My First Time at Fan Expo Canada

Fan Expo Finds

The beginning of September, the last few weeks of summer, and Fan Expo weekend have gone by so fast! It feels like Fan Expo was only yesterday when it’s really been over a week! If you caught my last post, I was talking about preparing for Fan Expo and how my love of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics pushed me towards going.

Flashback to August 31st and I was headed off with my boyfriend to Toronto’s biggest fan event, Fan Expo 2017! We went a little bit over the top and purchased the Premium Pass for Fan Expo, which I think was worth the money. The Premium Pass not only gave us access to all 4 days of Fan Expo, but it also gave us a quick Premium entrance to the venue, early entrance on the Thursday to scope out the venue exhibitors, a few limited edition items including a T-Shirt, a Limited Edition Star Wars Last Jedi lunchbox, a Batman Lithograph by comic artist Jim Lee, and a badge that gave us access to a premium lounge. If you’re wondering about pricing, the Premium Pass for Fan Expo was $160 CDN plus tax. Sounds a bit steep, but if we were to go for just the weekend anyway, we would have spend $100. Adding in two more, far less busy days, some swag and cool access for $60 CDN more, wasn’t going to make or break us. I would actually recommend getting a Premium Pass if you plan on going to all 4 days of Fan Expo, and because you can leave and re-enter the venue whenever you need!

Fan Expo Canada Premium Package

The Fan Expo Bag, Star Wars Last Jedi lunchbox, and the Premium Pass and wristband

The Last Jedi Lunch Box

The Last Jedi Lunch box is an exclusive from Fan Expo!

Fan Expo Thursday

So getting there on the Thursday, I had zero idea what to expect. We were ushered into a queue with other Premium Pass holders and were waiting patiently for the clock to hit 2pm so we could go in. Standing in line, I realized just how out of place we were.

My boyfriend and I were dressed in regular, every day clothes. But we were surrounded by hundreds of cosplayers who took Fan Expo as their time to shine. Kudos to all the cosplayers for creating their costumes, of which I had no idea what some were, but I think it takes a lot of thought and chutzpah to create and wear a costume around Toronto.

As we made our way into the venue (the Metro Toronto Convention Centre) we got to peruse the North Building. The North Building had vendors selling every type of thing you could think of relating to comics, TV shows, movies, anime, and fandoms. It was great to be able to walk around in a smaller crowd because we got to see all of the vendors and what they were selling, making note of which ones we wanted to return to later on. The North Building was also where all the big-name celebrities would be signing autographs and doing photo-ops with fans. Amongst the North Building celebrity lineup this year I was excited to see: The kids from Stranger Things, Sarah Wayne Callies from Prison Break and The Walking Dead, Page O’Hara and Robby Benson who are the voice actors from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Anthony Daniels who plays C-3PO in Star Wars. My boyfriend was also excited to see Norman Reedus, Khary Payton, and Sonequa Martin-Green from The Walking Dead. We took a walk around the celebrity tables (no one was signing yet) trying to find the celebrities we wanted to see.

North Building Fan Expo Toronto

This is the North Building at Fan Expo. Super empty during early admission time.

 

The Walking Dead Autograph Table

The tables for Norman Reedus and Sarah Wayne Callies to sign autographs

Before the rest of the Fan Expo crowd came in at 4pm, we decided to take a walk to the South Building. Now the South Building is where most of the Fan Expo action takes place. Not only were there hundreds of vendors in that building, but was also where all the artists were, all the comic book artists and writers would be signing, and also where majority of the panels would take place. In the video gaming section of the bottom floor, there was also an exclusive display of all the costumes used in the new Thor: Ragnarok movie (hitting theatres this Fall). I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with the costumes, especially the headpiece that they created using a 3-D printer!

Thor Ragnarok Costumes 2017

Thor: Ragnarok Costumes straight from the set!

The building also had food carts and lounges for all Fan Expo goers, in addition to the Premium Lounge that we had access to. We got to scavenge through majority of the vendor aisles, find some retailers that we know, and discover many new vendors that we wanted to come back to.

The rest of Thursday is a big blur to me. I know I definitely purchased a Squirrel Girl wall art hanger, a which says “EAT NUTS KICK BUTTS”, and connected with the artist (@FangirlgoodsCA) who also really loves Squirrel Girl because she’s so off beat. I think I also ended up buying a few Sensational She-Hulk comics, and debated getting a Sarah Wayne Callies autograph. By the end of the day (9pm) my feet were beginning to feel the strain of walking. Not enough to stop me from getting a taco bowl though!

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Variant and Banner

Squirrel Girl: She Eats Nuts and Kicks Butts. Not in that particular order either!

Fan Expo Friday

Getting into Fan Expo on Friday was a breeze because we had the Premium Pass—no waiting in lines. When we first got in, we realized that Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson had already started signing autographs. I had brought along my Signature Collection Blu-Ray copy of Beauty and the Beast in case I wanted them to sign, but I hadn’t made up my mind. Instead, we stood back and watch the two of them sign. I even took some photos of them before an angry volunteer shoved her hand in my camera and said “NO PHOTOS!”

Oops? But really, everyone was talking photos and in an era when everyone’s phone can sneakily take a photo, I wasn’t too concerned. I took my phone back out the moment after the volunteer walked away #sorrynotsorry

After that, we made our way over to the Walking Dead signing tables, when I realized that Sarah Wayne Callies was already signing! I was planning to at least walk by and take a sneaky picture of her. Sarah played one of my all-time favourite TV characters in Prison Break and it was insanely surreal to see her in person. But in the excitement of it all, I gave into my fangirling self and said, “FAN EXPO ONLY HAPPENS ONCE WITH CERTAIN CELEBS”. And that, my friends, is how I convinced myself to stand her autograph line up.

Sarah Wayne Callies Autograph

Thanks again to Sarah Wayne Callies for signing this for me!

Meeting Prison Break Star and Walking Dead Star, Sarah Wayne Callies

I didn’t realize how nervous I would be meeting Sarah Wayne Callies. I’ve always thought that she’s likely one of the down-to-earth, genuinely friendly celebrities, but what if I was wrong? Thankfully, my gut was right on this one!

As we met her, she gave my boyfriend and I handshake. I told her that I absolutely loved her in Prison Break and that my Mum and I binged watched Prison Break last summer. I thought that was going to be the end of the conversation, but she actually kept the convo going! She asked how long it took and told me that we had some serious commitment. I also told Sarah that I’m yet to watch the final Episode of Season 5, to which she said, “It isn’t on Netflix yet, is it?”…

Guys, Sarah Wayne Callies is one of us Netflix watchers. After she finished signing a photo for me, and my boyfriend got a few words in about her performance in The Walking Dead, she asked if I wanted to take a selfie, which, duh, of course! I probably over smiled in the photo, but it was really hard to contain my happiness. As we were giving our final handshakes, Sarah Wayne-Callies also told me to say hi to my Mum from her!

Walking a safe distance away from the table, I was shaking my boyfriend’s arm repeating, “I just met Sarah Wayne Callies and she’s totally nice!!!” Seriously, if you ever have a chance to meet her, just do it! She is well worth those few minutes during the autograph. I of course called my Mum to tell her that Sarah said “hi”, and that I was so happy I spent the $50 CDN for her autograph.

But that’s not all!!!

Remember when I said I took a selfie with Sarah Wayne Callies? Well, I posted that selfie on my Instagram and tagged her in it, not thinking much about it at the time. I put my phone away and kept walking around Fan Expo—by this time we had gone to the South Building looking for comics. After an hour or so, I was checking my phone and realized that Sarah Wayne Callies actually commented on my Instagram post, saying “Hi Mom!”.

Just met @sarahwaynecallies!She says “hi” Mom! 👋🏽

A post shared by Vanessa Kingson (@vanessakingson) on

I was in a bit of disbelief. I didn’t think she’d actually take the time to do that. My boyfriend said that it was definitely her commenting it, because I had some doubts that she maybe had a Social Media Manager (hah, my SMM senses were tingling!) At this point, my boyfriend was beginning to consider getting her autograph on his Walking Dead comic.

Naturally, he decided, why not get another signature in addition to the three that were already on it (from a previous event that we didn’t attend). So off we went, back to Sarah Wayne Callies to get a signature on his Walking Dead comic. Going up to Sarah for a second time was a lot less nerve wracking, and I started off by saying, “Hey, it’s us again!”.

Now, I don’t know how many people she sees in a day, but I wasn’t expecting her to remember us. But funny enough, she was like, “Oh, Hi! I saw your Instagram post!” I was in shock and I was kind of curious as to if she has a Social Media Manager.

Turns out, she had one at one point but felt that they weren’t really authentic enough for her. So yes, Sarah Wayne Callies took time out of her day to comment on my Instagram—something she wasn’t paid to do and certainly didn’t have to do. So, I’m pretty convinced she’s just one of the nicest celebrities out there. She signed my boyfriend’s comic and said that it was nice to see us again, and we were off to explore the rest of Fan Expo.

The rest of Friday is a bit of a blur because of my Sarah Wayne Callies hype. I know that we got to see a lot of comic book artists down in Artists Alley. I actually got to meet the inker of my A-Force comic, Craig Yeung, who signed my copy of the comic and let me look through the comic panels he drew for it. My boyfriend also got to meet comic book writer, Scott Snyder who signed some of his All-Star Batman comics, and comic book artist Adam Hughes who has worked with both Marvel and DC Comics.

A Force Signed by Craig Yeung

Craig Yeung (the inker for A Force) signed my comic!

 

She Hulk and A Force Comics

My Sensational She Hulk Comic finds and my signed A Force comic

All in all, another fun filled day of Fan Expo! Check back for part 2 of my Fan Expo 2017 experience where I’ll share what meeting Norman Reedus (aka Darryl from The Walking Dead) was and what once in a lifetime experience I had. Have you ever been to Fan Expo or a similar event? Let me know in the comments!

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