As a first time exhibitor at Fan Expo, I was pleasantly surprised. Fascinated by all the stories told by my co-workers, I actually could not wait to experience it in person. For weeks I heard nothing but the magnitude of this event and every day I grew more and more thrilled to witness it firsthand. With very few hours of sleep, I woke up Sunday morning at six thirty, packed my bags and headed out to meet with Nicole. After a few hours of travel time, we finally arrive at the Metro Convention center. I remember walking down the street to a mass of excited spectators waiting in line for their chance to meet their favorite celebrities and purchase endless amounts of collectible goods. Going down the elevator to the main hall, I can only describe my feelings with one word: “pumped” – I sense the calm before the storm as I open the doors. The silence of vendors preparing their booths makes me tense as I know this is only the beginning of what could be the busiest and most hectic day they have gone through thus far.
Nine thirty rolls by; I take the liberty of walking around before the madness occurs. I see life size statues of superheroes entirely constructed from Lego pieces, all suitably arranged to look nearly perfect. I see video game enthusiasts hooking up their systems, preparing a matted floor for a Dance Dance Revolution party. I even see a shop displaying weaponry, from swords to armor, Katanas and daggers. As Ten o’clock hits, I hear an announcement: The show is about to start. I run back to the Big B Booth and prepare myself. “Here we go” I think to myself… This is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for for months.
A slow accumulation of people fills the room. Wide eyed and eager, they walk by, admiring all the creative sculptures, rare toys and extraordinary books. A couple dressed up as Spy vs Spy catches my eye, I also witness the Muppets character Animal having a mini fit whenever someone yanks his chain… A man dressed up as the morbid bunny Frank from Donnie Darko makes me smile. Dozens of Bane impersonators, a half naked Wonder woman, herds of Bronies, a working man made Dalek from Doctor who and Adventure Time characters fill the room as others stop to take pictures and stare in admiration. The day goes by relatively quickly. After selling over a hundred t-shirts and an endless amount of memorabilia to enthusiastic collectors, the day ends with a bang when Marvel gives away all their freebies; throwing posters and key chains to a sea of fans.
Once the day was done, we all congratulated each other on a job well done and treated ourselves to some dinner and ice cream afterwards. All in all, Fan Expo made me truly realize the larger-than-life fan base and subculture that revolves around comic book art and entertainment. It made me appreciate the surreal talent and dedication that goes into every year of this convention and really opened my eyes to a whole new world within our own.