Fan Expo Experience: Walking Dead, Lights and Disney

Lights Skin & Earth Issue 1 and Two from Fan Expo

This was my first year going to Fan Expo, and I honestly can’t wait for the next Fan Expo HQ event. Never in a million years did I think I’d be headed to a “nerdy” event like to celebrate fandoms of all sorts, but it was exciting to take a step out of my comfort zone. Although I mainly went for the comics, art, and just to say that I’ve gone to an Expo, there was so much to keep me entertained throughout the weekend, especially the celebrity signings. In my previous post, I talked about meeting Prison Break and Walking Dead Star, Sarah Wayne Callies and finding some Unbeatable Squirrel Girl artwork. Today I’m covering what happened on the Saturday and Sunday at Fan Expo, which were equally as exciting!

Fan Expo Saturday: The Day of Celebrities! 

Norman Reedus 2017 Fan Expo

Taken while waiting in the lineup to meet Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead and Boondocks Saints

After meeting Sarah Wayne Callies on Friday and getting her to sign autographs, my boyfriend decided he wanted to meet Norman Reedus as well so he could get his autograph on his Walking Dead Comic. As you can imagine, everyone and their grandmother (I’m 99% sure there were grandmothers there) were lining up to meet Norman, aka Darryl Dixon. Luckily, we were there in time, sqeaking in just before the line got cut off. Although they were only allowing the person who was paying for the autograph stand in line, I managed to sneak past the volunteers and join my boyfriend. And I’m really glad I weaseled my way into the line because that line was approximately a two-hour wait!

Meeting Norman Reedus (aka Darryl Dixon)

Waiting in line for Norman Reedus, we came across a lot of fangirls (duh, we were at FanExpo). One in particular right behind me, was extreme—it was her 14th birthday, she wanted Norman Reedus to have her babies, and she started hyperventilating about an hour out from meeting him. Another little girl in line spent her time meeting Norman Reedus getting Norman to sign a cookie for the girl’s birthday.

Sidenote: Norman Reedus also threw candy at this little girl… Actually, he does a thing for kids where he is extra super sweet, throws them candy and silly strings them for fun. There was another little boy in line who got to give him a hug and also got silly stringed! I can see how everyone finds Norman Reedus charming.

Norman Reedus Autographing at Fan Expo

Norman Reedus (aka Darryl Dixon on The Walking Dead) signing autographs for fans

Anyway, so when that little girl was done meeting Norman, she came around to the 14 year old birthday girl, and said, “I got Norman to sign this cookie for your birthday, so happy birthday!” Honestly, I thought the little girl had such a huge heart for spending some of her time making someone else’s day better, but as a result, I had to listen to a sobbing 14 year old for the next hour. As we got closer to the front of the line, and the 14 year old behind us was on the verge of passing out, I got a little bit nervous. Because…Well…

I’ve only made it halfway through Season 3 of The Walking Dead. I can already sense all the shock from over here on the Internet. I honestly don’t have the same love for Darryl/ Norman that everyone else seems to have. So I really wasn’t sure what I was going to say when I met him other than, “Hello!”

As we approached the table, my boyfriend gave in his money and I was eyeballing the candy and cookies that were lying out on the table. I was trying to make a bit of small-talk with Norman Reedus’ people saying, “Wow, look how sparkly the cookies are!” The guy must have sensed my hunger or my love of sparkly things, because he told me I could have it, although he should probably ask Norman first.

As we shuffled down to Norman, I stuck out my hand for a handshake and said “Hello, I got really distracted by the sparkly cookie”. My simple handshake and awkward conversation starter turned into a cool bro-hand-slap-hand-shake kinda thing, where Norman kept clapping our hands together. I think he thought I was the birthday girl! As everyone kept saying that I wasn’t the birthday girl, he just kept going. And I was honestly a little bit confused (WHEN WILL THIS HANDSHAKE THING END? WHO’S GOING TO END IT? WHY AM I UNCOOL?) but kinda stoked that he gave me this very interesting handshake. He also gave my boyfriend a handshake and took The Walking Dead Weekly comic to sign.

Norman Reedus Candy and Cookies

I still can’t believe Norman Reedus gave me the sparkly cookie!

As Norman was getting ready to sign, the guy from before handed Norman the cookie nodding to me saying, “She wants the sparkly cookie”. I honestly wasn’t expecting the guy to ask him, and was completely taken aback when Norman was like, “Oh yeah here, do you want this? Want some candy too?” So not only did Norman give me the sparkly cookie I was eyeballing, but he also handed my boyfriend and I packets of M&Ms!

After he gave us candy, he was asking his table for a black marker (because my boyfriend wanted his comic signed in black). Somehow, he didn’t have any black markers on his side of the table…but just down the way, Sarah Wayne Callies who was also signing at the time, happened to hear he needed a black marker. As she handed down the black marker to Norman’s side, she blew a little kiss before heading back to her signing (Awwww! Cute cast mate moments). As Norman was finishing signing, my boyfriend managed to sneak in a question or two. 

All in all,Norman was so down-to-earth and honest. My boyfriend and I left with a laugh and a final handshake, but I think we were genuinely shocked at how relaxed, high-energy and friendly Norman Reedus is. I think he really goes above and beyond to be nice to his fans, especially the little ones.

Meeting Signer and Comic Book Writer, Lights

After meeting Norman Reedus and sneaking in some pizza eating time, I wanted to get in line to meet Lights (real name: Valerie Poxleitner). For anyone who hasn’t heard of Lights, she began her singing career a little over 9 years ago in Canada and was a really big hit in the pop-indie-electro scene. Since her debut album, she’s put out a few more, had a child, and is now making comic books that go along with her new music. The comics and album, both called Skin & Earth, are fairly new—the first two comics had been released this year, while the Skin & Earth album is coming out later this week following the release of the third comic in the Volume.

Skin and Earth Issue 1

Skin and Earth Issue 1, signed by Lights (the comic book creator)

If you can believe it, the Lights line was even longer than the Norman Reedus line. Maybe it was because she was signing for free, but she had such a huge line of fans! They were also dressed up as her main character in the comics, Enaia Jin.

The line was a slow move, but my boyfriend and I finally made it to the front. As I stepped up to the table, I gushed out, “Wow, I never thought I’d meet you, I’ve been a fan for nearly 10 years.” She was honestly super sweet, pulling me in for a hug across the table saying, “Anyone that’s been a fan for 10 years deserves a hug”. We handed her both our comics and she was gushing about how excited she was to be meeting all her fans and how much she think we’ll all enjoy the upcoming Skin & Earth comics.

Skin and Earth Issue 2

Skin and Earth Issue 1, also signed by Lights

The rest of our Fan Expo Saturday was spent looking around at Artist Alley and a few of the video gaming vendors. We even passed by Kristin Kreuk—actress in Smallville and now is voicing Shuyan, a video game character—who is just as stunning as she was back in the day. I was impressed with the amount of talent out there in terms of art and video game art, and I wish I had enough money to support each artist!

As we were heading out of Fan Expo, the crowds were thinning out, my boyfriend noticed that Khary Payton, who plays King Ezekiel in The Walking Dead, was still there signing autographs for fans. We decided to stick around a little bit just to see how he interacted with fans. Things quickly escalated and we found ourselves standing in line to meet Khary. As we got up to him, he pulled me in for handshake and asked my name, and did the same for my boyfriend. He was a really nice, down-to-earth guy as well, and even did a line from The Walking Dead (“Alexandria will not fall, not on this day”). My boyfriend was super stoked that he did the line, and as the two of them laughed, Khary pulled him in for a bro-hug.

With achy feet and sore backs, it was time to out after a very fun Saturday at Fan Expo. Only one more day was left!

Sunday/ Last Day at Fan Expo

Heading into Fan Expo Sunday, we had one major thing on our bucket-list: Go to the Beauty and the Beast Q & A panel. If you missed it in my first post, Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson (the voice actors for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) were at this year’s Fan Expo. Given the hype over the live action Disney, I can see why they would have wanted the pair at Fan Expo, and they did not disappoint! We lined up relatively early for the Q&A and ended up with good seats.

The highlight of the Q&A was when a fan who met Paige earlier, got up to remind Paige that she promised to sing Bonjour-Belle. And just like that, Paige got up in front of the audience, found her key (which is A flat if you’re curious) and sang a bit of Bonjour-Belle with some audience help for the “Goodmorning, Belle”, part. Check out my Instagram video of it here:

When @paigeohara7 sang Belle-Bonjour! at #fanexpo for all the @disney fans 👏🏽

A post shared by Vanessa Kingson (@vanessakingson) on

For 61 years old, Paige can definitely still sing and emit the character of Belle. The only downside is that I think Paige took a lot of time talking and didn’t leave much talking time for Robby, but I enjoyed hearing both of them give insights on their experience working on the animated classic.

Although I could have paid to get their autographs on my Signature Collection blu-ray of Beauty and the Beast, I decided that just hearing them talk about the movie was enough to satisfy me My hope is that when the live action Aladdin comes out, that the original Aladdin voice actors come to Fan Expo—because Aladdin is my favourite Disney Princess film and I would get them to sign my blu-ray in a heartbeat!

After the Q&A, we spent the rest of our day looking at the vendors and checking out whatever we had missed. We also managed to sneak in a quick meet-and-greet with The Walking Dead star and Star Trek: Discover star, Sonequa Martin-Green. Although I didn’t really know who she was (again, I realize how late I am to the Walking Dead Party). I have to say, she was extremely nice and has a killer fashion sense!

Joining the IT Movie Hype

We somehow got a chance to check out the Virtual Reality exhibition they had for the movie IT. The VR was set up in a school bus in the back of the video game section. We had to sign our lives away on a waiver before we entered the VR, basically to say we won’t sue if we have a heart attack and that they can use our reactions in pre-movie commercials. When we got into the bus, we were closed into a room with 6 other people. It took me a few minutes to realize the room was actually designed to be a gutter in the sewers, like in the movie. There were tons of creepy clown laughs, the lights would flicker, there was a spritzing of rain, and well-timed noises that startled everyone. Needless to say, I was practically ready to run out of the bus. After 5 or 10 minutes, the red light in the gutter room flickered like crazy, and a door slid open with someone yelling, “BOO!”.

IT Virtual Reality at Fan Expo

The IT Virtual Reality Bus that supported the launch of the movie

This slightly freaked me out, until I realized that the person was just a worker, and the door opened up into a seating area with computer chairs, each with a Virtual Reality headset. When we were ready, we got to put on the headset and experience the VR. I was expecting Pennywise (the clown from IT) to be a lot creepier in the VR and I was expecting to be more scared. In fact, I was more scared in the holding room than I was throughout the VR. I was more interested to look around the virtual world to see how it’s created than I was scared of the virtual world. Go figure, because I’m a girl who absolutely HATES clowns. The VR experience didn’t make me hate clowns any less, but I am glad I tried it out just to get a feel for VR because it is the way technology is headed.

After a few more hours of looking at vendors and a couple of video games in the Retro arcade, Fan Expo 2017 was over. I can honestly say I had a really fun weekend looking at comics, collectibles and art, and some of the celebrity experiences are really once in a lifetime. The best part? I didn’t feel uncomfortable being at Fan Expo even though I didn’t fit the mold. I felt like everyone was minding their own business, indulging in their own fandoms. I felt perfectly fine being the odd one out and I wouldn’t change the experience.

Understandably, I’ve left out some details (like meeting X-Men Starlet, Famke Janssen) to keep this post from going into the snore zone, but if you want to learn more about my Fan Expo experience, feel free to leave a comment or email me!

So will you be heading to any Fan Expo Events soon? Have you met any celebrities before? Let me know down in the comments!







Let me know what you think. Leave a comment!