Because there's more to Fan Expo than just taking pictures of scantily costumed anime girls.
It’s late August, and in Toronto that means it’s time once again for Fan Expo, the city’s annual convention for every hobby that might potentially involve dressing up in an elaborate costume (be that comics, anime, horror, sci-fi, or “other, not including drag, although drag queens are of course welcome so long as they are willing to admit that Batman is awesome”).
There are always hundreds of events at Fan Expo, and the convention’s organizers are very good at promoting the ones they really want to push (hence the media blitz for the first-ever Fan Expo wedding taking place Friday afternoon, because that is a fun story and everybody loves weddings, and of course Leonard Nimoy is appearing again this year, and who doesn’t love Spock?). But we here at Torontoist want to make sure you don’t miss out on the smaller events that are nonetheless worth your time. Here are six of them.
1 Learn how to build a Dalek. We love Doctor Who more than a vampire loves blood (or more than a Twilight vampire loves, we dunno, sparkling or something), but we did not know that building Daleks was actually a thing that people do often enough that it has become its own sub-hobby. Apparently it has! The Doctor Who Society of Canada (which really exists) is running a workshop at Fan Expo where they will provide Dalek “blueprints” and give you tips on how to build a Dalek without breaking the bank (because if you are going to build a Dalek, after all, you don’t want to blow the kids’ college fund on it, as universities do not traditionally accept Daleks for payment of tuition). (Friday, 4 p.m.)
2 Celebrate Canadian genre television. Last year’s Lost Girl event was a welcome treat for people who love the Showcase program about a heroic succubus. This year the cast returns, but more importantly they’re not alone. Continuum, Showcase’s new (and surprisingly smart) hit show about a time-travelling lady cop who fights future terrorists, will make its debut at Fan Expo, and we expect that as with Lost Girl, the convention will be this show’s most important fan event of the year. (Saturday, 3 p.m.)
3 Sit down and play a game. Longtime Torontoist favourite Snakes and Lattes returns to Fan Expo for its second year of “open gaming,” which is a nice way of saying “doing exactly what they do at Snakes and Lattes, except without all of the food they make that has Nutella in it somehow.” Staff will be on hand with a hefty portion of the cafe’s board game library. As always, they’ll be ready to teach all those con-goers (who will presumably need a break from standing in lines to get their precious things signed by celebrities) how to play whatever board game they might be interested in playing. Which is not a bad way at all to spend some time at the con—even if there is no Nutella. (No specific time. The games will be available all weekend long.)
4 Learn about the laws of comics. By which we do not mean “which types of Kryptonite hurt Superman and which are just kind of weird.” Specifically, we refer here to the intellectual property laws surrounding the creation of comics, which are terribly important if you want to make comics. Alex S. Ross—who is not the well-known comics painter, but instead a lawyer and patent agent—has a session at Fan Expo where he’ll explain how copyright and trademark law apply to comic creation, and what creators need to know. (Sunday, 3 p.m.)
5 Study Lego with a master. Dan Steininger is a certified Lego Master Builder, which means that he basically plays with Lego for a living. He’s hosting a workshop on the construction of large-scale Lego models (and also explaining how he managed to wrangle a job playing with Lego for a living). Be forewarned that if during the presentation anybody refers to individual Lego bricks as “Legos,” Mr. Steininger is legally obligated to horsewhip them, because Lego is very serious about not calling Lego bricks “Legos,” even if absolutely everybody does that. Also, don’t go to the Mega Bloks booth and call those “Legos,” because that is just wrong. (Friday, 5 p.m.)
6 Say it three times. Original 35mm prints of Clive Barker’s Candyman are rare (as are most original prints of horror films prior to the late ’90s), but Rue Morgue has one and they are screening it Saturday night at the Bell Lightbox. Combine this special opportunity with a Q&A session with Tony Todd, the veteran character actor who played the Candyman, and you’ve got all the makings of a fun night out. (Saturday, 8 p.m.; additional $15 admission fee)