Credit: Adnan M. | Shot from Fan Expo 2014

Maximize Your Fan Expo 2016 Experience

The Arts Guild team will be returning to cover Fan Expo Canada for its fifth year, and its super exciting! Over the years, we’ve published thousands of photos, dozens of articles on our experiences, and even crafted a couple of pieces on how to get ready for the expo. Whether it is in the format of our Survival Guide or our advice piece last year, we love making sure that fans understand what they are getting into and enjoy their entire experience.

This year, we wanted to do something different. We want to guide you to experience things that you may not otherwise get an opportunity to experience throughout the year. Just to be clear, we are not adding celebrity guests to this list because everyone wants to meet folks like Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson. That is a limited opportunity that no one wants to pass up. This article will highlight other things that myself and the team at TAG have come to enjoy about the expo, and the value it gives to attendees.

#1: Comics, Comics, Comics!!

This point is not for the hardcore comic folks, obviously. This is more so for the folks who really got into the comic genre via the films and TV shows, love the individual characters, but may not have really invested into learning about the origins of those characters (or stories) within their respective comics. As someone who has loved the superhero genre for as long as I can remember, I never really put much focus on the comics and their variations. A few Fan Expo’s ago, I sat down with Norm of Four Color Collectables. He took out time – even with customers around! – to give me a couple of good places to start reading comics, introduced me to the one-story comics (which are awesome!), and even shared a quick history lesson on different storylines and editions. It truly was insightful, and I had much more appreciation for comics and their impact on the whole expo experience. Norm will be back this Fan Expo, so do visit his booth and get his insights. He is super knowledgeable and a down-to-earth dude who’ll make some good recommendations on which comics to start out with.

#2: Exhibitor Booths

Beyond comic sellers and merchandise stalls, a whole bunch of exhibitors actually attend Fan Expo with expo exclusives, announce products that won’t be out for a while, and even demo these products live at the expo. Ubisoft, for example, will have a number of games this year on showcase, For Honor being one of the most talked about games. The game itself is not out until next year, but expo attendees will have a chance to play the game live at Fan Expo. That gives gamers a chance to try the game out before dropping big money on buying it on opening day. As a gamer myself, I find that invaluable as it gives you a chance to justify your purchase, especially when it is $70-80.

#3: Cosplay Feedback

Each year, we dedicate a good chunk of our time to photographing cosplayers. People really put in a lot of effort in re-creating their favourite characters in extreme detail, and we just want to acknowledge that by showcasing their work in our galleries. One thing that we haven’t seen people do is actually get cosplay feedback. For those who take their cosplaying seriously each and every year, it is a good opportunity to get feedback from professional cosplayers such as the guests who are attending. Meeting them, taking photos, and all that is all great, but getting feedback is a useful way for you to further refine your art. Actually attend individual sessions and panel events with various cosplayer guests to learn more about their art, and ask for some tips that they can provide. Utilize the Q&A’s to ask those important questions.

Here is a tentative list (from the draft schedule) of some of the cosplayer events:

  • Lee Scion – Thursday 5:00PM – Room 713
  • Ivy Doomkitty – Friday 11:00AM – Room 206
  • Meg Turney – Friday 3:30PM – Room 206
  • Yaya Han – Friday 5:00PM – Room 206
  • Cosplayer Panel on Designs – Friday 6:15PM – Room 703
  • Alodia Gosiengfiao – Saturday 1:15PM – Room 206
  • Cosplay Competitions with Yaya Han – Saturday 6:00PM – Room 713
  • Cosplay History with Yaya Han – Sunday 11:15AM – Room 715

Make sure you check the official schedule when they publish it HERE.

Fan Expo is a very exciting time of year for all those enthusiasts who love everything comics, sci-fi and more. You are paying good money to attend a pretty well-organized event. It’s important to make the most out of your purchase, while still enjoying yourself. There is a lot more you can do than just the above. Artists can get feedback from other artists, you can stock-up on collectibles by negotiating with dealers, and you can even bring a group of friends out and have a rocking day. Whatever you do, make sure you plan your days and read our previously published Survival Guides to make sure you have everything from food to batteries to make your day go as smooth as possible.

We’ll be around for most of the weekend. If you are a cosplayer, follow us on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or all of the above to make sure you catch one of cosplayer galleries. Who knows, maybe you’ll be in it? 🙂

Happy Fan Expo planning folks!