Okay, a few months back I wrote about deep dark secret #1. I hate sports. Tonight I’d like to post a little bit about the other paradox in my life. I love comics. I hate comic conventions. In my entire time of going to conventions, there have only been two that I truly enjoyed going to. Luckily this weekend made three. That’s right, I love comic books, but I hate the celebration of same. That’s what the kids call “whack”.

Last weekend was Fan Expo Canada, formerly the Canadian National Exhibition (but not the CNE). It’s the home of the Toronto comiCON, the Sci Fi Expo, the Anime Expo, the Festival of Horror, and this year the World Series of Gaming.

I got in to Toronto late last Friday night, just in time to drop off a couple of boxes and go for a quick bite with Gus and Pete, who did an awesome job setting up the show. By the end of Friday night we knew that we were going to have an amazing weekend.

Our booth was located across from the Xbox 360 set-up, and there was a Guitar Hero stage about 100 feet from the front of our booth. With the extra space in front of us, we didn’t feel the least bit cramped.

The drive from downtown to Gus’ place at Yonge and Eglinton took nearly 40 minutes due to the combination of horrible planning on the city’s part, and my uncanny ability to hit every single traffic snag in the city. That’s the one thing I don’t miss about Toronto. In London you might get stuck on the road because a stupid train is bisecting the city in half, but at least you know why you’re sitting there annoyed.

Saturday was an early morning, and we headed down, bolstered our stock up a little bit, and got ready for a good day. I managed to leave the booth for about half an hour to grab some grub, and Pete, Erin, Gus, and Gus’ mom all took turns holding down the fort at different times. While I didn’t have a lot of time to see the show floor, I managed to buy a couple of awesome books. The first “The Art of Silver” by Stephen Silver is something I’ve had my eye on for ages. Stephen Silver is one of my favourite animators. He works in the “Spumco” style, and he’s the genius behind the look of the Clerks Inaction Figures.

The second book was “Confessions of a Process Junkie” by Alberto Riuz, which is a sort of “how to” book for art and using Adobe Illustrator to create beautiful images.

One of the regular con-goers that we’ve gotten to know, Jason Truong took my Spider-Man 100 Covers book over to the Romitas to get it signed, which was super nice.

Saturday night we had a terrific dinner at the Canyon Creek Chop House, and headed back to Pete’s place to crash out.

Sunday was a little later. I packed up so I could leave from the show, and headed down to pick up Gus. We arrived at the convention center, and already people were lined up two hours before the show started! We went across the street to MovenPick only to find that it’s gone, so we followed my “Bacon Sense”, which led us astray, and ended up at the Marche for an awesome omlette breakfast.

Sunday blew my mind. The show was amazingly busy. Before opening I condensed our TPB’s down a bit, and we discovered that we had sold two longboxes full of trades! That’s a lot of TPB’s. Our hardcovers were quite decimated, and a lot of stuff that I thought we would have forever (but which was HELLA cool) sold through.

Around 11 I went for a little stroll to check out the artists’ alley again, and I ran across Dale Eaglesham. Dale was one of my favourite artists from HERO and Villians United, and I’ve been loving his work on JSA. I saw a couple of Starman pages that I really wanted from JSA, and Dale’s wife showed me an amazing splash page of the new Steel that was insanely affordably priced (that’s the picture at the top of this story). I told them I was going to go for a walk and pop back soon, but I really just wanted to talk myself out of dropping a big load of cashish.

I went back to our booth and talked to Pete, who told me that he’d come back with me to Dale’s booth…so we left. I took another look at the pages, and I ended up buying both. My intention was to grab a couple other small things, but to be done with the big stuff.

I ended up getting a FireFly t-shirt, an Oscar the Grouch t-shirt for Kaylin, a Blue Beetle figure for me (because he’s frigging COOL), Scott Chantler’s new book “Northwest Passage” for Char, and one more page of art (this one a really nice Michael Gaydos page of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage right after their baby is born). I couldn’t find Agnes Garbowska, who does these awesome “lil heroes” commissions, so Gus went out for me, got me a sweet Robin, and then got me a Karl Kershl Robin as well to round out my new Robin themed sketchbook which I started this year.

It was all over too soon, and as we packed up the booth, I realized that I’m actually looking forward to next year’s show.

We saw a few more of our regular customers this weekend, which was really cool. We didn’t have our usual banner up, so they found us by spotting the All New Comics stickers we were wearing. I asked them about the new pulling system, and they all liked it, although many commented that they’d like to see issue # as well (perhaps a phase IV enhancement).

Looking at our booth, there are a few things that we will likely do differently next year. We’ll probably buy some sort of a fixture to put behind us, and try to maximize the space on the wall. I liked most of the set-up we had though and I would do little to change the actual table part.

I really want to print out some shots of our site for next year, and pimp the heck out of it through static pictures (because I refuse to pay $365/day for internet access). We’ll have a nice new display, and we’ll do up some big things on FoamCore to really have a spectacular presentation. Maybe we’ll do a vertical banner so that we can pimp out our brand as well.