Between the excitement and the fears of ‘corporatization,’ FanExpo returned to the
masses Oct. 22 for three consecutive days at the Toronto
Convention Centre, albeit with some restrictions along the way.
The event is based out of multiple cities across North America. It serves as an outlet for
content creators of corporate and grassroots origins, who range from Marvel
to individual comic book creators.
One such award-winning group by the apt name ‘Group of 7 Comics’ run by Chris
Sanagan and Jason Lapidus, made their return to the convention circuit this year after
FanExpo’s cancellation last fall.
Sanagan writes the dialogue in each comic, and Lapidus illustrates. Together, they were two of around 76 comics who lined the ‘Comic Creators’ section of the convention, the map of which can be seen below.
The floor map of FanExpo, with the Comic Creator section on
the west wall of the South Building. (Credit/ FanExpo Canada.)
“I certainly came into it in my later high school years and university,” said Sanagan, “It’s a
historical fiction action-adventure series set in the First World War, inspired by Canadian
history and personalities.”
The wall of creators, along with other outlets and festivities, was in the South
Building. One such event was the ‘Cosplay Red Carpet’, which allowed the attending
fans to show their elaborate costumes to a fictitious paparazzi on the sidelines.
On the opposite side of the venue, named the ‘Hall E Stage’ a myriad of different content
creators were hosting drawing tutorials and sketch faceoffs, which were projected on a
large adjacent screen for either passing or sitting guests to observe.
There are some who decided to opt out of the event this year, but not for the health
related reasons one might think. A cosplayer named Roland, who goes by ‘fox_fi6,’
expressed his doubts prior to the event about the nature of FanExpo.
“You’ll have a lot of large companies and vendors, even throughout the politics of the
pandemic, trying to get their foot in the door,” Roland said on the insistence of
companies during pandemic times. “For me personally, I feel it’s way too corporatized and
way too mainstream for a cosplayer that may be more experienced.”
His observations were not unfounded, as both Marvel Studios and their subsidiary
brands had set up temporary advertising around the venue. Whether or not fan culture
and corporate involvement are directly compatible, Roland offered some substitutes to
FanExpo that are taking place in the coming months. Anime North, which will run during
the weekend of May 27-29, 2022 at the Toronto Congress Centre and Delta Hotel Airport, a smaller alternative that was mentioned.
Whether it be sold to the highest bidding company, or thrown to the fans who line up
around the block for their turn, FanExpo Limited Edition made its return in the same way
that it has for the prior years, through the dissent and for the fans.