an autograph and photo. He was everything I expected and more, he was quite the character playing around during the photo shoot. I ended up looking like a dork but my brother's photo came out awesome! It was definitely the highlight of my weekend.
- Photo with Lou Ferrigno, some people were saying he wasn't as big (muscle-wise) as they were expecting but the guy is still ripped. And he towers over my brother and I in the photo (though that isn't too hard, we come from a very short family).
- Accidentally ripped off J.Bone of $25 when purchasing an awesome sketch of the Hulk. Stupid mistake on my part and I still feel guilty about it but he seemed cool with it... Or he just wanted to get rid of me, who knows. :)
- Went to the Bachalo versus Maleev sketching duel where they both did Dr Doom "sketches". Both were awesome but I think I preferred Maleev's. It was really entertaining as both were lots of fun.
- Saw Dale Keown (a favourite artist of mine that I didn't think was coming) sketching. His sketches were unbelievable with so much detail being put into each one. I was tempted to get one but opted to ask him to just sign my sketch book (I know, just getting a page autographed may seem like a weird thing to get done but oh well). I also got to tell him that I thought Darkness/Pitt #1 was great.
- Photo with Leonard Nimoy. He was friendly despite it being a very busy and long weekend. The picture came out really nice too.
- Sienkiewicz versus Manapul sketching duel. This duel was also lots of fun. Both had good interaction with the crowd. We were kinda wondering about Sienkiewicz as he seemed to be talking a lot and not drawing, yet he was done his Hellboy sketch (which they both decided to draw) in no time. Even Manapul (who was spending more time drawing, not that he wasn't also talking) seemed surprised that he was done in such a short time. Both artists were done quickly and did Joker sketches next (Sienkiewicz deciding to do a two pager with the Joker's lower jaw on a second page so you could slide the pages together to make him laugh). Then they decided to do a third sketch with Manapul drawing the Flash and Sienkiewicz doing Elektra. All of the work was great. I really wish that I could have won at least one in the draws but oh well.
- Sunday was mostly doing a last pass through the floor, picking up a sketch or two, and other more relaxed stuff as it wasn't so busy, and saying good bye to the friends I met.
- While waiting for my plane I ended up sitting in the lounge area next to Avery Brooks and seeing Dan Didio (at least it looked a heck of a lot like him and he had a DC Comics bag) waiting while their plane was delayed. I didn't bother either of them but one guy decided to take some photos of Avery while hiding behind a pillar.
- The place was nuts. I heard they ended up having to lock the doors to the building on Saturday as there were too many people in there at once. I can believe it, walking the floor on Saturday was crazy and the lines for Bruce Campbell and Leonard Nimoy were huge. People that have gone in previous years seemed surprised by the crowds.
- When I told people this was my first big con (though some wouldn't consider it that big) they warned me about a couple things, one was the costumes. I knew what to expect so it wasn't a big deal. Some costumes were great, some weren't so great, but if they're having fun then that's all that matters. I would suggest some should re-consider their costumes though, walking around the floor inside a huge cardboard box can be really uncomfortable for you and the people you are constantly hitting/blocking with your outfit. Yes, there were the women in the more revealing costumes (body paint in some cases) getting swarmed for photos and to each their own I suppose. I did find it funny when some young female anime/manga fans dressed up as some sort of furry animals decided to try to mock the Bruce Campbell fans in the photo line holding mock chainsaws and other weapons.
- The organization seemed to leave something to be desired. People had no clue where to go and the volunteers we asked were often more clueless than us. People with non-VIP passes were being told to wait in the VIP line only to be sent to the back of the other line an hour later while VIP pass holders were being told the wrong way to go. And the autograph/photo ticket process for Nimoy and Campbell was throwing a lot of people off, especially for people who ended up having to wait in the autograph line for an hour to buy a photo ticket. I could go on into other stuff but in the end, it was confusing as all heck for a newbie like me (and many veterans from what I understand).
- One thing I learned, be friendly to those around you. Friends I met while waiting in line for one thing (like the Bruce Campbell photo) ended up helping us later in getting his autograph (which they had some sort of ticket, then numbered ticket, then sticky noted numbered ticket, process to it that we only knew about it through a new found friend, I like to think we paid him back by holding his place in line if he needed to leave for food or whatever else).
Honestly, so much happened over the last three days that I'll probably be posting stuff I forgot for the next little while. It was a great time.