The last four years The Princess and I have been going to Fan Expo Canada, our country’s version of San Diego Comic Con, and the third largest pop culture gathering in North America. Mind you, I’ve been going even longer now, usually with our own JP Fallavollita. I can’t recall when I started, but I know that first experience found me going back twice when I realized your could get trade paperbacks for US cover prices, if not less. That first year, I paid admission twice, just so I could get the entire run of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman as trades.
A lot has changed over the years, as pop and geek culture has become more prevalent in mainstream society. Some of it has definitely been for the bad – comic book creators charging for a signature, overpriced celebrity autograph and picture signings. The early beauty that I experienced during those first comic-con going years was about the fact that you could go up and simply say thanks to a celeb for their work, without the expectation of having to pay them for the experience. This change isn’t entirely the celebrities fault, of course. The rise of ebay and sales there have changed the paradigm for everyone. However, it was definitely nice to be able to have some quick facetime with a few comic book writers without the expectation of having to pay them for it. Both Nick Spencer and Matthew Rosenberg, two of the hottest Marvel writers right now, were genuinely friendly when we spoke at their tables, and when I bought Matt’s 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank, it’s because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.
For me, though, this Fan Expo was really about the two days I spent there with The Princess. Clad in a Violet Incredibles costume, she was my perfect partner in crime, keen on visiting each and every booth as we looked for Teen Titans Go! Funko Pops, and LEGO Mini Figures. She had a blast taking pictures at the Ralph Wrecks The Internet booth, and had no problems waiting her turn to play LEGO DC Super Villains over at the WB Interactive Games booth. The Princess had saved her birthday money specifically for the event, and even though I was happy to help her out with some funds when needed, it was absolutely endearing to watch her contemplate how she wanted to spend her money.
“Daddy, should I get the Kitty Noir Funko or should I get more LEGO Mini Figures?”
“Daddy, who’s your favourite villain? Mine is Harley Quinn!”
If you’re a parent, you know the great joy in sharing interests and experiences with your child. There was so much of that going on between us this weekend. The Princess was absolutely patient and even engaged as we waited through multiple lines to pick up some of the Funko exclusives that were on sale. She would read the Miraculous comic book she picked up, and asked questions and seemed to get progressively excited as the line moved closer to the booth. When it finally came time, she even walked up to a Funko teller and bought a set herself. It really was something.
That Friday, The Princess lasted 12 hours at Fan Expo, shopping, taking pictures with fellow cosplayers, and ultimately making it all the way to the VIP Nintendo After Hours event we were invited to, where we were able to test drive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate before it hits the Switch later this year. The Princess may have been the only kid among the gathered media (certainly, she was the only one in costume), but she had no problem stepping up to consoles and taking on all the other players; she even managed to win a round thanks to her skillful button mashing. It was so great to see – I was a proud Dad.
There was a lot to check out this year – our friends from DK have new Marvel books coming out that look great; PlayStation had their upcoming games Spider-Man and Dreams on display to play (you’ll see our Spidey review this week), and Artist Alley was full of familiar faces from the comics world, alongside less famous but still talented artists as well.
While Fan Expo wasn’t quite perfect (the folks at both Funko and Fan Expo will definitely need to sort out better scenarios for next year’s both exclusives), I can honestly tell you it was the best experience I’ve had since I started bringing The Princess with me. We’re already looking forward to next year.