Published Sunday August 29th, 2010
Mary Gazze, The Canadian Press
TORONTO – Superheroes, video game characters and trekkers spent Sunday wishing they could get beamed up straight into the FanExpo convention in Toronto.
Demand to get inside was so high, hundreds of fans lined up for hours around a city block to try to get into the convention, which celebrates many aspects of nerd-dom.
The convention featured the latest in video games, comic books, science fiction, horror and Japanese Anime.
Once inside, they stood shoulder-to-shoulder as they navigated through aisles of colourful comic books and plush toys.
Many of the fans were happy to wait in line throughout the weekend-long event to meet celebs from TV’s original Batman and the Star Trek series, including the man who starred as the original Captain Kirk.
“It’s worth it because we get to meet William Shatner!” said Robbie Nagle, from Brantford, Ont.
“We get to meet all these cool people like Adam West. Who doesn’t love the original Batman with the “Pow!?”
Lenny Palermo drove four hours from Mount Morris, N.Y., to meet Spiderman creator Stan Lee.
“He changed my life. I was just nothing and I started reading comic books and I became a real life superhero,” he said, jokingly.
Palermo said he owns 16,000 comic books, and got a 30th anniversary Spiderman comic autographed by Lee for his grandson.
“Hopefully he can meet Stan when he’s 140 and get another comic book signed.”
The 88-year-old Spiderman creator said his sister-in-law used to live outside Toronto so he comes up to Canada often and finds fans north of the border exceptionally enthusiastic.
At an autograph signing Sunday he took a few moments with each fan to chat.
“I don’t know them as well as I should because it’s usually ‘Hello, how are you?, “Hello, how are you,’ and then the next one comes over and it becomes all homogenized in my mind,” he told The Canadian Press, laughing.
“Every year that I come here it’s bigger and bigger. There are more people, more enthusiasm, more excitement. I mean, by next year, the fans will probably have taken over the whole city.”
Fans delighted in playing the newest Halo games for X-Box, and others enjoyed dressing up as their favourite characters from mainstream TV shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or obscure Japanese video games.
Erin Emms spent at least $400 and eight months to make a skirt that defied gravity for her costume of Princess Serenade from “Eternal Sonata,” a Japanese game based on Frederic Chopin’s music.
“I want eight months of my life back…It’s a lot of bead work and a lot of money invested in it,” she said, explaining it is a painstaking process to copy costumes from cartoon-style video games.
“Physics don’t exist in those worlds,” she said.
Her friend Lorne Miske, who was wearing a royal blue leotard as part of his Cyclops from X-Men costume, said spending that kind of money is worth it for 15 minutes of fame at the conference.
“I think it’s cool, especially when somebody goes, ‘Oh hey, Cyclops!,'” he said.
“You’re called by your character and they recognize you…You get to ride off someone else’s fame. It’s nice.”