FanExpo 2017 Wrap-Up

For some reason, I always seem to wait until I have the energy of an opiate-addled sloth to get around to these posts.

By my watch, it's nearly 1 am on Friday, September 8th, a full eight days after FanExpo 2017 began. As ever, it came and went like some sort of pop-culture maelstrom, replete with tens of thousands of metaphorical storm chasers descending upon the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the hopes of basking in the four days of near-chaos that always ensue, and hundreds of celebrities, industry pros, and Artist Alley creators (or artisanerds) looking to offer their own piece of the action to those looking for some.

As with last year, Deanna and I shared a table in Artist Alley with A.A. Jankiewicz, author of the Q-16 books, personal friend, and all-around good egg. Much like our previous forays with this convention, our days were largely relegated to trying to catch the eyes of passersby, in the hopes that we might invoke the Vaudevillian Gods of old, pitching our wares to potential readers. Sometimes it worked, more often than not it didn't. It's a fact of this convention that I came to grasp in or about two years ago: FanExpo, due to its size and the breadth of modern fandom, is not heavily populated by readers. That said, our table was, all in all, far from bereft of people who looked excitedly as they saw that there were authors, selling books. Not all nerds are readers, but most readers (especially genre-heavy readers) are nerds, and often it felt like an errant sock finding its mate amid piles of laundry. We even had a few return readers swing by to pick up Collapse and Lord of the Unfinished Tower, which is always a great feeling.

For her part, Deanna decided to try and branch out from art prints to something a bit more functional. This year she tried a limited run of tote bags featuring some of her original artwork, and suffice it to say we were all pleasantly surprised by the result, so much so that Deanna is now excitedly designing a number of items, and between you and me, expect a Etsy store in the near future.

I seized the opportunity on the Friday to get a meet and greet and photo op with the inimitable nerd icon Felicia Day. I have never really been one for such things, but the fact of the matter is that Felicia's once-production company Geek and Sundry, and by proxy Felicia herself, were hugely influential for me getting serious with writing, and I wanted to tell her as much. I also wanted to give her a copy of Summerlark, and a copy of Dragon for her daughter. I won't bloviate further past saying that she is simply a genuinely lovely person, and that it was two-hundred-percent worth the time spent shuffling through the crowded convention centre and waiting in line.

The evenings after the con had closed for the night were, for the most part, quiet nights filled with Deanna and I procrastinating on getting caught up on Game of Thrones. The exception to this was Saturday night, in which Deanna, myself, Agnes, and her boyfriend Chris were joined by the inimitable Jason Wiseman, Peter Chiykowski, David Daneman, and nearly a dozen other creative professionals in what I can only describe as the most sober bar crawl imaginable. The long and short of it is that the Steamwhistle Brewery does not, contrary to my assumptions, have a restaurant therein, the Amsterdam Brewery is a lost cause during FanExpo for any party larger than two, and it you want some of the best fries in Toronto and a shot called the Burt Reynolds, look up a little place called The Pint. It was there that our quest ended, our merriment found root, and conversations got crazy enough that the DJ started to play the music louder. 13/10, h*ckin' great time with h*ckin' great people.

The Sunday, as it always is, was bittersweet. The feeling was all the more amplified, however, by the fact that Deanna and I won't be there next year. With our wedding at the end of August 2018, FanExpo is going to coincide with our honeymoon, and despite our mutual adoration of the convention and the friends we've made over the years, the choice was a bit of a no-brainer. Weddings are hectic business, and so our conventions schedule for 2018 is pretty well up-in-the-air.

And so with that I bid farewell to this, my fourth convention season as a professional. A huge thanks again to Agnes, to the organizers, and to each and every person who stopped by, even just to take a look. See you all in 2019.