The Comics Pimp – Fan Expo Survival Guide
Canada’s biggest comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, and all around geek-heaven convention is almost upon us. For four days starting August 25th, Fan Expo Canada (www.fanexpocanada.com) opens its doors in Toronto once again, presenting some of the top creators in the comics industry. Having survived last year’s convention, I thought it might be fun to give you a few tips on making the con-going experience an enjoyable one.
Tip #1: Get ready for lineups. Everyone hates to wait in line for hours just to get a signature, or even just to get inside the Metro Convention Centre. If you want to have enough time and energy to get everything done in one day, make sure you bring water and snacks so you don’t have to leave the line just to get something to eat. Also, the selection of food inside the convention centre is less than stellar, so you might want to get a good meal before attending.
Tip #2: Be respectful of creators and other attendees. If you want a signature from a writer, artist or celebrity you’ve always admired, try not to hog the time you have with that person. Remember that you’re not the only person waiting to get an autograph or speak to a creator. Be reasonable and don’t bring a giant stack of comics or posters to sign. This is especially true if it’s someone who does not charge for autographs. I mention this because some attendees (particularly television personalities) charge a fee for each signature.
Tip #3: Shop Around. If you’re looking for that one issue of Captain America’s original run, you’re likely to find it in a place like the Fan Expo. There are so many vendors that bring thousands of comics, and you’re likely to find what you’re seeking. Before dropping a wad of cash, make sure you have a look at other vendors and compare prices. Even if the vendors’ tables are side by side, I’ve noticed big price discrepancies for the same product. And if you still can’t find what you want at a reasonable price, it doesn’t hurt to haggle a bit. This is especially true on the last day of the convention. Retailers are likely to want to get rid of their stock, rather than have to pack everything again.
Tip #4: Bring cash. Many vendors don’t take credit cards or even accept debit cards for payment. You’re also better off taking all the cash you’ll need before going into the convention centre. The cash machines inside the hall charge extra fees for each withdrawal. Why pay more than you need? Chances are you’ll blow your budget anyway.
Tip #5: Have fun! Last year’s convention was great. I was fortunate to meet some creators I’ve admired for years. As long as you show respect and kindness to everyone you meet, you’re bound to have a great time.