Friday, September 08, 2017

Fan Expo Toronto 2017

This year at Fan Expo in Toronto was an overall better experience than others of recent memory, despite having to chip in for the cost to be there. Traditionally, the Horror Writers Association covered the cost of the booth in order to promote its members and the organization, but due to recent budget constraints, they declined to sponsor the booth this year--at least in full. They still contributed as one of our sponsors, which was great, because it helped offset the cost for the half-dozen or so authors who chipped in to cover the remainder of the booth.

For me, the highlight of the weekend was moderating two panel discussions. First up was So You Want to Be a Horror Writer?, which featured fellow members of HWA including Brian F. H. Clement, Sèphera Girón, Nancy Kilpatrick, and Lou Rera. The panel was held at 6 p.m. on Friday, which was the first full day of Fan Expo, and it was well-attended. By all accounts it was a solid presentation, and hopefully inspired those in the audience to follow their interests in becoming a horror writer--even though we didn't sugar-coat the fact that it's a tough business to crack!

The next panel I moderated was held at 1:15 p.m. the following day, on Saturday, and titled From Frankenstein to Rocky Horror. Myself and panelists Alessia Giacomi, Sèphera Girón, Nancy Kilpatrick, and Kaz Lefave discussed Mary Shelley's novel, as well as its major themes and impact on popular culture. We also chatted about our favourite adaptations, as well as other modern interpretations and stories that feature a take on the original themes. The authors also discussed pieces of the Frankenstein mythos that have been stitched into their own work.

Despite having to contribute to the booth, I spent most of the weekend away from it! When I attend Fan Expo, it's still primarily as a fan, so selling books is not my priority. Nevertheless, I feel it's very important to have an official presence there in order to make contacts in the writing biz and catch up with convention friends that I only see a couple of times a year. Now that I've downsized, I'm getting much better at not breaking the bank in order to buy things that are wants, not needs. But I still come away with at least one or two cool things to remember the weekend by, on top of a stack of new horror movies of course (most of which are always Canadian)!

From Frankenstein to Rocky Horror panel
On Sunday I attended the Heroes of the Home Front panel, which was moderated by Ivan Kocmarek and featured Gerald Lazare, the last surviving artist from the Bell Features roster during Canada's wartime comic boon. Mr Lazare related some great stories from his career as a cartoonist--which ran for four years beginning when he was just 15! He then transitioned to work as an illustrator and then moved to fine art, and still paints to this day. After the panel, I also had the opportunity to meet Gerry, and have him sign a reproduction of one of his creations, Air Woman.

Gerald Lazare

Meeting Gerald Lazare after his panel discussion on Sunday

This panel also kicked off Ivan's Kickstarter for his new book, also titled Heroes of the Home Front, of which I was happy to contribute. So much of this era of Canada's comic book history is forgotten, and Ivan's book will certainly bring it some much-needed attention.

Here are a few more photos from the weekend, and I've posted many more on my Facebook page, My Bloody Obsession. Be sure to check it out, and give it a like!

Showcasing my own contribution to popular culture at Fan Expo

Columbia and Dr Frankenfurter!

There was also a vintage arcade featuring a lot of Pac-goodness!


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