Do you remember the animated Hercules and Xena film?
Kevin Sorbo does.
What does that have to do with cosplay and conventions? In general, it may not have much to do at all with either. But the first time I ever attended Fan Expo, Kevin Sorbo was a guest. And I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to bring my old, beat-up VHS copy of the movie for him to sign. I’m not sure if he was impressed or horrified. Considering how amazingly not good the animation was, I think it was a little of both.
The first time I attended Fan Expo was in August of 2011. My group consisted of my two girls, as per usual, but also my brother. His friend was supposed to attend as well but monetary issues meant he couldn’t. A lot of this particular trip fell flat for us. Fan Expo had not been as fun as Anime North but it was still better than SFOTR. Although, it would be hard to convince me anything is worse than SFOTR. Later in this same entry, I’ll talk about Fan Expo 2014. That adventure was much more enjoyable.
The most important thing to note about that August is that Jack Layton died. My brother is very interested in politics and at the time he was inclined to vote NDP. So Layton’s death was very distracting because it was such a big deal in the Canadian political landscape. Layton died on the 22nd and we flew into Toronto on the 23rd. I wonder if John and I drove girlpuck and Mad Maddox insane with political talk. We were also filming a lot of this trip and I act like an idiot on camera. So they had to put up with one politically minded idiot and one politically minded camera man.
Actually, they had to put up with a lot of sibling idiocy now that I think about it. John and I got way too excited at all the free food Porter Airlines gave out. And girlpuck got to experience my bored brother making fun of tabloid magazines. (I never get on a plane without the latest celebrity gossip.)
The con itself started on August 26th, which was a Thursday. I was cosplaying my beloved Saix once again while Mad Maddox was Jango (One Piece) and girlpuck was Hakkai (Saiyuki). The oddest thing about Fan Expo was the lack of cosplay. The majority of people were in their civvies. It was the complete opposite of Anime North, where we spent most of our time taking photos of costumes. The lack of cosplay continued throughout the entire con and that was extremely disappointing. However, there were some amazing cosplays. Now, we did have some fun. Kevin Sorbo was there and we caught his Q&A.
And then I got him to autograph that wonderfully horrible animated film. He wasn’t expecting it. Everyone needs to see it. The animation on Hercules’ face is a sight to behold. There are also musical numbers.
The next day saw girlpuck as Hans Solo (Star Wars), Mad Maddox as Hollow Ichigo (Bleach) and me as Poison Ivy (Batman). That day was hands down the best. It was Nichelle Nichols day. I got her autograph on my season one collection of Star Trek. She told me my name (Cassandra) was beautiful and that she loved unique or unusual names. You have no idea what that meant to me. Nichols has always been the most inspiring member of the cast to me because of her contribution to women and people of colour by being on the show. Martin Luther King himself told her that she couldn’t quit Star Trek. The work that Nichols has done with NASA is incredibly important as well. I love her. And then we got to see her Q&A. She was hilarious, interesting and sassy.
Saturday was the big flop of the con in my opinion. John headed back to the hotel fairly early. I stayed a little longer before heading back. I did film a group of almost twenty storm troopers heading up the escalator. Oh, girlpuck and I also met Tom Felton. I just had to go through a lot of film footage to find the date. I was the one filming as my brother and Mad Maddox were elsewhere. John was most likely back at the hotel. girlpuck was the one that wanted Felton’s autograph. The lineup for his signature was insane. The last Harry Potter movie had been released only the month before so Felton was riding a huge popularity wave. Thus, the line was long and it was full of pre-teens girls who were in love with Felton. I’m not sure what girlpuck would have done if she had been left by herself in the line. I would have gone insane myself.
In the end, the girls did the whole con thing while John and I watched Jack Layton’s funeral. We also discovered that the ivy from my Arkham Asylum cosplay had torn up my legs and I was bleeding. The plastic ivy had been super itchy on my bare skin but I hadn’t realised the itching was from the skin being scrapped off my legs. I did go back for the costume contest. Those are boring. I didn’t stay long before I went back, stopping only to film the CN Tower as it was lit up in orange for Layton.
The final day of the con was packed. I was dressed as ugly shirt Sanji (One Piece) while Mad Maddox had broken out Jango again. I was pumped for William Shatner, even if he was charging $80 a signature. The most expensive autograph I had gotten at that con was maybe $40. But the Star Trek cast was aging and I did not know when they’d start dying off. Shatner was actually late. His plane was delayed so even though Sunday was the only day he was scheduled for, he was only there for half of it. Thus, when he was doing his signing, he had to whip through them. This meant that he didn’t even look up at anyone. But he probably got through as many signatures as he would have had he not been late. That was one efficient, albeit impersonal, set up. We also caught his panel. It was an amusing panel at times and a weird one at others. Although Shatner seems like he’s a weirdo most of the time anyway. I still love him. We also went to Tom Felton’s panel. John’s friend had wanted to see the panel and as he couldn’t go, we filmed it.
One girl seriously asked Felton what he thought of the drapple (Draco/Apple) pairing.
Why is that even a thing?
The rest of our trip had some high points, such as Cirque du Soleil and Medieval Times. I also enjoyed Allan Gardens and an intense thunder and lightning storm. However, we did not plan out this trip at all. We were making plans while in Toronto and thus had a lot of down time. Down time in a hotel is boring. I’d much rather do a lot of things, even at the risk of exhausting myself, and then sleep for three days once I’m back home. I think the down time and being around a bunch of girls wasn’t much fun for my brother either. So that put a bit of a damper on things. But he had the most fun at Medieval Times.
Some of our video footage can be seen here.
Fan Expo 2014 was a lot more enjoyable. However, Nathan Fillion is the craziest dude I have ever met.
In 2014, Mad Maddox and I went back to Toronto for Fan Expo. girlpuck was in Germany at the time so really, she wasn’t missing out. This trip went much better because we had a plan. We also rented a condo suite so we weren’t stuck in a tiny hotel if we had too much down time.
Mad Maddox and I had arrived on the 23rd of August but the con didn’t start until the 28th. That was probably in our best interest because it was so humid. Having been to Toronto twice before, I knew to expect the higher temperatures. I had not experienced those temperatures with the added hell of humidity before. Leaving the con until the end of our trip gave us time to acclimatize. It didn’t help much but can you imagine what would have happened if we weren’t in the process of getting use to the wet heat while in costume? I was seriously worried about dehydration at one point.
The first day of the con was a Thursday and more of a half day. Mad Maddox and I actually went to the aquarium that morning. Most of the guests weren’t at the con and there were few panels. So I wore what I thought would be my most difficult costume- Snippy of Romantically Apocalyptic- while Mad Maddox went as steampunk Lady Deadpool. The best indication that this was going to be a good con was the fact that there were people in cosplay. Why go if you’re not going to wear a costume?
The first guest we met was Ray Park. He’s a sweetheart. Mad Maddox got his autograph and he let me take a picture of the two of them. Park’s panel, on the other hand, was only half good. The first part was enjoyable but the end wasn’t. Park had taken a bunch of kids on stage so that he could teach them to use light sabers. I think everyone else enjoyed the whole thing and the kids had fun. I hate kids. A lot. So it was a guarantee I wouldn’t like the last bit. However, it’s amazing how much Park talks and how full of energy he is considering that his most famous characters don’t talk.
Oh, and Mad Maddox photobombed Northern Belle Rogue.
Friday was a day of villainesses. I went as Lady Loki while Mad Maddox went as a steampunk, genderbent Joker. Quite a few people mistook her for Duela Dent, which annoyed her a lot. However, I was just looking for a Duela Dent photo to show you guys… I don’t know if this version of Dent was released then for not but I understand why people mistook the cosplay. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
I also took a photo with two incredibly tall ladies cosplaying Ladies Thor and Loki as well as a little Captain America/Stephanie Rogers. Captain America didn’t think we wanted her in the photo so I had to tell her she was as Marvel as the rest of us. Mad Maddox told me that she reacted the same way I do when people ask for both of us in photos. I always assume people only want Mad Maddox’s photo if they’re looking at her because 1. Her costumes are better constructed and 2. We almost never cosplay from the same fandom at the same time. I personally hate having multiple fandoms in my photos so I only ask for a multi-fandom photo if it’s a mixed group and I want all of their photos. I don’t like to inconvenience people by asking them to stick around long enough for me to get individual photos of each person.
We look in some panels that day as well as shopping and taking pictures. At one point, we headed to Second Cup for cool, delicious drinks were we met a Tony Stark that was collecting pictures of Lokis. So I was collected. I kind of feel bad for the baristas because they had to serve a lot of geeks as well as the general public. The place was packed. The last things we did was check out a steampunk event: parasail dueling. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I got. Parasail dueling turned out to be a fancy looking game of rock-paper-scissors. It was certainly different though.
We had to arrive quite early on Saturday as Mad Maddox wanted to see Nathan Fillion’s panel. We had already missed the Matt Smith panel. We ended up missing another one as well. The crowds were just so insanely massive that most rooms filled up immediately. We spent most of that morning sitting and waiting. That was probably for the best as I was in a movie verse Loki costume made of pleather. It did not breathe at all. I was so hot. Mad Maddox was in a simple steampunk outfit so she could not understand my suffering. The Fillion panel was funny and we left, ready to explore the con.
At one point I had to go to the bathroom. I had to literally peel the pants off of my legs. The costume itself was dry but my underclothes were completely soaked through and there was an inch of water on my skin. We stayed as long as we could before I had to give in and head back to our suite. I showered and left the costume out to breathe. It was incredible to be out of the thing entirely because that was how I learnt that I was actually drowning in my own sweat. It turned out that the costume was 100% non-breathable. This meant that the sweat couldn’t evaporate through the material. It also meant that the material would not absorb the sweat. So the costume was completely dry and smelled the same as when I first opened it when it arrived from China. The water had nowhere to go so it simply sat on my skin until I had gotten rid of the costume. Once cosplay free, we headed back to the con.
The last day of the con, I was dressed in a cute black dress with red trim from Rosie the Rebel. I was going to go with one of the Loki cosplays originally but changed my mind. Mad Maddox was a steampunk X-Force Deadpool. We were asked by multiple people for a photo of the two of us.
Remember when I said I always assume that people will only want one of our photos because we don’t cosplay the same fandoms at the same time?
I wasn’t even in cosplay!
I couldn’t figure out if I was being insulted (and it is insulting if people mistake your everyday clothes for a freaking costume) or if I was being complimented on a lovely, vintage inspired dress. Although, Mad Maddox and I actually matched in terms of colour schemes so maybe people thought the two outfits were related.
I also met Nathan Fillion. Mad Maddox wanted to get Fillion’s autograph for her mother and girlpuck had asked us to get her Fillion’s as well. I ended up in line for Fillion as Mad Maddox was trying to get Bruce Campbell’s autograph for her boyfriend. When I finally got to Fillion, he said that he was after shaking a lot of hands so he’d use some hand sanitizer before shaking mine. I thought he meant to spare me from hundreds of germs. He didn’t. Fillion took far too much hand sanitizer and proceeded to wipe all the access onto my right hand. He used both of his hands to do so which meant my own hand was covered in Fillion’s hand sanitizer. It was completely hilarious and completely disturbing. I mean, it’s a fun story to tell but I don’t actually like to be touched by strangers so I wasn’t sure if I should run away and wash my hand for an hour. I still like to tell that story though. Mad Maddox was actually a little jealous that she missed it.
Throughout the con, I collected Team Fortress 2 cosplay pictures and got at least one of everyone except for Demo. Mad Maddox and I met Arthur Darvil for a second time and got his autograph. We ended the con by going out to see the Cirque du Soliel show Kurios, which was a perfect show to end the con on as it was a steampunk inspired event.
We also attended the Stratford Festival where we got to see Colm Feore (King Laufey in 2011’s Thor) as King Lear. Even when we were being cultured and classy adults we still managed to fit in a little bit of the geek touch.
I learned two things from Fan Expo. One is to always plan your trip so that you can experience the maximum amount of fun. The other thing is to bring plenty of water because it’s easy to become overheated in a heavy costume and high humidity.
Thanks for reading,