Montreal fanboys and girls will be beaming themselves over to Toronto en masse this weekend for Fan Expo, Canada’s largest annual comic book/sci-fi/horror/gaming convention. How could they not, with guests like Montreal native-turned-legend William Shatner, Spider-Man/X-men creator Stan Lee and 60s icons Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar on the bill? Before you pack up your entire comic collection and drive westward, though, a quick crash course in convention etiquette is called for: Captain’s orders!
Rule One, Schedule Smartly: It’s a rookie mistake to think that just because you’re attending a three-day convention, you’ll have plenty of time to dig through back issue bins and have a geek-tastic photo-op with Captain Kirk. Check the online schedule of events and plan your days accordingly. You may find yourself having to choose between the aforementioned Batman cast reunion, and a Q&A with Buffy and Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog star Felicia Day, both Saturday at 2! Holy time conflict, Batman!
Rule Two, Be Friendly: Over the course of the weekend, some sixty thousand fans will be roaming the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Some will be wearing costumes, others will simply go the logo t-shirt route… but all are there to celebrate and share their love of some genre of entertainment. So go ahead and start up a conversation – we’re pretty sure most of the folks in the Horror section of the hall aren’t really out to harvest your organs.
Rule Three, Just Breathe: Yes, Stan Lee is a God who changed your life and you’ve named your first child after him and you believe you might have been related in a prior life… but he’s also eighty-eight. Let’s not give the poor man a heart attack, shall we? As overwhelming as it can be to meet a person whose work has inspired and entertained you, it’s just as overwhelming for them to be watching a stranger wet themselves and blather on for ten minutes. Choose one comic book or poster for them to autograph, ask politely for a photo and leave it at that. They’ll be grateful for your brevity, as will the people waiting patiently behind you in line. Plus, all that stuff you want to get autographed really isn’t worth nearly as much on eBay as you think it is.
Rule Three, Bring Chips: Okay, this one might sound a little odd, but the request comes directly from DC Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, via his blog: “I once mentioned (DC Senior VP) Dan DiDio’s love of the strangely flavored potato chips that are available in Canada. The DC Nation fans responded by bringing Dan a TON of chips to the show. So get ready and let’s try to top last year’s haul by bringing an obscene amount of chips to the show. I’m not kidding, people – let’s make this dream a reality. Only you can make this happen!” While we’re talking food, pack bottled water and a granola bar. You don’t want to get stuck paying almost ten dollars for a fruit smoothie because you didn’t think you’d get hungry.
Other than that, just enjoy the geeky chaos and stay relaxed. If hoofing around gets you down, check out the Tron: Legacy preview screening… and brag to your friends that you’ve got a glimpse at the anticipated sequel a good four months before its release date. There’s plenty to take in… and unlike in San Diego, about a hundred thousand fewer people trying to check it out there along with you.
For full details and ticket information, visit www.fanexpocanada.com.