Chatting with Max Brooks at the Avatar Booth

As I write this, I’m currently in the comfort of my own home after four days at Fan Expo Canada which as of last year became the second biggest pop culture convention in North America.

And I am tired.

But a good tired.

Working with Geek Hard is a lot of fun, a lot of work with a good chunk of hurry up and wait. So now that my brain is mush, I thought it would be a great time to  give you guys a preview of what’s coming to the site in the coming weeks and the “Behind the Scenes” magic of Geek Hard’s coverage of the convention.

I have no idea what day we did what anymore so in this particular report, I’m not going to try and separate them… it’s all a big blur… kind of like if you drank a big cup of nerd juice… that didn’t come out right.


Interviews, Interviews and more Interviews!

So who did we get?

Who didn’t we get?

Between everyone we got a ton of comic creators, tv celebs, a best selling author, a pro wrestler and a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Pretty good haul if I do say so myself. Personally, I got to interview Max Brooks, Garth Ennis and Slash.

Max Brooks is always awesome to talk to. I’ve been lucky to interview him three times now and he’s always engaging and a lot of fun. He’s one of the guys at the con I know I can get away with a few jokes and he’s a bit of a talker so it lessens my work load. He talked to us about a project he’s working on that sounds really good.

Garth Ennis is a writer I have been a fan of for years… and never thought he was taller then me. Seriously, I always figured he was short for some reason. Ennis was kind enough to talk to Andrew and I for a while about everything ranging from his work at Avatar to his return to the Punisher.

And then there was Slash.

Slash is one of the world’s top guitarist, a legit Hall of Famer and now he’s entered the movie business with Nothing Left To Fear. And thanks to Anchor Bay Entertainment (and our fearless leader Andrew Young), Ken Baumgartner and I got to chat with him for twenty minutes.

Did I mention how awesome Anchor Bay is? Seriously, go buy everything they put out.

Slash is honestly one of the coolest celebs I’ve met. Down to Earth, ready to joke and really excited about the upcoming release of Nothing Left To Fear. I’ve got a pretty solid BS meter at this point and it’s pretty clear that Slash is pretty happy with the outcome of his first production venture. And he didn’t punch me despite the fact I completely screwed up the name of the film. Luckily, Ken caught the ball pretty quick and ran with it for which I am grateful.


There wasn’t much.

Okay that’s not fair. There wasn’t much in the way of comic news in part due to the lack of booths and company involvement with the Big 2 at the con. Marvel and DC didn’t have booths this year and company reps weren’t present so unlike past years, there wasn’t a slew of news. The only comic news that really seemed to appear was the fact that Jeff Lemire is doing a Justice League of Canada book. Details are few and far between but it seems that it will be a re-branding of the current Justice League book and will spin out of events in Trinity War and Forever Evil.

But the big buzz wasn’t around comic news or film news it was about the fact that the con had been sold.

Friday morning, a memo circulated amongst vendors informing everyone that Hobby Star had been purchased by Informa, a company that runs events world wide (including some in Canada). When talking to people around the con, many people were surprised. Some were excited about possible changes to the con, while some retailers were concerned. As one retailer put it to me, at the moment, his relationship with the staff at Fan Expo and Hobby Star was a bit personal; they knew his name, they knew his company and through the con, he had made a good amount of money. With the new company coming in, would he go back to just being a booth number? According to the press release, the management staff looks to be staying the same, at least for the time being. But time will tell what changes might be made later.


Fan reaction to the con seems to be mixed. Everyone I talked to at the show generally expressed they were happy with Fan Expo and had a good time. When I got home however, the online community seemed to be split between “it was good” and “it was a disappointment”. For myself, I thought the adding of the second building made a ton of difference. Crowds were still thick but moving and I never wanted to punch anyone. A great improvement over last year. Now, to be fair, I wasn’t on the con floor for most of Saturday. I was over at the hotel doing interviews.  I’ve heard parts of Saturday were a glut of people but overall, I felt that the right changes have been made.

Cosplay covered a wide variety this year. We had Ninja Turtles, a lot of Deadpools, Cyclops, Game of Thrones, gender switching, Sailor Scouts. Last year seemed to be a lot of Deadpool. This year we got a bit of everything and that was really cool. Speaking of which, I got a special shout out to give.

Sunday I ran into two little girls. They were dressed as the animated versions of Shredder and Krang. The costumes were homemade and awesome and the kids were so cute. I went over to talk to their Dad just to make sure it was okay to take a picture (which didn’t come out so well). He was cool with it and the two girls posed for the photo. Then Shredder went over and got something from her Dad and came over and handed me a small printed business card (on standard computer paper) for her and her sister and she said “Remember to like us on Facebook.”

How friggin cute is that?

She’s social networking her homemade cosplay. Well Ladies, I’ll do you one better. I’ve liked you on facebook and I’m posting your link and I propose that my readers check out and like you as well.  Click here and like these little darlings. Next year though, I want to see a Casey Jones.

Special Thanks!

Andrew and I with Garth Ennis at the Avatar Booth.

Special thanks go out to Avatar Press who were nothing but awesome with us even when one of us went a little overtime in an interview (despite the blood and gore of some of their comics, they’re really nice guys at Avatar) and Anchor Bay Entertainment for hooking us up with interviews and being generally awesome. Thank you to all of the comic pros and artist alley inhabitants who put up with our cameras and questions.

And extra special thanks to Jen and Rob for letting me crash on your couch… and if I forgot to flush the toilet, I’m really sorry.

On my way to bed because I’m all geeked out but if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!

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