Aug. 28, 2011 - The final day of the convention, and my first experience of the renowned FanExpo was everything I had imagined.
A conglomerate of gamers, graphic artists, storm troopers, anime characters, Hogwarts students, steam-punk enthusiasts, comic book collectors, and every niche nerd market available flooded the convention centre. As long as you didn't spend $80 to get a signature with William Shatner, and then another $80 to get a picture taken with him (after waiting two hours in line), I respect your fanaticism to its core.
While my general impression has been that the FanExpo is a gigantic money grab which takes advantage of the enthusiastic sub-culturist, there were free perks for those who kept their eyes out. For example, you and a friend could get a photo with C3P0 and R2D2 on Tatooine, with the truest of light sabers, a green screen, and a professional photographer, captured and printed right before your eyes. Right? Following that, you could take a fan photo with Chewbacca --a customary Star Wars booth indulgence--and at no extra cost (and I would expect it so ... if you had to pay to take pictures with people in costume at the expo, you'd go home broke)! The HMV booth also had a green screen, and no time at I was amidst the cast of The Big Bang Theory, printed and matted on site. It's like those souvenir pictures taken on roller coasters at amusement parks ... except the picture is the ride, and the memories are free! There were also some free candy giveaways. How can anyone say no to that?
While I may have dropped about $70 on fanfare, $40 went to supporting a truly talented graphic artist, and taking the prints home to enjoy for years to come. (And hey, if the work increases in value, it might turn out to be a sound financial investment as well.)
The giant Lego Hagrid was my favourite feature on the floor--obviously placed to promote the hew Harry Potter Lego video game, but I'll take it. (I'd probably openly play the game if it weren't advertised for ages 5 through 7).
So, with my clear susceptibility towards the Harry Potter franchise, did I go to see Tom Felton (AKA Draco Malfoy) at the FanExpo? Well, for $40, over an hour wait, and no guarantee that I'd get my photo taken with him (and that blissful 15 seconds of side-by-side proximity to go with it)... no, thank you. More often than not, celebrity worship surpasses logic (perhaps it always does).
Thanks to HOToronto Magazine for the Press Access!