If you live in and around the Toronto area, or enjoy travelling to the city, there are two certainties that the summer is very nearly over:
The Canadian National Exhibition opens its doors for two weeks and pop culture fans everywhere lose sleep in anticipation for the annual extravaganza that is Fan Expo Canada!
Celebrating its 22nd year, this year’s version of Fan Expo Canada looks to be the biggest and greatest one yet – and that’s truly saying something! Currently the third largest pop culture event in North America, the ever-growing 4-day celebration aims to host over 140,000 convention goers ambling through a sprawling 750,000 square feet of floor space at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, chock full of pop culture exhibitors, symposiums, industry talks, fans and stars!
Comic books. Movies. Television. Sci fi. Horror. Gaming. Anime. Art. Crafts. Costumes. And much, much more. Toronto comes alive with pop culture this coming weekend, and we here at Biff Bam Pop! couldn’t be happier!
Here are a few things we’re looking forward to between Thursday, September 1 and Sunday, September 4. Come on out and join us in pop culture nirvana – it’s just one more sleep away!
Admittedly, this is my main attraction to Fan Expo Canada: comic books and all that surround them. With their greatest line up of comic book creators yet, the organizers of this particular edition of the convention have gone out of their way to plan amazing industry guests and talks. In addition to the multitude of sellers booth of books and toys, here are the some of the comic book related events that have caught our eye.
Frank Miller & The Dark Knight III Team
Batman is front and centre at this year’s Fan Expo! You’ll get to meet and participate in talks with the team of creators behind the recent Dark Knight III: The Master Race comic book series. These are legends, each and every one of them: Frank Miller, Andy Kubert, Brian Azzarello and Klaus Janson. Some of these meet and greets and signings are ticketed events, so be sure to check out the Fan Expo website first to avoid disappointment. (Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4)
Margaret Atwood Debuts Her Angel Catbird Graphic Novel
Beloved Canadian author Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, Oryx and Crake) launches her first graphic novel, Angel Catbird, along with illustrator Johnny Christmas. It’s a world premiere event! What? You didn’t know Atwood was a comic book fan? Here’s your chance to meet her, ask questions, and get a signing of her new graphic novel! (Saturday, September 3)
Stan Lee’s Final Canadian Appearance
I, along with Biff Bam Pop’s Editor-in-Chief, Andy Burns, were lucky to be at a Stan Lee event a few years ago – and it was, undoubtedly, one of the best times we’ve had at a comic book convention. The man was open, involved, funny, and a real trooper for hanging around and making a point of talking to everyone that had come out to see him. Father time might be creeping up, and Fan Expo is billing this as the industry legend’s last Canadian appearance. Let’s hope not…it’s always great to meet the guy who created so many of the wonderful comic book characters we adore today! (Thursday, September 1 – Sunday September 4)
It seems the gaming portion of Fan Expo gets bigger and bigger each year…especially the video gaming portion of it. This year is no different, with a few events that have definitely caught our interest.
Floor space for video game designers seems to get more widespread and more intricate each year. We’ve got signing booths for developers and level artists now – unheard of just a few years ago! The entertainment industry is changing and gaming, whether it’s the digital kind or the cards, dice and figurines kind, is at the forefront. Here’s what we’re digging!
Northern Arena E Sports Championship – Toronto LAN Finals
Ok. This is definitely something to see…whether on location at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, or from the comfy confines of the sofa in front of your console or computer. Presented by Bell, Northern Arena will host three tournaments including the CS: GO Final and $10,000 prize pools for both Hearthstone and Clash Royale (you must have seen the ads)! Gaming as a sport…a most outrageous sport! (Room 718 South Building on Thursday, September 1 – Sunday September 4)
Read more about Northern Arena at: NorthernArena.ca
Watch the epic battle live from September 1-4 on Twitch: Twitch.tv/northernarena See highlights from past tournaments on: YouTube
For updates find Northern Arena on Facebook and Twitter at: Facebook.com/NorthernArenaEsports and @NorthernArena
Batman: Arkham VR Demo
Just when you thought there wasn’t enough Batman at Fan Expo, this weekend, you can actually be the Batman in the EB Gamer Zone! You can be among the first to experience Batman: Arkham VR in a playable demo. Definitely worth checking out if you love the Dark Knight, video games, or the future! (Thursday, September 1 – Sunday September 4)
Table Top & Role Playing
I know. I know. There are a lot of you table-top and role–playing gamers out there as well. Fan Expo hasn’t left you in the dust. I got a hot tip from Biff Bam Pop’s own Justin Mohareb that there is plenty on offer for you guys and gals as well. Justin, you see, is the Lord Commander of gaming at Fan Expo, so although he’s not directly involved in each of the events, he’s kind of omnipresent. This year will see the continuation of programming from previous years, but keep a watchful eye out for all-time faves like D&D and Pathfinder events. There are also YuGiOh! and Magic tournaments happening every day…including one YuGiOh! tournament where the winner gets a PS4. Sweet monsters! (Thursday, September 1 – Sunday September 4)
Photo ops, signings and meet and greets. I don’t even know where to start here…there are so many celebrities and stars of film, television and other media at this year’s Fan Expo, certainly too many to list.
It’s this aspect of Fan Expo that usually sees the longest of the line-ups and for good reason: everyone wants to have a moment with a pop-culture celebrity!
Well, there are plenty here this weekend to choose from. Make sure you check out the Fan Expo website for tickets to some of these. That said, here are some of our highlights.
William Shatner in the Captain’s Chair
For the first time ever, you can take your photo with William Shatner, the one and only Captain James T. Kirk, from the original Star Trek – next to him in the Captain’s Chair of the U.S.S. Enterprise! Oh, this is boldly going! (Friday, September 2)
Return of the Jedi indeed! There are actually two events featuring Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker, in case you didn’t know) that every fan should seek out. First, you can catch him live at a ticketed event, along with autograph signing and photo op. (Friday, September 2)
But you can also see him at a special Batman & Joker Live event alongside Kevin Conroy! The voices of the animated Joker and Batman, together in the same room…in real-life! That laugh! That menace! Oh man, this is going to be awesome! (Sunday, September 4)
Batman & Robin & The Batmobile
The Batman fun continues! Here’s a chance to meet and take a photo op with Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin) and their 1960’s television series Batmobile! It’s a pop culture hat-trick! (Friday, September 2 – Sunday, September 4)
Fan Expo Canada runs from Thursday, September 1 to Sunday, September 4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. For schedules, tickets and information, visit their web page at: www.fanexpocanada.com
We at Biff Bam Pop! will see there!