Over Labour Day weekend (the same weekend as DragonCon), I spent my weekend at Fan Expo in Toronto.

Since its inception back in 1995, the show has grown to be one of the biggest in North America. People from all over the place flock to Toronto to attend and to check out the selection of panels, events, and guests that are from a wide variety of different bits of pop culture. Cosplay enthusiasts go all out to show off their amazing costumes (you can see the gallery of some of my favourites from the weekend here) and walk the floor, impressing people left, right, and center.

This year at Fan Expo, in advance of Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel set up shop with the costumes from the film. They had the costumes for Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hela (Cate Blanchett), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Skurge (Karl Urban), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and more as well as a few of the weapons from the movie. I checked out the costume exhibit and my photos for it are below:

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One other thing that I got to do at the convention this year was talk to Kristin Kreuk about her role in the new video game (on Steam), Shuyan Saga. It was an exceptional experience and I had a great time learning about her work and her views on diversity in Hollywood etc. You can read the full interview here.

Ultimately I almost always have fun at Fan Expo when it comes around. I tend to spend nearly all of my time in Artist Alley without doing a lot of other stuff such as panels – the lines tend to be too long and I just don’t have the patience to wait in them to get good seats. Plus the fact that it’s INCREDIBLY RARE for Fan Expo to actually let people pitch panels for the show means that there are just a lot of corporate panels or general panels about cosplay, steampunk etc. It’s not really my cup of tea.

I long for conventions like Emerald City Comicon and New York Comicon that actually have Panel Submission Forms for people to utilize to bring interesting and diverse panels to their shows.

Another thing is that, as mentioned, I spend a lot of my time in Artist Alley. I love checking out the up and coming artists as well as the guests that are visiting for the convention. It’s my absolute favourite thing to do (as well as apparently find a booth to help out at while I’m around).

A thing that is an honest to goodness PLAGUE on comic con are exhibitors with skyscrapers of posters. If you’ve been to a convention in the last 2-3 years, you probably know what I mean.

Convention showrunners HAVE to get a handle on this and put a stop to it because honestly, it makes the booths a 1000x more claustrophobic and draws ridiculous crowds to one specific spot where traffic consistently gets stopped and it is FRUSTRATING to try to walk through.

They need to start really curating the people in Artist Alley too – I realize that it’s a cash grab for them and they don’t seem to care what their Artist Alley looks like as long as people are paying the $600+ to have a booth, but the art there reflects on the show and there is just TOO MUCH going on there.

With all the being said, I thought the show was a lot better this year than the last couple of years. As it grows and continues to be one of the biggest shows in North America, I can only hope that they strive to integrate more comics content – the medium that made comic conventions what they are. I hope that they continue to work towards progress and making strives in diversifying the shows and panels and more.

Stephanie Cooke
Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics, JoBlo.com, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more. Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her <a href="http://www.stephaniecooke.ca">personal web site</a>.

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