Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fan Expo Vancouver 2013

I had the pleasure of attending the premiere fan convention on Canada's West Coast: Fan Expo Vancouver, which took place the weekend of April 20/21. The organizers for this event, Fan Expo Canada, also run Toronto ComiCon, as well as Fan Expo Toronto. The good news is that because the Vancouver event was so successful, they've decided to expand it to three days next year! The bad news: this convention isn't yet as author-friendly as it could be.

We had the same eyes...
Don't get me wrong--Fan Expo Canada treats their guests very well; they offer free tables to qualifying authors, artists, or any other creative types working in horror/sci-fi and related genres. Once you've been accepted as a guest, you get listed on their website--which is great publicity. Their staff and volunteers are friendly and professional; top-notch all the way. But there's room for improvement when it comes to the placement of authors.

Part of the Un-Dead TV legion!
Unfortunately, since there's (comparatively) so few of us there, I got the feeling that we were being used to fill up empty pockets of table space. Although I was lucky enough to sit beside another author, Tyner Gillies, we were placed amidst a row of graphic artists--while other authors were scattered a row or two behind us. (Ideally, we'd have all be situated together, along one row.) Let's face it: not a lot of people come to these conventions to buy a book; I never used to. When I attended as a fan, I was very willing to throw my money at comics, artwork, photo ops, toys--but rarely books. (This coming from someone who continues to buy books, even though my "to read" stack is taller than me, and never seems to decrease in size.) Every author I spoke to had the same response: too bad we all weren't placed together, as it would have given us better exposure. They have an "artists alley," so why not an "author alley"?

Awesome HELLSING costume
Aside from this one aspect, being part of Fan Expo Vancouver was an amazing experience, especially since I got the chance to meet dozens of vampire/horror fans. My hope for the future of vampire storytelling was renewed each time I heard someone say, "I love vampires--just not the sparkly kind!" Strangely enough, every one I chatted with seemed to feel this way. I personally believe there's a serious backlash coming against the current trend of romantic, lovey-dovey bloodsuckers; you know, the ones that seem to have a strong desire to return to high school and date teenagers.

Another undead visitor
But I digress--back to the weekend! I was very happy to see three excellent vampire costumes pass by, especially since I saw no bloodsuckers at the Toronto ComiCon last month. I was also pleasantly surprised to see fewer zombies--another trend that will hopefully die down. (Let's face it, zombies have surpassed vampires as the monster du jour, however, the market has become over-saturated with them.) There were some interesting celebrity guests in attendance, and I almost stood in line for an autographed picture of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (who appeared as her mortal alter-ego, Cassandra Peterson). But, all these years later, I'm still not happy with what was done to poor Maila Nurmi, and how her Vampira character essentially morphed into Elvira.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. But had I not made it a working holiday, I doubt I would have travelled across the country to attend. Still, everyone there seemed to quite enjoy the convention, and I expect even bigger and better things for them to see and do next year.

Here are a few more fans and fiends from Fan Expo Vancouver 2013.



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