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culture

A Fan Expo 2012 Post-Mortem

It was another overcrowded—yet still oddly amazing—year at Canada's biggest nerd convention.

Thursday

The con opened strong. Every observer said the same thing: “this is like Saturday rather than Thursday.” Retailers were especially pleased. After last year, when sales were generally weak, starting out with a good showing meant the difference between a profitable weekend and financial failure for many of them. Several exhibitors said that they made more money on Thursday then they did during the entirety of Fan Expo 2011.

Many cosplayers now attend most or all of Fan Expo rather than simply the masquerade on Saturday, so Thursday was the first opportunity for surveying the costume field. There was, of course, the usual complement of Doctors Who (a simple costume that basically consists of nice clothes and a sonic screwdriver), Team Fortress 2 characters (iconic and attractive designs that work well with a group of friends), and Jokers (obviously). But there were definitely two up-and-comer categories this year.

The first was Assassin’s Creed assassins—mostly Ezio Auditores (whose ornate and gorgeous Renaissance Italian duds make for an attractive costume option), but there were one or two Altairs and even a lone Desmond. One Assassin cosplayer chalked this up to the new Assassin’s Creed game coming out later this year, but a new Assassin’s Creed game comes out pretty much every year, so we don’t buy that. Mostly we think that the Assassin costume is effectively gender-neutral (since there are male and female assassins), attractive to look at, and extremely badass. These are three elements that make for a good costume.

The other trend was gender-bending girl cosplayers as Marvel’s Avengers. There has always been gender-bending cosplay at Fan Expo, of course, but this year there was more of it than ever, and naturally a lot of it was in tribute to the most profitable film of the year. There were a bunch of girl Thors, several girl Captain Americas (one of whom was easily the best Captain America at the con, male or female), a few girl Nick Furys (in black and white versions), and a girl Iron Man or two. One girl was cosplaying as Agent Coulson. More numerous than any of these were girls cosplaying as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Our theory for that particular costume’s popularity is that girls think Tom Hiddleston is dreamy.

Friday

So the big story of today was, of course, the Fan Expo wedding. We’ve already written a lot of words about it, and there is not that much else to say. His vows were clumsy but heartfelt; hers were thoughtful and eloquent. The shoehorning of the Green Lantern oath into the exchanging of rings was a bit of a groanworthy moment. But it was a wedding, and weddings are almost always nice, and the couple was happy, and that’s what’s important when you’re talking about a wedding. (And then they had to clear out to make room for Jamie Bamber’s Q&A.)

When you’re talking about a convention, though, there are other important things. The enormous line for Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, or as we like to call it, The Four-Hundred-And-Second Stop On Kevin Smith’s Extended Sulking Tour, Featuring Jason Mewes certainly qualifies. Hey, more power to Smith for realizing that his fans don’t actually care if he makes movies so long as he reminds them all that it is possible to make millions of dollars as, effectively, a professional nerd. Kevin Smith’s entire career, at this point, seems predicated on people paying him to be Kevin Smith. Nice work if you can get it, we guess.

Saturday

The big story of today was, of course, the lines. Firstly, it is worth noting that Fan Expo’s excuse about the escalator breaking is not untrue. The escalator did break. Of course, they still had one working escalator, and the broken elevator was repaired halfway through the day, so it only slowed down the rate of entry into the con. This casts doubt on Fan Expo’s claim that they did not oversell tickets. (Also casting doubt on that claim: Fan Expo having oversold tickets in previous years and refused to give refunds. They didn’t give refunds this year, either.)

In addition to lining up to get tickets, get in, get a picture taken with the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and meet True Blood‘s Nelsan Ellis, people also had to line up for up to half an hour to get a cup of coffee, and, in some cases, to get a ticket entitling them to stand in another line. If this sort of Soviet-style queing happened at any other event, there would have been a riot.

But the lines are just a symptom of the real problem, which is that Fan Expo has completely overgrown its current capacity. The convention, at this point, could likely fill the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre: north and south halls plus the meeting rooms. Booking the entire centre would allow Fan Expo to continue to grow; there is clearly demand. (Which is unsurprising, because it’s effectively five or six substantial conventions in one).

That would also mean that the convention would not be so fucking crowded. Fan Expo claims 80,000 attendees this year; we suspect it was even higher than that. The main convention floor was, for the entirety of Saturday, completely packed to the point where many retailers were complaining that the human flood was hurting their business, because there was nowhere for people to shop. Several retailers said that Thursday had been more profitable for them than Saturday, which never happens. But here we are.

Even volunteers were unhappy. Partially this is because volunteers want the con to be run well, but this year it also had to do with the fact that some of them were worried that other sections (Fan Expo is split into comics, horror, sci-fi, anime, and gaming sections) were inflating their attendance numbers. Lower attendance numbers for a particular section mean less space next year. Fan Expo’s cramped strategy is effectively causing the con to compete against itself, which is just nuts.

However, we doubt that the con will expand to fill the entire Convention Centre. Partially this is because it is probably not easy to book the entire Centre only a year in advance. Also, we suspect Fan Expo has likely decided that it is better to book a con for maximum profitability (and rest assured that at present they have exploited every single inch of space available in the south building) than risk making less money by expanding. After all, business after business has learned that if you piss off nerds, they just keep coming back. And if a few of them don’t come back, well, there are always more nerds.

Sunday

Sunday’s attendance was not as dense as Saturday’s, but the con was still extremely packed. Retailers slashed prices in order to move inventory (always a sign of a weak Saturday for sales) and then reported that the price slashing had stimulated sales. Every retailer we spoke to said the event was very profitable despite a weak Saturday.

Despite the masquerade having taken place the night previous, there were still huge numbers of people in costume, because if you’ve gone to all that trouble to come up with an elaborate outfit, you will wear it as much as humanly possible. (It’s kind of like a wedding dress, except that it often tends to be spikier.) You wear a costume to be seen, and to share the con experience with as many people as possible. And that is nice. In fact, it’s one of the nicest things about Fan Expo.

Similarly nice is fans’ interaction with celebrities and professionals. Even though the appearances are usually paid, they’re still nice: the fan pays not for the autograph so much as the chance to tell someone, in person, that they love their work and that it made a difference in their life. The autograph is just a reminder of the experience. It would be nicer if the prices were lower, sure, but celebrities gotta celeb, we suppose.

And it’s not just big stars who get this treatment. Fan Expo is, generally speaking, a celebration of all things cult, so it makes sense that people who aren’t “stars” in the traditional sense of the word are huge deals here. Anime fans take this to another level. For example: voice actors are legitimate celebrities in anime land. Names like Wendee Lee and Colleen Clinkenbeard may not mean much to the vast majority of humanity, but for fans of Japanese animation, they’re roughly on par with Scarlett Johanssen. Fans lined up for over two hours for the chance to get an autograph and a photo with the people who gave voice to Cowboy Bebop‘s Faye Valentine (Lee) and Fullmetal Alchemist‘s Riza Hawkeye (Clinkenbeard). Several fans were bordering on tears when they met their heroes.

And that’s why Fan Expo remains fun in spite of itself, in spite of an organization that seems to pursue profit above all else. Enthusiastic fans make any convention better.

CORRECTION: August 28, 12:35 PM A caption on a photo in the gallery accompanying this post originally misidentified a villain from the TV show The Tick as Blowfish Avenger. In fact, the character depicted is Sewer Urchin.

Comments

  • Andrew

    They really need to do something about the crowding. Whether it be moving the Con to the Direct Energy Centre or somehow working out to get the whole Convention centre, they NEED to do it.

    It’s extremely dangerous with all those people packed in. If there was the slightest emergency it’s almost certain that people would be trampled.

    Plus, the fact that they oversell the tickets is just scummy. Plain old scummy. We need a bigger con in Toronto that can compete with these guys to get them to put their heads on straight and their morals in check.

    • Ivriniel

      To move to the Direct Energy Centre, they’d have to change the dates. The CNE is on at the same time as Fan Expo.

      • Anonymous

        Is there a reason they can’t change dates slightly year to year? It could still be in August.

  • http://twitter.com/JustALilLost Michele

    This was my first experience going more than one day (I tackled Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and would never attend Saturday again unless there was something or someone I HAD to see that was only on Saturday. Sunday was by far the most enjoyable day for me. A lot more relaxed and chill…
    I understand the reasoning behind the layout of one side was for going up, the other escalators at the other end for going down but add to that the insane crowds that were barely moving, it was a nuisance to have to go anywhere. Biggest pile-ups I found were near the 701 section because of the line-ups and the Delorean/photo-op area… impossible to get around on that side.
    A friend had lined up for over an hour only to be told once she got to the front that they “ran out” of tickets. Another “scummy” question that came up was having so many of the big names cancel. Yes, it is out of their control but I saw and heard a lot of criticism that they used the big names to sell tickets only to have the stars cancel later.

    • http://twitter.com/mightygodking Christopher Bird

      Patrick Stewart cancelling sucked, to be sure, but at this point no individual single star is going to increase or lessen Fan Expo attendance; the con has momentum beyond its headliners, and given how most headliners are paid (with a downside guarantee that they almost always exceed) it’s not usually an issue for FE management anyways.

      • DEBBIE

        Just so you know Sir Patrick is in Israel filming a movie. There was an interview with him during the Olympics and said as much

  • Nex

    I’m an older geek – I’ve never been to this thing and likely never will for the two big reasons mentioned in the article: 1) the crowding – I can deal with crowds, have done so over the years and still don’t mind them but when you can’t move (as I’ve heard from some convention goers) and you really wonder what is “that thing” that’s touching your shoulder, arm, butt, nether regions etc. then it’s time to stay the hell away. 2) the overselling of tickets – I can see an airline doing this (although I think it’s low) but at least another plane will be along which will guarantee you get a seat and a way to your destination. Fan Expo has proven, at least to me, that they really don’t care about the fans – so they oversell tickets and refuse to give refunds – you’ll never get to your destination. . . . and you’re not getting your money back. . .

    • Dan

      So what your saying is that you would like to wait in line for a few hours and then be told you can’t enter? Lines were huge because tickets were not sold untill 10! people lined up at 8! 2 hours early!

  • P.M.

    A lot of people names Christopher worked on this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.mathien James S. Mathien

    Slight correction for your photo gallery: Why yes, that *isn’t* Blowfish Avenger from The Tick. It is Sewer Urchin.

    • Amrael

      Slighter correction. He is also not a villain.

  • Zatanna

    On Sunday: “Retailers slashed prices in order to move inventory (always a sign of a weak Saturday for sales)”.

    I don’t know how many cons you go to, but price slashing on Sunday is ALWAYS what happens, regardless of previous days sales. Why? Because it’s so much easier to sell that shit off than pack it up and move it back out or travel with it.

    This was my first time at FanExpo in about 8 years, and I was pleasantly surprised at the increase of comics-related stuff, and the increase of local handmade artisan works. But even that doesn’t make up for the poor planning….and the cosplay faux pas! Too much! Toronto, have some pride, put some more effort into your costumes! When you throw it together the day before, it shows. Or maybe the local cosplayers don’t get out enough.

    I’ll keep travelling to other cons and try this one again in another 8 years, maybe.

    • OgtheDim

      Every sub culture has some snarkiness I suppose…..

  • Ivriniel

    “Despite the masquerade having taken place the night previous, there were still huge numbers of people in costume, because if you’ve gone to all that trouble to come up with an elaborate outfit, you will wear it as much as humanly possible.”

    Actually, quite a few cosplayers makes different outfits for each day of the con. There probably weren’t that many people wearing their outfits from the Masquerade out on the floor on Sunday for fear of something happening to it, as people put extra effort into Masquerade costumes.

  • Eric Houstoun

    maybe girls went as loki because the character is a woman in the comics for a while?

    • Eric Houstoun

      no, they can only possibly be doing so because girls like cute boys and want to dress up like them because they’re soooooooo dreamy!
      *this has been a sarcastic statement*

    • http://twitter.com/mightygodking Christopher Bird

      Yeah, there was a sudden huge surge of girl-Lokis as opposed to last year based on a nine-issue run that ended over three years ago, as opposed to Loki’s appearance two movies which grossed over two billion dollars worldwide.

      Sure. That’s plausible. It also explains all the other gender-bending Avenger costumes!

      • QueenBee

        Just as an interesting aside, one of the groups of Avengers that I saw had a male Black Widow(er).

        • http://twitter.com/mightygodking Christopher Bird

          I also saw a male Catwoman that was arguably the best Catwoman at the con.

  • QueenBee

    There will always be lineups. ALWAYS. Complain about crowding this year if you must, but does anyone remember 2010? When, if you stepped outside for even a moment, reentry took 3 HOURS?
    Whatever. Buy your tickets in advance so you don’t get denied entry. Show up early. Quit smoking. Bring a lunch. Hardcore con-goers get it.

    • fuckhobbystar

      They did the exact same thing as 2010. Maybe you should reread the original post.

      • QueenBee

        They held the con in the north building again? An escalator broke this time?
        I wonder where I was this past weekend…
        No, not everything was done in the same way as 2010. I learned from that experience; it’s not my fault that other people didn’t.

        • fuckhobbystar

          I don’t understand how an escalator can stop people from entering and the convention center.
          I also don’t understand how you can just ignore Hobbystar continuing to sell tickets even though people who had bought tickets were waiting in line.
          This is Canada, and if you want to use the “quit smoking” excuse go find a more aggressive country to live in.

          • fuckhobystar

            Also, you seem to be fat and maybe if you started smoking you wouldn’t have so many cravings for mcdonalds, arbys, or packed at home lunches that your mom deep frys for you.

    • Anonymous

      If they want something only “hardcore con-goers” can navigate and enjoy, they’ll end up with only the hardcore con-goers showing up. Crowding, poor layout, etc, turns off (and away) everyone else.

      • QueenBee

        Just saying that there are ways to deal with the lines and crowding on our end as guests. I’m not denying that improvements can be made; I’d love for the con to move to a larger venue as much as anyone else.

        • Anonymous

          Someone going for the first time wouldn’t know all the insiders’ tricks.

          • QueenBee

            Of course not, but common sense helps a little. Don’t want to spend a ton of $$ on lunch? Bring something with you. Anyone who’s been to a theme park would probably reason that getting there early is a good idea… Anyway, I’m not about to address every specific possibility. There are FAQs on the FanExpo site that give answers and tips that may help people have a better time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513128009 Gordon Yarley

      Seriously go screw yourself. Not everyone wants to crawl underground and stay there for eight hours. You come off sounding so damn elite it hurts. Hardcore con goers do not go to Fan Expo ever again. If anything I’ll go to Dragon Con or Star Trek or Star Wars. Screw Fan Expo. I am not cattle. Being treated like garbage and taking it, is just showing the organizers that fans don’t care. You know what? I know of 20 people who didn’t go this year. I know of 20 more that won’t go ever again because of this year, including me. You come off very rude and condescending dear. I like to get out of the four floors underground and get fresh air.

      • QueenBee

        I come off rude and condescending? I’m not the one telling a stranger to “seriously go screw yourself”.
        I’m glad I won’t run into you at FanExpo.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513128009 Gordon Yarley

          You’re posting on the internet. You have a holier than tho attitude. You make comic book guy look good. Please reexamine your life. I’m glad I won’t either. You come across like a bit of a queen bee. Oh wait, that’s your name. You aren’t listening to valid concerns. I suspect you work for Hobby star.

          • QueenBee

            Because I most defintely DON’T work for Hobbystar (I’m a PhD candidate, actually, though I might not be for long, seeing as how I plan to “reexamine my life” at the suggestion of a dude on the internet), I don’t see how I have any obligation to “listen to valid concerns”.
            Anyway, sorry to have gotten your hackles up. I guess I choose to focus on the awesome time I had over the weekend rather than the lines I waited in or the few times I got my foot stepped on (or my chest elbowed).

          • fuckhobbystar

            I am a doctor. I am actually the doctor who helped the owner of fan expo’s mother give birth to him in India. Because yes, I am an indian doctor.

            I only bring this up because I am better than you and I felt you needed to know my qualifications before we continued.

      • Eric Houstoun

        you kind of sound like the pot talking to the kettle here. I don’t know why you’re so up in arms about her post, from what I took from it she simply said it wasn’t as bad as this article makes it out to be, and frankly I completely agree. Honestly if you have a hard time with dealing with throngs of people packed into one area none of these conventions are going to be very enjoyable for you. She’s right, people that go to these sorts of events understand there will be lines, and it will be crowded. Speaking purely from my own perspective I at no point felt suffocated or that I couldn’t deal with the traffic.

  • fat mike

    for my first fan expo and What should have been one of the happiest days of my life. Me “meeting” stan lee was a big big big let down. So i bought my ticket to “meet” stan lee the day before i paied $50 wait in a line for 3+ hours when I got to meet him security wouldn’t let me get it signed to me and security made me stand 3feet away and I couldn’t even talk to him :( because security kicked me out of line …a once in life time chance to met a childhood hero wrecked by d-bag security :(

    I loved meeting billy west more the stan lee :( billy was so nice and kind and on top of that he even did professor farnsworth (futurama) and billy went “GOOD NEWS EVERYONE” & “BAD NEWS EVERYONE”

    but before anyone says anything about me bitching about security. they need to under stand that this is something we been waiting for our whole loves and we are pepole

  • Eric Houstoun

    I’m astounded at how poorly informed this article seems to be. Sunday price drops a sign of poor sales? Not really, it’s a sign that vendors want to lug home as little crap as possible. Kevin Smith doesn’t make movies? I suppose directing three films in four years is slacking huh? Or maybe the writer just hates podcasters?

    Overall this article just reads as cynical and the writers seem to only poorly grasp what these sorts of conventions are actually about and why people enjoy them. Nice try torontoist, but perhaps next time try getting someone a bit more aware (or willing to do a bit more homework) to write about ‘nerd culture’.

    • QueenBee

      Hear, hear. Cons are supposed to give the nerds a safe place to geek out on whatever they want to geek out on. It’d be nice if the reporting was a little less condescending.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513128009 Gordon Yarley

        It wasn’t a safe place this year. There were too many people because the con doesn’t expand into the north and south. They’re greedy. The reporter I felt was spot on.

    • http://twitter.com/mightygodking Christopher Bird

      “Not really, it’s a sign that vendors want to lug home as little crap as possible.”

      …which they do because their sales on Saturday underperformed. Last year’s Sunday markdowns were much less dramatic than this year’s because the Saturday sales were better; this year was reminiscent of 2010, which had the same issues with massive Saturday overcrowding.

      But hey, that’s just from actually talking to the retailers and asking them how they’re doing each and every day, so…

      “Kevin Smith doesn’t make movies? I suppose directing three films in four years is slacking huh?”

      Kevin Smith has quite publicly announced his intention to stop making movies, so I’m not sure what your point is.

      • Eric Houstoun

        Hey maybe the sales were underwhelming saturday, regardless it’s no surprise at any convention to see substantial markdowns on remaining inventory, it’s commonplace not an indication of something being wrong.

        As for the kevin smith thing, it’s true he has publicly stated he wants to wind down his directorial career but I don’t see how that relates to his show or any of his podcast network. That’s like saying Chris Hardwick is trying to eke money out of people because he’s tired of telling jokes. It’s a different product altogether, and while his prior success means he has a larger audience that’s not to say he wouldn’t be touring and doing podcasts had he not (many other podcasters do that aren’t nearly as famous). I really just don’t get why you seem to embittered with the fact that he was performing? I mean you didn’t take a swing at Stan Lee for doing a Q&A or charging for autographs despite the fact he hasn’t written a comic in years.

        I can see by your response that I seem to have touched a nerve, I’m sorry I realize I’ve come off a bit aggressive, I guess I didn’t realize you’d be reading each comment and feeling the need to defend yourself to each reader that chimed in with their two cents. Anyway, I stand by the fact that I don’t feel this article does a good job of representing the realities of the convention and I felt the perspective seemed slanted, either way I apologize for bruising your ego.

  • Andreas

    The line ups, I believe, for photos was the real problem of the convention……and the organizations of the rooms was horrid. I felt bad fr the volunteers who had to deal with this mess! Get a proper organizer…..and if you have a proper organizer, well….fire them and hire a real proper organizer!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513128009 Gordon Yarley

    I was hugely thrilled this year at the beginning then severely disappointed by the end. After being locked out of the con for forty minutes when I went for lunch due to hitting the capacity for the venue, with no explanation given by the inept Security, the con floor was crowded. You couldn’t move except like a penguin. I am a hardcore con-goer, and people have to remember we’re human. The damned thing needs more space.

    • Anonymous

      Obviously you aren’t hardcore enough, or you’d know everything is your own fault. Next time be more hardcore, like QueenBee!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513128009 Gordon Yarley

        Oh of course it’s my fault for wanting to not spend all my damn money inside the convention centre. $24 for a pizza. What a deal…. Rolls eyes. Screw Fan Expo.

  • DEBBIE

    Well I am going to write in capitals because overall i am PI$$ED. MY KIDS WENT WITH THEIR AUNT AND UNCLE ON SATURDAY, WAITED IN LINE FOR AN HOUR TO BUY TICKETS ONLY TO FIND OUT IT WAS THE WRONG LINE !!!!!!!!!!! THEN WERE HURLED INTO A CATTLE LINE FOR 4 HOURS YES 4 HOURS TO ONLY FIND OUT THERE WERE NO MORE TICKETS. A NEAR RIOT BROKE OUT IN THAT CURLED LINE OF DOOM. MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER WAS IN TEARS AND FEARED FOR HER LIFE AT ONE POINT. THE VOLUNTEERS WERE RUDE. IF YOU STOPPED FOR ONE SECOND YOU WERE SCREAMED AT !!!!!!!!!!!! THINGS THAT WERE FREE LAST YEAR NOW COST A MIN OF $10 AND OF COURSE UP FROM THERE. THEY HAVE OUT GROWN, OUT PRICED AND VIRTUALLY PISSED OFF ANYONE THEY COULD. IF YOU ARE GOING TO INCLUDE ALL AREAS THEN GET A BIGGER VENUE OR SPLIT IT UP !!!!!!! IT WAS UNSAFE, OVER PRICED AND POORLY ORGANIZED. TO THE POINT AN ACTOR EVEN COMPLAINED ABOUT BEING HUSTLED OUT TO MAKE ROOM FOR ANOTHER. AND YOU PAID BIG BUCKS FOR THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOME SERIOUS RE ORGANIZATION IS GOING TO HAVE BE DONE. I REALLY WANTED TO SEE A SPECIFIC ACTOR FROM TWO OF MY FAVOURITE SHOWS DOCTOR WHO AND TORCHWOOD. HAVING DIFFICULTY IN MOBILITY, HAD I GONE I WOULD HAVE BEEN SWALLOWED UP AND SPIT OUT. SHAME FULL
    GET ORGANIZED AND BE REASONABLE WITH YOUR PRICES.

    • QueenBee

      “THINGS THAT WERE FREE LAST YEAR NOW COST A MIN OF $10″ I’m just curious to know what you’re referring to.

      • DEBBIE

        My daughter is a huge amine fan. Last year she met Vic M. ( sorry can’t spell his last name lol ). He dies English voice overs. Last year she spent time with him got some pics etc. This year she had to pay to do the same as last year. Very frustrating for her as she saved to get in. And now she had to pay to see him this year. Wrong wrong WRONG
        Sent from my iPod

        • Eric Houstoun

          In fairness having to pay to get pictures or autographs is typically at the discretion of the guest not the convention, if that voice actor has a large following they will often charge for autographs and pictures to make the trip worth their while.

          I don’t know exactly who is responsible in this case exactly, I’m just saying that the blame on that one may fall on the actor and not actually on the convention.

          I feel bad about those experiences though, Sounds like it was a less than stellar experience for your kids.

  • Senor Chang
  • renaissanceGal

    Crowds happen. When was the last time anyone didn’t have to wait in line at Canadas Wonderland, or Disneyland or any other place? 2 years ago I was in Fla. for the huge Star Wars convention and you guessed it……….crowds and line-ups. It didn’t mean I had a horrible time. For the amount of people attending I thought it was organized as well as could be expected. My son’s waited out the huge line ups to play Halo and they did it several times. We also waited in line to meet Norman Reedus and being the positive people we are we made new friends and chatted about the Walking Dead to pass the time. My sons couldn’t stop talking about all the great things they experienced. When you get to meet an actor you really admire you quickly forget that you just waited an hr to see him. Ya my foot got stepped on a few times but that happens getting on the subway, standing in line at the bank, even waiting in line at the grocery store! I think the author of the above article should loosen up a little and relax – they make pills for calming down and there are professionals who can help with anger management issues. I have this to say to the author……….the minute someone has to use profane language to try and demonstrate their frustration I stop listening.

  • aguyfromontario

    as a volunteer this year.. I admit there was some room for improvement…but as always its a learning experience, we all try our best to do the best right? I had a great time even with the body aching he he… but it was fun.. an overall nice time.. and meeting all you guys just made my day’s.. I hope to see many of you next year.. no matter what the outcome… viva la FAN EXPO!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Out of curiosity, why would you volunteer for an event run by a private organization for a profit? Shouldn’t they pay their staff?

      • Anonymous

        this is exactly why i dont volunteer period, especially for something like fan expo…..not worth the hassle……

  • Guest

    The problem was not the lines, the problem was the overtly rude and frustrated staff of the metro convention center security and lack of communication between them. We spoke to many people about their experience with staff and it was always the same … no one helped them. There were no signs, and no help! Someone was looking to leave and was so frustrated that my friend and I had to show her to the exit. Another needed first aid and instead of being escorted by security was told to go up 3 floors and take a right, then told no, go down 2 floors and take a left. Asking nicely, please use these stairs, is much more effective than the yelling demands of security who didnt know left from right. And How to keep a crowd happy? Maybe give out popsicles! Have a conversation. Oh and how about not continuing ticket sales? Look at peoples wrists instead of constantly asking “Wristband? Wristband? It is visible! Not to mention, we witnessed a child fall on the chain link rail and the security guard non chalanlty walk upto the chain and fix it not saying anything or making any mention of the childs safety. We spoke to the third part security company hired and they had complaints about the metro security people, we spoke to the police called in to help and were surprised to hear that they had “suggestions” for the expo. I hope we are able to see these police reports soon. Most helpful…FAN EXPO VOLUNTEERS! They took the time to find the answers even when they didnt have them. A big thank you to them! We were most concerned that these issues are repeated issues and its true that regardless the Expo was amazing once inside. They need to remember, the frustration was not the lines, but the rude behavior and treatment of people in line by security and staff who remained inconsistent all 4 days. I want more vendors and more panels and more awesomeness! We can do it Toronto!

  • http://twitter.com/MzzLudolorate Sarah Anne

    The problem was not the lines, the problem was the overtly rude and frustrated staff of the metro convention center security and lack of communication between them. We spoke to many people about their experience with staff and it was always the same … no one helped them. There were no signs, and no help! Someone was looking to leave and was so frustrated that my friend and I had to show her to the exit. Another needed first aid and instead of being escorted by security was told to go up 3 floors and take a right, then told no, go down 2 floors and take a left. Asking nicely, please use these stairs, is much more effective than the yelling demands of security who didnt know left from right. And How to keep a crowd happy? Maybe give out popsicles! Have a conversation. Oh and how about not continuing ticket sales? Look at peoples wrists instead of constantly asking “Wristband? Wristband? It is visible! Not to mention, we witnessed a child fall on the chain link rail and the security guard non chalanlty walk upto the chain and fix it not saying anything or making any mention of the childs safety. We spoke to the one of the third party security company hires and they had complaints about the metro security people, we spoke to the police called in to help and were surprised to hear that they had “suggestions” for the expo. I hope we are able to see these police reports soon. Most helpful…FAN EXPO VOLUNTEERS! They took the time to find the answers even when they didnt have them. A big thank you to them! We were most concerned that these issues are repeated issues and its true that regardless the Expo was amazing once inside. They need to remember, the frustration in the crowd was not the lines, but the rude behavior and treatment of people in line by security and staff who remained inconsistent all 4 days. I want more vendors and more panels and more awesomeness! We can do it Toronto!

    • CasualFemShep

      have to agree with you! The Staff were quite rude and overbearing while the volunteers were very nice and helpful.

      I arrived an hour and a half early for the Billy West signing only to be told that the line was already full (they weren’t even in the queue yet, just sitting on the floor area outside it) and to go away, which I found to be quite rude. But a nice volunteer told me that they had just closed the line for the moment, so that the area wouldn’t get too crowded, but once they start moving into the queue after the previous signing there might be some more room, so I couldn’t wait there, but don’t go too far.

      I went and got a smoothie and then hovered close to the line up area (but not too close that the staff member could yell at me) to wait. The previous signing ended rather quickly, and when the line started to move into the queue I followed the guy with the I’m last in line sign at a bit of a distance. Again the fan expo staff member started ranting that this was the end of the line NO EXCEPTIONS! and we all had to leave, being quite rude. But when the pre-line entered the queue, it was only half full! so the fan expo staff member started on her power trip again, “Well, Ok, well you can go in the line, we need to fill up the line, BUT ONLY UNTIL IT IS FULL!” I felt really bad for all the people who had been rudely turned away by this person and actually left, because there was still a lot of space in the line up.

      You would think that the staff might know how many people will fit into the queue for the signing area they are working at, and maybe count how many people are waiting before being all pompous and ordering people to leave. All I can say is thank goodness for that friendly volunteer!

  • WiseCraker

    Line-ups were fine, the moronic security guards and over priced crappy ass food was what sucked. One security guard actually told me to go away when I got out of the line to pay because i went back to save my brother and girlfriend who were swallowed by a mass of people shoving. Can I not go into Fan Expo with the fucking people I came with? Asshole grey haired, goatee security guard!! But other than that…..I had an awesome time, see you next year Fan Expo! but hopefully not you security guard neanderthal!

    • http://twitter.com/MzzLudolorate Sarah Anne

      we had one security guard tell us “He loves his job” as he yelled at people to keep on walking and they gave him the finger. wheres the canadian spirit!?

      • WiseCraker

        Loving your job doesnt mean your good at it

  • http://twitter.com/MzzLudolorate Sarah Anne

    Oh and regarding Kevin Smith…after waiting in a line in a parking garage so my friend can get her Fan Expo ticket, then walking 3 blocks to exchange my advance ticket (because for some reason they didn’t recognize people would come in groups and have different ticket types :S) I had to again go to the other building to exchange my Jay and Silent Bob Ticket…again, no signs, no reminders, no awareness of this needing to happen. The show was fantastic and worth the extra money and every second in line.

  • Watercrake

    We SAW and HEARD the escalator break. People were thrown forward and actually could have been hurt. Thursday, Friday – ok. Saturday – absolutely nuts.

  • Eric S. Smith

    “Girl” this, “girl” that — were they all under 18, or have we just given up on referring to women as such?

    • http://twitter.com/mightygodking Christopher Bird

      The FanExpo crowd skews pretty damn young, and when it comes to cosplay I would say the great majority of female cosplayers were under 20.

      • Eric Houstoun

        got a lot of statistical evidence to substantiate that I take it?

        • http://twitter.com/mightygodking Christopher Bird

          No. I was just, you know, observing. As journalists are wont to do. Yeesh.

  • Anonymous

    lol on your doctor who take, i have a friend and thats all he ever dresses up at cons, this year he blended indiana jones and doctor who…….

  • Toronto Iron Man

    Hey, Toronto Iron Man here, can you email me picture #14 of me (Iron Man) with other contestants on stage please. Beautiful picture. Email is Contact@TorontoIronMan.com

    Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/iamsarah sarah fay

    This year, I bought my 95.00 pass on Thursday, and the woman asked me to put my arm thru the booth so she could put it on. She proceeded to seal the bracelet shut on the LAST hole, making the bracelet so large it slipped off my arm. I immediately asked for another one, and was told that wasn’t possible. I resigned myself to trying not to lose it all weekend. Of course that failed. I got home Thursday night without the bracelet.
    When I showed up Friday evening and asked to speak to a manager, the woman I spoke to told me, essentially I was SOL, despite the fact that the bracelet was put on me by one of YOUR employes. When I asked her for her name, so that I could follow up with an email, she refused to give me her name. I’ve worked in management in retail for the last few years, and if you’re following company policy, there is no reason not to give your name. This leads me to believe she was just being unreasonable.
    This is an extremely unprofessional way to behave, and she refused to even meet me halfway. I ended up having to buy ANOTHER 95.00 bracelet, as I had already signed up for events later in the weekend. I come to your festival every year, and think this is entirely unacceptable.
    In short, thanks for nothing, and you owe me 95.00.

    TL;DR, Fan Expo staff made me lose my bracelet, and refused to reimburse me for a new one, costing me 190.00 of money.

    • Anonymous

      You really expected them to give you a second entry? All they have is your word that something went wrong. As a retail manager, it would be like someone coming up to you and asking for products they claim to have purchased and then lost. Was there something preventing you from holding on to the bracelet with your hand, or putting it in your pocket or something?

      That’s a pretty lame complaint compared to what’s been posted above.

  • Kellie

    At the photo pickup it was a mess. Poor girl doing security there, they really needed 3 or 4 people helping her. She’d organize the lineup going a certain way and the moment her back was turned to organize the other side of the line, people got rude and cut in. Even pointing it out to these people where the end of the line really was resulted in them shrugging. Cables to separate the lines would really help next year.

  • Laracroft6669

    OMG i was on the escalator when it broke and we almost fell down it because it stopped so sharply. we were in shock, and us and the couple that were just ahead of us walked down all shaky and freaked out.