August 28th to 30th was the annual Fan Expo Canada (yeah…almost two weeks ago!), and once again All New Comics was there. Initial reports have the attendance pegged at 59,000 people, and I’ve gotta say…it sure looked like about that many people to me.
I got there Friday afternoon (after being busy Friday morning with the framers who were starting our basement renovation), where Pete and Gus had everything set up really nicely. I checked into my hotel room before heading over to the convention center, having scored an amazing deal at the Royal York hotel.
The first day was steady, but not overwhelmingly busy. I had a chance to do a brief tour of the show floor, and grab a couple of cool pictures, but I didn’t do a lot of shopping (other than buying volumes 1-3 of The Goon on Liam’s recommendation), and didn’t have a chance to hit artist’s alley. On my way back to my hotel I stopped at Canyon Creek and had the seared Tuna salad. There was something “off” about the tuna, and I paid for it until early Sunday morning.
Saturday was insane. I’ve never seen the show so busy. At one point it took me 30 minutes to get from our booth, to the washroom, and back. The amazing thing was that people were still buying! Around 4:30 things started to slow down a bit, so I went out looking for food, and saw the line-up outside was STILL taking 45 minutes to get in. Apparently at the peak the line went out of the South hall, up 3 sets of stairs, down the side street, up Front street, and over to Spadina! Absolutely insane.
I got some shots of my favourite dudes…the 501st Legion, who are just these unbelievable cosplayers with spectacular Star Wars outfits. There’s about a hundred of them (maybe more), with tons of Stormtroopers, a good number of Royal Guards, a bunch of Jedi, and a few droids.
We did really well on Saturday, and I managed to get out at one point and saw this absolutely gorgeous animation “How To” book. I talked to the guy who wrote it, Mark McDonnell, and ended up buying a copy for myself. This along with Steven Silver’s “Art of Silver”, and Alberto Luis’ “Confessions of a Process Junkie” are three of my favourite art books I own right now.
After the show Peter and I took Gus, Caroline, Erin, and Erin’s beau Brody out for dinner. Canyon Creek was booked up, so we walked down to Houston’s, which wasn’t bad (but was no Canyon Creek 2 bone pork chop!).
Sunday morning I met Liam for brunch at the Marche, and we headed into the show a little early. I found a terrific Captain America stuffed dude for Maks, a Dumbo ceiling flyer for Kaylin, and a couple of comics (she’s in love with the Muppets right now, so I bought her a Muppets comic and an Incredibles comic). We did a big “Buy 3, get one free” TPB sale to lighten our load, and absolutely cleaned up. We went through 2 full long boxes of TPB’s on Sunday, and I had a blast doing loads of math (although admittedly I screwed up when one guy got an amazing deal on 3 hard covers that ended up going for just dollars above our cost…damn).
I finally got out to artist’s alley on Sunday afternoon and picked up a page from Dale and Louise Eaglesham (JSA 22 page 14, which is the final shot of Kingdom Come Superman in the regular DCU).
We met a couple of our customers too, which is always great because with an online only store, we never get face-to-face time with our customers. Kudos to Simon, Jason, and James for popping by.
All in, the show was better for us than last, and while we were busier with the booth than years past, I never felt totally overwhelmed thanks to the great help that we had. We’ve got these things down to a science now (okay, mostly Pete has these things down to a science), and I’m able to pretty much do my favourite thing…which is schmooze with people, talk about comics, and get folks interested in new things.
Next year will apparently be back in the North Hall. The good news about North is that it’s MUCH more accessible from the street level (although the new tunnel from Front to the South really opens up your walking options).