Despite having its detractors who complain about the long lines, expensive photo ops, and last-minute cancellations attendant with cons, Toronto Fan Expo 2015 was one hell of a good time. Let's face it...if you take that many nerds and put them in any kind of building, you're violating the principles of common sense. You're also bound to have a group of people that are friendly, fun to be around, and generally awesome.
Here were some highlights, one from each day of the conference, in no particular order:
Friday evening: Q&A with James and Oliver Phelps
Saturday morning: Script Reading of Back to the Future
With acclaimed voice actors like Nolan North and Grey Delisle, it was impossible for this session not to be a hit. Throw in an assortment of voices ranging from the Penguin to Bill Cosby, and a cast of actors willing to go from PG-13 to R faster than a speeding bullet, and you can see why the session was such a hit with fans
Thursday afternoon: The crowd
If you only went to FanExpo on Saturday or Sunday and the crowds drove you mental, consider coming on Thursday next year. This birds-eye shot from the overlook shows that there is plenty of room for you to check out the North building. Not only that, but minutes later my family and I were sitting down at a table having pizza for dinner. That's right, we were actually sitting at a table!
Sunday afternoon: The Dark Lord, Sauron
I don't know what motivates someone to spend a warm Sunday afternoon at a crowded Fan Expo convention sweating inside a Sauron costume, but this stood out as a highlight when it came to the great costumes being worn this year. I mean, when you have children who love everything to do with Lord of the Rings, and, most especially, the villains, then you can't get any better than running into this guy.
Fortunately, his infernal graciousness was kind enough to pose for a couple of photographs just between the food court and Artists Alley before taking a couple of steps and being asked by someone else for a photo. Such is the price when you're the Dark Lord.
All in all, the show was once again a tremendous success. Despite being packed on the weekend and despite some of the strange ways we're lined up for events, the people in attendance are the ones who make the event -- kind, considerate, and respectful people who just want to nerd out with one another at the end of the summer each year.
There is everything to like in The Adventures of Whiz Bang, The Boy Robot. Coming to you from the wonderful imagination of Forrest C. Helvie and beautifully illustrated byMichelle Lodge, the book is perfect for parents and educators looking for great visual narratives for young readers. Here's how Forrest describes the project on his Kickstarter site:
This first full-colored volume contains the longer story of Whiz Bang and Amelia along with 2-3 short, stand-alone comic stories geared for an all-ages audience – especially emerging readers ages 4-7 that will enable readers to easily pick up any issue and follow along without facing the difficulties of continuity. Later volumes will include a continuation of this story along with additional short stories about Whiz Bang, Amelia, and later friends we haven’t met yet!
The book is already getting a lot of buzz, with an article on Bleeding Cool coming out yesterday. If you'd like to check out some of the sample pages, you can find them on the Issuu website. Take a moment to check out the publisher as well: Under Belly Comics.
Supporting this project shouldn't require much deliberation. It's a no-brainer. You can see that parents, educators, and members of the comics community feel the same way from the wonderful support it's already received.
Simply put, it's a beautiful book for kids.
Dr. Glen Downey is an award-winning children's author, educator, and academic from Oakville, Ontario. He works as a children's writer for Rubicon Publishing, a reviewer for PW Comics World, an editor for the Sequart Organization, and serves as the Chair of English and Drama at The York School in Toronto.
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