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Fan Expo 2011

August 25, 2011

This isn’t really a report, so much as a running commentary. Hopefully, I’ll update daily, but we’ll see. Take all with a grain of salt. I’m old-school…I don’t have iphones, mobile internet, or any other techno gee-gaws to help me navigate…I just bounce around until I find something I like.

And, check out the evolving set on Flickr.

Day 4

I’m actually updating this on Tuesday, after calming down a little. I did go on Sunday…for a little while. I managed to pick up some signatures from Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, Alex Maleev, Ken Steacy and Ty Templeton. I also some back issues I needed. I spent a little more than I had budgeted.

The dealer prices seemed to be out-of-control whacky. I just picked up my first price guide in about 10 years, and couldn’t believe the asking prices for 80’s books. Some books valued at over a hundred bucks I picked up for less than 5 back in the day. I guess I’m also used to being the dude who always buys the books that never go up in price, so I’m frankly a little surprised some of my collection has picked up so much value. It does make getting the few holes I have immensely harder to fill.

So…the day 3 rant. I guess I stand by it, although if I were to re-write it, it would be less whiny.

The lines were better this year, but I also avoided Saturday afternoon, so I can’t speak to that.

But…and this is a big but…the management of the lines was very heavy-handed. I have to say this openly…both your volunteers and security staff need to learn some restraint. They are openly hostile to a lot of patrons, and don’t seem to be aware that the rules not iron-clad. I was yelled at repeatedly to ‘stay in the right lineup’ when there was no one in my immediate area. Guys, when there’s no lineup, what does it matter? All this behavior does is piss people off.

As far as guests are concerned: you did have a lot of cancellations this year. And you didn’t quite get the setup right. A lot of unnecessary crowding could have been avoided if you had put the headliners in the middle, or all to one side and roped it off so there would be no log-jams of people.

The artist alley was good, but I think there were too many crafts-people and not enough comic artists.

In general, I would ask that you not try to pack as much into that space. It’s big, but not that big, and sprinkling rest areas inside the convention hall would have helped break things up better.

It was hell to get in and out. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for single-day pass-holders. This is another area where you need to improve. There is simply no space to take a break inside the convention hall. There are no seats. Either provide a break area or make it easier to get in and out.

Either go to local businesses a few weeks ahead of time and warn them, or find a way to get more bank machines into the convention hall. By day 3, every machine is tapped out. Engage with local businesses so that they can prepare for the onslaught.

After all that, I may still sound whiny. Here’s a little praise. You did manage the lines better than last year. You did manage to get guests that had substance, and weren’t just this month’s hot artist. Even the two large eating areas were better than last year.

Maybe some of my sour grapes are due to the fact that I’m a local, and I can remember when this convention was run out of a single banquet hall in a hotel basement. No lineups. No freaky security guards. No celebrities. Just comics and cool artists. So, I guess I’m biased a little.

But there’s room for improvement.

Day 3

Dear Fan Expo,
you blew it again. A fifth of your top-liners cancelled. The rest showed up on Saturday only…maybe Sunday, if we’re lucky. Your security goons are just as heavy-handed this year as they were last year.

Thanks for turning what should be a Northern love letter to science-fiction, fantasy, horror and comic books into a boondoggle.

Oh, and Chris Claremont: thanks for only showing up one day of the scheduled two you were supposed to…for one freaking hour. Maybe there’s a good explanation. Too bad. I’m still pissed.

What good is a four-day pass if the only day worth going is Saturday?

You can talk to me all you want about creative types and scheduling conflicts and sickness and other crap.

You are probably the only comics convention in Canada with a full-time permanent staff, and you can’t even update your website during the convention to notify us of cancellations. Claremont’s still listed as “Thursday and Friday only”. You know that isn’t true. And you know that isn’t true for half the guests.

Dudes. Do the right thing. You have months to organize this, and you have the tools to keep people informed.

Day 2

Day 2 was a little exhausting, as I spent most of the day in celeb lineups. But I did manage to get Lee Majors, Malcolm McDowell, and Martin Landau!

I also managed to score some sigs and a Wolverine sketch from Bob McLeod. So, day 2 was basically just a long lineup for me, but it paid off. Big time.

I’m trying not to spend very much this year. I expect to be back for shopping on the next two days, as most of the autographs I wanted, I have. The rest is just gravy.

Day 1

How is Fan Expo this year?

The lines are ok for Thursday. We’ll see what happens tomorrow when the rubber really hits the road.

What happened to all the guests? You add an extra day, but almost two-thirds of your headliners don’t show? Boo.

Autographs

So far, not too shabby:

Bill Sienkiewicz

  • Uncanny X-Men #159, Annual 6
  • Wolverine #10
  • Cerebus Jam #1

James Robinson

  • Leave it to Chance #1-4
  • WildC.A.T.s/X-Men The Modern Age
  • Miracleman: Apocrypha #1

Matt Fraction

  • The Invincible Iron Man #2-5, 25, 500
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep #2

Jeff Smith

  • Rasl #1-3
  • The Book of Ballads and Sagas #3
  • Trilogy Tour
  • Rose #1-3

Celebs

Scored Michael Biehn’s autograph!! Come with me if you want to live!! Hahaha!!

Sketches

No sketches so far.

Buys

Managed to find a few issues that have been hard to find at relatively decent prices.

  • Marvels #0
  • Invicible Iron Man #6
  • Strangers in Paradise #49
  • G.I. Joe #149

G.I. Joe #149 is an insane amount of money…I don’t have any idea why this thing is worth what it is…I’m just glad I finally found it at a price that didn’t bankrupt me.

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