I consider myself a comic geek, although at the age of 35, I have to curb by buying habits to not look like a total asshole. I have a baby and a wife, so instead of buying the Punisher first appearance, Spiderman Issue #129, I’ll make a home repair or maybe throw some money in my baby daughters starter account. But on occasion, I do pick up a few issues still hear and there. I also love sci-fi and Doctor Who. With being a fan of all these things, one would think that I must attend geek festivals and cons, left and right. I actually don’t. At the end of August, I will be heading up to Toronto for “Fan Expo”, the biggest event I will have attended, and also, only the second.
My first experience at one of these things was at the Niagara Falls Comic-con. I was pretty excited to go to this event. There was going to be a few guests that I found interesting, one being Mic Foley (whom I’ve always been a huge fan of) and Cory Feldman (that’s right, Corey Feldman.) I have gone to see Foley at other wrestling related appearances, so I wasn’t too excited to see him, but it would have been cool to get my “Stand By Me” DVD signed by Corey Feldman. We arrived on time to this event, where we were surrounded by people in costumes in the parking lot. It was neat to see. We then approached the Niagara Falls Convention Center only to find ourselves standing in a gigantic line because the building was at capacity. This is an absurd notion if you are selling tickets to something. I was pretty annoyed from the start. After about an hour, we found ourselves close to the entrance. Anytime now! All of a sudden, flocks of nerds started running out of the line at full speed to the other side of the building. We stood there wondering what had just happened, only caring slightly as we felt that at any moment, we would be inside. One of the door guys casually came out and said, “Oh hey guys, the line has moved to the other side. We are closing this entrance.”
Looking across the parking lot at the other side of the building, the new line appeared…..even bigger than it was before. After another hour of standing around, we had finally made it inside.
What to do first!? A casual stroll was in order to browse the vendors, see some people, etc. So much is for sale at these things! I started to see the celebrities set up their tables, and the lines started to form to see them. Corey Feldman’s line was huge. I immediately gave up on that, and headed over to Foley’s line. It was reasonable, and I had a copy of his first fictional book, “Tatum Brown” that I wanted to get signed. I was in line for about 30 minutes, when I was told that it was about $80.00 to get this signed (I could be off a little. but by no more than 10 or 15 bucks.) Cash only. Fucking Cash only. What if you wanted to meet 2 people and buy some comics. You’re supposed to stroll around with hundreds of dollars cash in your pocket like “Joe Bucks?” It’s insane! At this point, I’m determined to accomplish something. The person behind me offered to hold my place in line so that I could go to the ATM machine around the corner. I stood there, in line, again….waiting for my turn at the ATM. The guy in front of me looked as though someone he knew had just died. Then he filled me in. The ATM was out of money. The ATM….was out of money…..
So I quit. I grabbed the $20.00 in my pocket, bought a Doctor Who shirt and left that shit-hole, never intending on going back for future events.
Toronto Fan Expo, is supposed to be the real deal. Huge lineup of guests, one being Patrick Stewart whom I would love to meet. According to the Internet, the event drew 100,000 people last year. At the moment, this very moment, I am excited. I’m sure it will remain that way, up until I realize that Patrick Stewart will want an absurd amount of money, or I get stuck in some gigantic line…..or the ATM runs out of money. Regardless, I will keep my head up…
I’ll at least walk out with a T-Shirt.