Recently, when Netflix failed to have a particular show I was looking for, it made a few recommendations, including Mike Tyson’s Mysteries in which the former boxer, his adopted daughter, a nice ghost, and an alcoholic pigeon solve mysteries. At my first stop on the convention show floor at Toronto Comic Con, there was not one, but two t-shirts for Mike Tyson’s Mysteries. Undoubtedly, this was a sign. I didn’t buy the shirt, but clearly both Netflix and the giant t-shirt vendor know what’s best for me.
And so began my Sunday adventures at Toronto Comic Con with my friend Trisha. Trisha and I have been attending Fan Expo‘s various convention offerings since 1998, but this is only the second time she and I have gone as customers: idly wandering the aisles, making random purchases, taking pictures, and chatting it up with artists and vendors alike. Conventions usually mean me working for Fan Expo or helping Trisha sell her art at her booth. It’s exhausting, and we rarely get a break to just hang out (last year, I was working and she was at her booth, and our paths crossed for all of about ten minutes), so we treasure these rare moments when we get to just be regular convention goers. We tend not to get caught up in the celebrity aspect, though we have fond memories of partying with many of them, and we avoid seminars and workshops—I guess you could call us convention snobs. We’ve spent too much time behind the scenes to get swept away with what’s going on in front of the curtains.
Still, there was a lot for us to enjoy on Sunday, the last day of Toronto Comic Con, and it was especially nice that the place was not quite as crowded as it might have been earlier on in the weekend. And it was certainly a much more relaxed vibe than the great big summer convention that infests the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This could almost be called intimate in comparison, though all of the vendors and artists we talked to seemed quite pleased with the turn out. We clearly missed an awesome Saturday night, since Sunday’s word of the day seemed to be “hangover.” Becky Cloonan was even offering unique Hangover Sketches. She and Andy Belanger were also promoting their new book from Image Comics, Southern Cross, which features a Fan Expo exclusive cover for issue one.
Trisha is a staple at the Fan Expo Artist Alley, so she’s befriended many of the other artists over the years, many of whom find it strange to see her on this side of the tables. But she enjoyed finally being able to check out their work, including Alex at Positively Negative Art. We also stopped to chat with Michael Rooth, who is working on a viking horror project with his wife called Widow’s Wake.
Our very own Ardo Omer tasked me to find Hope Nicholson of Bedside Press. After playing a little bit of convention floor Marco Polo, Trisha and I found Hope in the Artist Alley and got to check out her publishing and editing projects, including Nelvana of the Northern Lights in gorgeous hardcover, Brok Windsor, which will debut at this year’s Emerald City Comic Con, and Moonshot, a 200 page collection of short stories from Indigenous creators across North America. Though she couldn’t say much about it, Hope was really excited about a project she’s working on with Margaret Atwood. Can’t wait to find out what it is!
There were a few cosplayers roaming the floors. Some caught our eye, including a LEGO Batman, but we couldn’t seem to get away from this obnoxious young lady. To be clear, I say “obnoxious” with the utmost affection, as she was cosplaying as Navi, the annoying little fairy from Zelda: Ocarina of Time who has been described as a “tactless Tinkerbell.” Like her gaming counterpart, this brilliant cosplayer spent the day yelling “WATCH OUT!” “HEY!” “LISTEN!” and generally being just as helpful as Navi should be. I’m pretty sure she was following us.
We dropped by Comic Book Addiction, and Trisha pointed out that it had been two years since I first found them, hunting for a copy of Princeless. That search resulted in my beloved monthly ladies nights. They’d left my pull list at the store, which turned out to be a good thing, since I’d already failed to resist the Funko temptation and bought four more Pop! toys for my growing collection. Two of them for my daughters though, so that justifies everything. Other things I resisted (and by resist, I mean I have many websites to visit post convention) included a nice steampunk-y skirt to go with my new corset, a Deadpool sword katana (is it me or were there a whole lot more bladed weapons vendors than usual?), and a new tattoo. Because three just isn’t enough and this artist was doing a fantastic job and the buzz of the ink needles was calling to me…
After about three hours and a few more visits with friends and other familiar faces, we called it a day. Trisha and I grew up together and used to play almost every day, along with her twin sister. Now, we live a few hours away from each other, and Fan Expo is one of the few times we get together. At the summer convention, we’ll most likely be busy ships passing in the night, but this spring, we got to just be fans.