Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fan Expo Canada 2013

I know its been a while since I've written on WGTB, but in my experience summer is prone to either a deluge of blog writing or very little. So to make up for the recent drought, I have a bunch of articles coming soon. But in the meanwhile, here are some choice photographs from Fan Expo Canada 2013 (August 22-25). Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the Friday of the four day show, but these pics should give you a sense of how Canada's largest fan and comics convention fared. It was pretty good, and certainly biggest and busiest I've seen yet.   

As usual, the Whovians and Deleks are out in force! 
As were the Trekkies as this convention featured some prominent Star Trek cast members. Here's the legendary George Takai signing autographs.
This year's Fan Expo was the first to use both halls of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Early attendance figures put it at over 100,000 people.
Sons of Anarchy was featured prominently this year and anecdotal t-shirt evidence says the fanbase is growing. Here's a SOA-themed Harley-Davidson.
Dark Horse brought a booth. Unfortunately DC and Marvel did not.

And Marvel heard about this perceived slight at the Marvel: Infinity panel. Left to right: An unidentified fan, Marvel SVP, Publishing Tom Brevoort, editor Ellie Pyle and creators Stuart & Kathryn Immonen. Highlights of this panel included: 
1) Re: the Ultimate universe: We must continue to expect the unexpected. But there is no confirmed information about Hunger and any Ultimate characters coming over to Earth-616.

2) Brian Michael Bendis is heavily involved in the upcoming X-Men: Battle of the Atom crossover, so we can expect something tying that arch to the recently completed Age of Ultron.

3) There may be more New Universe characters coming to Earth-616. This shouldn't surprise anyone after Jonathan Hickman's use of Star Brand in Avengers. 

Friday also featured a great panel with Walt and Louise Simonson. Seen here are an unknown tech-guy and host (left), Walt (middle) and Louise (right). It was fun hearing about the creation of Beta Ray Bill, Walt's upcoming creator-owned work with IDW, writing the Star Wars comics of the early 80s and why he changed Warren Worthington III in X-Factor. Louise offered some great stories about working with Walt and how the DC editorial team came up with the idea to kill Superman in the early 1990s.  
After the Simonson panel, there was another with the always engaging Neil Adams. Here, Adams spilled the beans about the Silver Age with stores about the Comics Code, the famous Green Lantern/Green Arrow issue involving a drug-using Speedy, and how he didn't get to finish The Kree/Skull War to his satisfaction.
Avatar Comics had a great display booth.
The Toronto Lego Users Group had a presence with a Death Star trench display and...
...a Lego Serenity from Firefly. I asked if any glue was involved and the host (left) said no.  
The Batmobile circa 1989. Looks like a homebuilt, but it's still very cool. 
80s icon KITT from Knight Rider 
The cockpit of KITT. How would one do a U-turn in that thing?  
George Takei talks about working on the set of Star Trek, past convention practical jokes, his use of social media and a musical he co-wrote called Allegiance. It's about the experience of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. He's such an engaging speaker!
While fellow Star Trek alum Nichelle Nichols spoke about her family history, her father's early support and encouragement and being one of the first  African-American women on network television.
And finally Ian McDiarmid a.k.a. the Emperor from the Star Wars universe spoke about his casting break as the Emperor in 1982, working on the subsequent trilogy as Palpatine and what it's like being a pop culture icon. The Scotsman was great and he even did that evil voice!

All in all it was a great day spent, and another successful FanExpo Canada. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Interested in Canadian comics? Check out Lost Heroes: the Untold Story of Canadian Superheroes

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm Canadian and proud of it! In fact, using Wolverine, Alpha Flight or even Canadian-born Joe Shuster to talk about all aspects of my country is a true joy of mine.  
Did you know that the Canadian equivalent to the Eisners are called the Shusters? Here's the 2007 logo -- all credit to the Joe Shuster Awards.
But the history of comics in Canada is so much more than Logan or Joe Shuster's birth city. Indeed, Canada has had some great comic titles and some truly interesting and inspiring comic book characters. 

Which is why I'd like to bring to your attention Lost Heroes: The Untold Story of Canadian Superheros, a feature-length documentary currently in post-production. Scheduled to air on Super Channel in late 2013, Lost Heroes looks at all those Canadians who have dawned a cape, cowl or helmet through the course of comics. It promises to be a real treat for anyone interested in the history our medium and I encourage everyone interested to keep an eye out for it. I have a friend currently working as a Researcher on the project and she promises me it will be amazing.