Nerd Power at Fan Expo ’08


            Near the end of the summer, I got a Facebook message from the Graffiti 08-09 group telling us to write about any unique experiences we’ve had over the past two months. As far as eye-opening experiences go, the most I’ve discovered about the world over the summer was which songs on my iPod are good for jogging, which ones are good for sprinting, and which ones just plain suck. But then I remembered that in less than half a week I’d be spending almost three full days at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. What could be going on at the Convention Center that would make me want to spend an entire three days there? Oh, just the biggest gathering of nerds in Canada.

            That’s right! The Fan Expo Canada 2008! Gaming nerds, comic book nerds, anime nerds, sci-fi nerds, and even horror nerds gather for a three-day celebration of all the things they love most. This five-genre convention held once a year in down-town Toronto is known for being the biggest event of its kind in our country.

            This year’s Expo was potentially one of the best yet. The number of people that showed up was definitely larger than any before. One of the many reasons why such massive crowds come to the Fan Expo is because the guest lineup is always excellent. This year’s list was impressive. Illustrators from both DC Comics and Marvel Studios,  Sean Astin (Sam from Lord of the Rings), film director Wes Craven (famous for Nightmare on Elm Street and the creator of Freddy Krueger), and Johnny Yong Bosch (voice actor of Ichigo from the hit anime Bleach) were all on the extensive list of stars that were present for the three-day convention.

            But awesome guests are not the only thing there is to this event. You may be asking yourself right now “What else could there be at a convention apart from the merchandise and the celebrities?” Quite honestly, there’s a lot more. Yes, there are people who come to these sorts of things to get the one collector’s item they’ve needed since last year, or to meet William Shatner. But in truth, there is a lot more to the Fan Expo than just celebrities and shopping.

            One of the best things to do at a convention is attend screenings of shows and movies you love, or ones that you’re interested in but never had a chance to watch. It’s a great way to end a day at the con after walking around the dealer’s room for hours and hours. Apart from screenings, I also love going to the panels and workshops. A panel is pretty much a Q&A session with one or more of the guests at the con. Workshops, contests and tournaments are also fun to watch and take part in. One of the best contests is probably Anime Name That Tune, a game where the players have to guess which anime a song being played is from.

            But the events and games are still not the greatest things about conventions such as the Fan Expo. The people there are what make it fun and exciting. There is really nothing better than meeting someone who loves all the same nerdy stuff you do. If you’re standing in a line, chances are that you will find a new friend fast. Besides, the more people you meet the more fun you’re going to have. The more the merrier, right? Right.

            So conventions aren’t just for geeky hermits. There is a lot more to them than just obsessing over your favourite sci-fi show or showing off your extensive Star Trek knowledge. They’re about having a good time, making new friends, and being a dork. Whether it’s during games and tournaments or in a hundred-person line up, you’re sure to have fun no matter where you are or who you’re with, as long as you’re there for the love of nerdiness.