Fan Expo Canada: A Top Ten List

Susan Rook Susan Rook
September 16th, 2015

My life and work in journalism has taken me to all corners of the Earth (still yearning for Earth 2). I’ve interviewed some of the most powerful people in the world. Now, the most powerful heroes (and villains) in the Universe fascinate me. Over the years, I’ve done everything from customer service, motivational speaking to local and national news. I love talking with people and finding out what makes them tick. Three cats rule our house -- my husband and I are staff. I love baseball, Plastic Man and popsicles.

Fan Expo Canada: A Top Ten List

Our Susan Rook is here to detail her trip to Fan Expo Canada and all of the great reasons to geek out in the Great White North!

We go to FanExpo Canada every year.  Each year is unique. This year was no exception.  You'll hear more about the details as we ComiConverse with creators at Fan Expo, but I want to start you off with a quick Top Ten list of the highlights of our annual geek vacation.

10.  Blue Jays Baseball Games

As you can see by my twitter, @BaseballSus, I'm a baseball fan.  The New York Mets are my main team but Fan Expo Canada is a chance to catch yet another baseball, game so we went to the Rogers Centre.  The Blue Jays lost to the Orioles, but it's always fun talking with baseball fans.

Do you do non-comics related things when you go to a Comi Con?

Toronto Blue Jays

9.  Flying The Geek Flag

I'll admit it, I love Plastic Man. Each convention my husband will surprise me with something Plastic Man related.  This year, artist Johnny D, had a commissioned Plastic Man with our three cats waiting for us at the convention!

SURPRISE!  What fun!

Johnny D artist FanExpo Canada

8.  Cosplay Costumes And Creativity

I don't dress up (beyond the Plastic Man tee shirts) but one of the things I love about any Comic Con are the cosplayers.  FanExpo has a huge contingent of gaming, anime, horror, sci fi, fantasy, movies, tv, web series and more.  I recognize most of the comics cosplay characters.  I don't recognize many other characters but who cares!

FanExpo Canada cosplay ComiConverse

This girl with the 12 foot red wings was amazing!

7.  Shopping For Comics And Collectibles

If you can't find a ton of ways to spend ALL your money then you simply aren't trying hard enough!  We bought stacks of comics.  Browsing though the long boxes is like a treasure hunt; you might find what you want and/or you might end up with comics that you didn't know you absolutely had to have!

FanExpo Canada 2015 comics shopping

We look forward to the vendors at Fan Expo and spend lots of time in the dealers rooms on both sides of the convention centre.

6.  Sketch Duels

The Artist Sketch Duels are events that are on the must see list of any comics fan.  My first ComiConverse article on How to crush your first Comic Con talks a bit about why Sketch Duels are amazing. This particular Sketch Duel featured Marvel artist Leonard Kirk and Shuster Award winner Kaare Andrews.

Fan Expo Canada Leonard Kirk Sketch Duel art

My new friend and fellow ComiConverse Writer Chris Barnes won the Sketch Duel drawing of Hellboy by Leonard Kirk! One of my favorite things about a Sketch Duel is the chance to listen to artists talk (and joke) about their life in comics.

5. My Comics Epiphany 

Artist Kaare Andrews was in a couple of Sketch Duels at Fan Expo.  He has great 'energy' and I loved his quirky way of promoting his Marvel book, Iron Fist: The Living Legend.  I went to the dealers room and found Iron Fist: The Living Legend Vol. 2.  I couldn't find Vol. 1 at Fan Expo so I'll get that at my local comics store.  You'll hear more about my comics fan origin story in another post, but suffice to say that I'm more of a comics culture fan than an actual reader of comics.

I'm used to books with lots of words.  I learned to read comics at this FanExpo and Kaare Andrews inspired me by being so engaging at the Sketch Duels.

4.  Surprises

There are so many surprises at any Comic Con.  I think it's a testament to the quality of organizers that every single panel or Q&A is interesting even if I'm not into the topic (at first).  This year was no exception.  My husband recommended the Tom Savini Q&A.  Savini is an amazing storyteller.

FanExpo Canada Tom Savini

He had us thinking, laughing and enjoying ourselves the whole time.  Gremlins star Zach Galligan talked about how words can get twisted by the time an article gets published.  He used the example of a Daily Mail article that had him in love with 'dreamy' Phoebe Cates. I love hearing the inside scoop.

3.  Return To My Journalist Roots

Speaking of the inside scoop, I returned to my journalist roots at FanExpo.  Years ago I worked in television news.  My favorite gig was as an investigative reporter but I enjoyed the 'learning stuff' part of my role as a CNN Anchor.

This year at FanExpo, I did a bunch of interviews of writers, artists and fans.  You'll be seeing these articles here.  I was 'sort of' returning to reporting but my husband pointed out that I really took the plunge back into acting like a journalist.

2.  The Chance To ComiConverse

There are so many great conversations.  A Comic Con is the place to meet passionate people.  Personally, I don't have to be passionate about the exact same thing, I like hearing what others love as much as I enjoying talking about mutual interests.

Ty Templeton Comicbook Bootcamp FanExpo Canada

Leonard Kirk and I had a great conversation about books and swapped reading recommendations.  Artist Ken Lashley is one of the most giving people ever.  I was interviewing Lashley when a fan came up and said he just wanted an autograph.  Lashley said, "Oh HELL NO." and did a quick drawing in the autograph book!  I always go see Archie Artist Fernando Ruiz first thing.  This year we talked Mets baseball, among other things.  He's a great guy and so talented.  I took Ty Templeton's Comicbook Bootcamp several years ago.  You will hear lots more from Ty and other Bootcampers.

1.  Dreams Do Come True

Finally, number one in my Top Ten List from FanExpo Canada --- Darren Emond.  He's not famous.  Yet.  I first saw Emond in a Sketch Duel where he said he took a bus for 10 hours to get to Toronto and asked J. Scott Campbell to look at his portfolio.  I remember thinking, "Oh poor guy, there's another starving artist."  I kept seeing him in panels throughout FanExpo.

Darren Emond comics artist FanExpo Canada

Ty Templeton's Creator's Panel was my last event on Sunday afternoon.  Templeton recognized Emond and told him to tell the audience what happened to him at FanExpo.  This deserves a whole post, so you need to wait.  Here's a bit of a spoiler, dreams DO come true and isn't that what loving super heroes is all about?


Susan Rook is a Contributor to ComiConverse.  Follow her on Twitter:  @BaseballSus

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