Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jason Vs. The Toronto: Prelude

This afternoon, there was an earthquake in central Virginia. The tremor hit 5.9 on the Richter Scale, and could actually be felt in New York, a major city that isn't used to quakes. How did I react? I didn't I left home, went to Walgreens, picked up a box of chocolate, drove to the nursing home, signed in, walked up a flight of stairs, met my grandfather, and then I heard about the quake at 2 p.m. At no point did I feel anything was up. Neither did Grandpa. Some of the residents and workers, however, did feel it, as well as my mother working in Manhattan.

Why am I talking about this? Tomorrow, I am flying out to Toronto for my annual major comic book convention trip, and I reckon that I lucked into getting the heck out of Dodge at exactly the right time. May that last sentence not bite me in the ass in the next six days.

Granted, going to Fan Expo Canada wasn't my first choice. After getting a round-trip airline voucher for my birthday, I set out to hit Geek Mecca: Comic-Con International in San Diego. Or is it San Diego Comic-Con? Anyway, getting into the show has gotten even more problematic since I last went there in 2009. Four day passes with the Wednesday "Preview Night" sold out at the convention in the previous year, so I tried to get the Thursday-Sunday package, and that ended with me staying home on a Saturday, hitting F5 over and over, trying my damnedest to get through the online traffic. Needless to say, it didn't work. It was probably for the best, because last time, my batteries died out around Saturday, and I would up wandering the aisles like a zombie on Sunday.

What were my other options? I could go back to Chicago for C2E2 for the second year in a row, but that was in March . . . too early in the year for my tastes. That also disqualified WonderCon in San Francisco, hosted by the CCI guys. I went to HeroesCon in Charlotte back in 2008, but I didn't get to do much in the city. Also, while the con strikes a good balance between big names and indie talent, it was too mellow for my tastes. Wizard has several cons scattered all over the country, including one in Chicago in August . . . but it's become more about popular media and less about comics and comic talent. The logical choice? Fan Expo.

I've been there twice. The first time, I stayed with my friend Stephen in the suburbs and wound up having a good time at the con and doing the tourism thing. I came back two years later, but I didn't do any real sightseeing. The big kicker that year came on the final day, where it dawned on me that I lost my sketchbook. A short time later, I realized that I lost my camcorder as well. I was a broken mess getting from the Metro Convention Centre back to my hotel room. I wound up getting my sketchbook back about a week later . . . lucky for me, I put my e-mail address there. I never did get my camcorder back, but that was a small price I was willing to pay.

Here's the gameplan: I'll be flying out tomorrow around 10 a.m. Sadly, that means getting up before 6 a.m. and getting car service around 6:30, since international flights require getting to the airport three hours in advance. Getting to Toronto early means playing tourist for a bit, followed by taking in a Blue Jays game. Before the con starts on Thursday (it's been extended by a day this year), I'll see some more stuff. I don't have any set schedule . . . I'm going to make it up as I go along, and I should have fun along the way. And I'll be going over the adventure here as well. Here's hoping I keep all of my stuff where I can find it this time around.

PS: Did I mention I'm wrapping this up around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday? Looks like I'm going to see if a terminal is a good place to catch a few z's.

Adventures In Toronto 2005

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four & Conclusion

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