Fan Expo Vancouver 2014 is over and I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences. Without further ado:
This was one of the main comic creators that I was looking forward to meeting the most. I got him to sign my trade paperback of the very first volume of Thunderbolts and told him how this was one of the series that got me into comics. He mentioned that people still mention about not seeing that twist coming at the end of that very first issue all those years ago. I also had him sign my copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #100, the very first comic I bought at an actual comic store.
A real nice, down-to-earth guy. His line was super long but I eventually made my way to him. I had him sign an issue of Uncanny X-Men which he coincidentally said was one of his favourite covers he did for Marvel as well as some of his DC work. I stated that I’m looking forward to his next project after Forever Evil, his rumored stint on Wonder Woman, hoping to catch him unaware. He let a sly smile and simply stated that is what the news sites say he is working on but he couldn’t confirm due to his DC confidentiality clause. I replied that I look forward to whatever wondrous project he has in store for us next, walking away thinking that while DC trained him well I still think Wonder Woman is on his docket next.
Kaare AndrewsThis has to be the man I was most impressed with. Here was a guy that was not only giving out free signatures but free headshot drawings as well. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Subsequently his line was also one of the largest for the various comic personalities but that did not deter me as last year I failed to get anything signed by him but this year I was determined. As I waited I got to witness him draw Iron Fist’s flaming fist, the Punisher, the Winter Solider, a Skrull, and Rogue. I was astounded at how not only beautiful each image was but the speed that he was able to crank these out using his brush and ink. Finally reaching him, I was able to snag his autograph on an old issue of Iron Fist and his first issue of his Iron Fist: The Living Weapon series. I complimented him on his artistic ability, how he was like a machine with those free commissions, and how much I enjoyed his debut Iron Fist issue. Maybe next year, if he comes back, I’ll have a blank comic cover that he could illustrate for me?
Mike Del Mundo When I approached Mr. Del Mundo the first thing that grabbed me was the huge poster showcasing the cover from the first issue of his new series Elektra. It was drop-dead gorgeous and I told him such. He mentioned that the Fan Expo tried to get him to do a convention exclusive cover but due to the issue not coming out until the following week it couldn’t happen. I had him sign some other covers of his including an issue of the Superior Foes of Spider-Man and then took my leave but not before telling him that he inspired me to pick up Elektra for myself.
Mike McKoneI told him how much I loved Exiles and how it was one of the series that started my comic book habit. He replied with a laugh that he didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I produced my copy of the very first issue of Exiles to have him sign much to my delight. Then I followed it up with getting him to sign one of my top new series from recent memory, the very first issue of Avengers Academy. I told him I was excited for the debut of his Justice League United and that it was unfortunate that the issue was being released the following week or else I would have most assuredly gotten him to sign that one as well.
Tony MooreTony Moore was the only comic creator actually charging money for his signature, $5 a pop. I brought some comics for him to sign but after a quick reflection I didn’t really own anything of his that would be worthy of shelling our $5. However, I did pick up my find of the Expo, a limited edition print where Moore depicted all the various celebrities that were in attendance that year some as zombies, some as normal humans fighting off the zombie horde, duking it out around the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch. So awesome to see Stephen Amell, Lauren Cohan, Keith Urban, and others battle zombies including zombie Tron and zombie Draco Malfoy while Lex Luthor freaks out in the background.
Stephen Sadowski/Shane RooksI got a Green Hornet cover signed by the duo since Sadowski drew it and Rooks coloured it. I also had Sadowski sign his fill-in issue of Coffin Hill and asked him if he thought he’d back for a fill-in again. He replied that he didn’t know but it looked like he may be getting an ongoing series from the Vertigo line in the future. Before I left I purchased a fantastic Green Arrow print from Rooks.
Philip TanI got a few of his various DC Comics signed but what I was really excited about was the fabulous pieces of art I purchased from him, one of Harley Quinn and the other featuring one of my favourite DC heroines and a character that I rarely see done at conventions, Star Girl.
Ed BrissonI got his two issues of Secret Avengers that he wrote signed but the real highlight was some insight into how Fan Expo Vancouver was handling one of their panels: there was going to be a panel with the stars of Image Comics but they didn’t inform the creators who were going to be involved until 30 minutes before it was going to take place. Brisson and I had a good laugh about that one.
I met him initially last Free Comic Book Day and really dug his work, purchasing an art piece of Daredevil and Hawkeye. Little did I know that what drew me to his Daredevil would lead to him doing a fill-in issue for Waid’s latest volume (Issue #33) which I of course got signed. I mentioned how much I enjoyed his work and hoped that he’d be back on the character. He replied that he had a really good relationship with then Daredevil Editor Steve Wacker but since he’s moved onto another division at Marvel that it is almost like going back to square one despite the good word from Waid. I wished him the best of luck and purchased a Batman print. Perhaps DC is in his future?
I had the two greatest Doctor Who comics I’ve ever read (The Doctor & The Nurse – Part 1 &2) signed by the man who wrote them. I told him how awesome I thought they were and he mentioned that he felt that volume of Doctor Who really flew under everyone’s radar. Being ever the salesman he also talked me into purchasing his latest work, Witch Doctor.
Clayton CrainGetting to meet Clayton Crain was a real treat for me as I’m a big fan of his work and he was the first artist I went to in order to secure some signatures. I brought the first issue of his X-Force run, Carnage #1, and a cover from his time on Sensational Spider-Man, a cover that I later learned was his favourite from his entire time on the book. I professed my admiration for his work and picked up a Green Arrow print from him before taking my leave.
Stephen PlattAs I was waiting for Kaare Andrews, I spent a good deal of time in front of Stephen Platt’s table. Now I didn’t own a single thing from the man but he was a really great guy. The various fans waiting in line with me regaled him with facts about our “funny” Canadian money, he opened up about his various commissions he had on tap including showing us a whole book of ones waiting for fans to pick up, he told us a story about how one time a fan paid for half the commission and then just disappeared (he still has it to this very day, waiting for the fan to resurface), and he also dropped the info that he is going to be working on production design for the sequel to Tron: Legacy. He really helped make the time pass and if he ever returns to comics I’ll be sure to pick up whatever he’s working on just because of how nice he was.
The Sketch DuelAt the end of the day Clayton Crain and Stephen Platt engaged in a sketch duel against one another, a duel that would see two lucky fans win their masterpieces. It was eventually decided that they would draw the villainous Thanos which led to one humorous exchange where neither man could quite remember the details leading to one fan bringing up their cell phone for reference. As the two worked tirelessly on their creations the fans got to ask them questions as well with Crain doing a lot of the talking early on. We learned about their creative process, what book they’d like to be on (Crain replied whatever one sells the most to a chorus of chuckles), hardest character to draw (Thanos they both replied to a chorus of laughs), famous comic run-ins, weird fan requests, tips and tricks, and a whole plethora of other subjects. In the end their creations were unveiled with Crain’s simply blowing me away. An excellent way to end the evening!
While getting to meet and greet the various comic creators was phenomenal, another big event I was looking forward to was seeing Stephen Amell and Manu Bennett otherwise known as Oliver Queen and Slade Wilson from CW’s hit TV series Arrow. My quest to take in all things Arrow led me to acquiring the aforementioned prints from Crain and Rooks along with a Fan Expo exclusive Arrow T-Shirt but one event was totally unexpected and came down to really great timing.
As I was lining up for David Finch, the line moving very slowly, I overheard a fan ask Finch where the character was in the book. I saw the book was Forever Evil and that the character the fan was looking for was Deathstroke. I looked up to see who the fan was just I time to hear that iconic voice of Manu Bennett himself. There he was, standing two people in front of me! Finch told him that Bennett’s portrayal of Slade was creating a rejuvenated interest in the character and Manu thanked him for the compliment. He looked around Finch’s table and eventually narrowed in on a gorgeous pencil drawing of Batman. Finch gave him the print free of charge (which I later bought for myself) and they posed together with it as Manu’s friend took a picture. Manu Bennet, not only an awesome guy, not only a great actor, but also a comic fan. Can he possibly get any better than that? I’m crossing my fingers that he stays around for Arrow Season 3.
With my brush with villainy out of the way, I was riding on a high especially after haven just come from the Stephen Amell panel. Originally it was going to take place on Friday (a day that I wasn’t going to be attending) but he switched it to Saturday about one week before the Expo started probably because the last day of filming Arrow was taking place Friday night. Now I could relate to you what it was like, how personable and funny he was but an advantageous individual actually filmed the entire panel so without further ado here it is:
Stephen Amell Fan Expo Vancouver 2014 Panel Part #1
Stephen Amell Fan Expo Vancouver 2014 Panel Part #2
Stephen Amell Fan Expo Vancouver 2014 Panel Part #3
And not to be left out, here’s some highlights from Manu Bennett’s Panel the next day:
Finally, my Arrow journey was complete when I got to meet Stephen during the Photo Op alongside my father. Stephen commented that he liked my shirt (it was one of my Arrow shirts that I owed since the first season), we shook hands, and then he put his arm over my and my father’s shoulders and flashed that perfect star smile. The camera took its picture before we said our goodbyes and the next fan made her way onto the scene. It’s a moment with my dad that I can look back on and treasure forever and the picture can rest beside the one we took with Stan Lee last year on our mantle place.
That’s it for this year! I had a highly enjoyable time and have to congratulation the organizers of Fan Expo Vancouver for getting a better handle on the lines and the layout. I got to meet some great talent and witness some real cool moments. Maybe next year, the entire cast of Arrow will show up? I can dream can’t I? Until 2015…’Nuff Said!