There were not going to be any monsters crashing this year’s Fan Expo, unless they wanted to take on Linda Hamilton, Udo Kier, Max Brooks and Bruce “The Chin” Campbell.
The celebration of horror, sci-fi, anime, comics and gaming wrapped up after three days at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Each day thousands of fans filled the exhibition area, buying all kinds of merchandise from t-shirts to action figures to 50 cent comics; the meeting rooms filled to capacity with admirers anticipating whatever words their heroes/idols would bestow upon them; and devotees lined up for hours to come face-to-face with people they’ve only known through their stories on the page or screen.
The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day’s Hamilton spent the weekend signing autographs, including one on a hand-crafted plasma rifle, and delighted fans with a Q&A during which she fielded questions dating back to her days on the television series Beauty and the Beast with Ron Perlman. For fans of the new generation of Terminator, Thomas Dekker who plays John Connor in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was on-hand to promote his new feature film Laid to Rest.
Brooks, author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, chatted with fans as he signed copies of his books as well as a sneak peak to the upcoming comic based on the Survival Guide. He also regaled audiences with his wit at a panel discussion about literary monsters along with writers Kelly Armstrong and Kim Paffenroth, and an individual Q&A the following day, in which he handled a heckler by calling him to the stage and comparing accomplishments.
This year’s featured guest was Evil Dead star and B-movie icon Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell. Tickets for his autograph were sold out by Saturday afternoon, though those still hanging around the signing table for just a glimpse were rewarded with the release of a final block of tickets to meet Campbell up-close. Campbell also ran his own Q&A, giving one fan a toonie for travelling the farthest for the event and insulting questioners whenever appropriate.
The big unveil of the weekend was concept footage and artwork from the upcoming Tron: Legacy, a follow-up to the 1982 movie starring Jeff Bridges that visualized the internal workings of a computer. Also on display was the updated version of the light cycle, which attracted mouth-gaping admirers throughout the expo.
The expo offers something for everyone and this year everyone definitely got something.