Better Late Than Never… It Was A Great Time To Be A Fan

There’s nothing like going straight from a convention into a busy work week.  Clearly, I did not intend to post this two weeks after the con ended, but better late than never.  So, now that I am (mostly?) well rested after attending the 25th edition of Fan Expo, I’d like to share my weekend adventure. Although my cosplays were not the main focus of my weekend, this was a fantastic weekend to be a cosplayer.  Between the guests, the events, and the fans, I was really happy to be in cosplay – even though I was only in cosplay for half of the convention.

Some of the cool things we saw while walking around.

Not much happened on Thursday apart from wandering around the dealer’s room.  It was a great opportunity to check things out while everything was relatively calm.  Given our plans for the weekend, it was helpful to have a day to figure out where everything was without the presence of insane crowds.  Mark and I did some shopping, said “hi” to some friends, and Mark got some autographs from comic book creators.  Since I had spent the morning traveling, I appreciated having a casual day to walk around, take it all in, and check out all of the cool displays and LEGO art.  There was a lot of LEGO on display throughout the convention, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even see it all!

Mark got LOTS of comics signed (only one of those is mine).

Friday was when the convention really got started for us. I was on my own for most of the day and did a bit more wandering in the morning, but I also got a chance to participate in the Cosplay Red Carpet.  With DROO as the photographer, cosplayers lined up and got a chance to walk the red carpet and have their photo professionally taken.  This was a fun, simple event that allowed cosplayers the chance to show off their cosplays without the pressure of something like a masquerade.  And since there were multiple red carpet opportunities throughout the convention, lots of people got the chance to participate. Personally, I had fun – but I realized afterwards that I’m so used to having my face covered in cosplay that I really didn’t think about what my face was going to look like in the pictures! As you can see, the results were interesting.

I had a BLAST as Blaster on the Cosplay Red Carpet, and I’m thrilled we got Frank Welker and Peter Cullen to sign Mark’s Optimus Prime.

The main event of the day for me and Mark was getting autographs from Peter Cullen and Frank Welker.  Their presence was the reason that I was wearing nothing but Transformers cosplays and t-shirts all weekend.  I was very excited.  Yes, that is an understatement.  The system for lining up for their autographs, however, was a bit of a mess.  Essentially, you had to wait in a total of 4 lines if you wanted both autographs. One line up for a ticket for one actor, then you took the ticket and waited in line to get the autograph.  And then you had to start all over again and line up for the ticket for the other actor.  And then get in the other autograph line. The ticket system, from what I could tell, wasn’t really necessary. Perhaps on Saturday, when the convention is busier, it might have made sense.  On the Friday it seemed pointless.  And many of the fans in line complained about the fact that we couldn’t just buy both tickets at once.  There should have been one line for tickets where you could purchase for one or both actors before being sent into the autograph lines.  That would have made much more sense.  Still, since this was Friday, the lineups were not all that bad in the end.  And the chance to meet Optimus Prime and Megatron made it all worthwhile.

Some of the cool stuff we bought, like a pillowcase from Kay Pop Art Studio, and art from Johnni Kok, Dan The Artguy, and James C. Mulligan.  We also got something special from The Den, but it’s for our wedding so no pics for now 😛

Our first panel of the weekend was Gail Simone’s Q&A .  Mark was really excited for this one, although I had yet to read anything by this iconic comic book author. I tagged along just for fun.  That, and Mark had been trying to get me to read Secret Six, so I figured this would be a good introduction into Gail Simone’s works.  At the start of the panel, we learned that she had found out a mere 10 minutes prior that she would not have a moderator for her panel – so her husband stepped in and moderated the panel himself! And that ended up being the best part of the panel.  As we got to learn about Gail’s life and works, her husband would chime in with details she had left out, or he would know exactly what questions/prompts to provide to keep things moving smoothly.  Mark and I also stopped by Gail Simone’s table multiple times throughout the convention, and she is an absolutely lovely person.  I am pleased to report that, since Fan Expo, I have begun to read Secret Six and I am loving it.  There may or may not be a knit Secret Six cosplay in the works…

Mark and I got to meet – and chat with – Brendan Fraser and Gail Simone!

Saturday at the convention was much more panel driven and it was loads of fun.  We started out in line for Brendan Fraser’s autograph and that experience set the tone for the rest of the day.  His face lit up when he saw that I wanted a Doom Patrol comic signed (I was only the second person that day to bring a comic to his table), and he got really excited over the fact that I was in cosplay (even though he probably didn’t know exactly who I was supposed to be). So I was in a great mood when Mark and I then went to line up for his panel.  Brendan Fraser’s Q&A was lots of fun, and he expertly dodged awkward/inappropriate questions by giving silly answers.  What impressed me the most was his apparent love for cosplayers.  After my interaction with him earlier in the morning, I started to notice that he was getting equally excited about the cosplayers who asked questions at his panel.  The ones that stood out for me were his comments to a Larry Trainor cosplayer from Doom Patrol, and his memorable interaction with my friend Dex Morgan who was dressed as Evelyn from The Mummy. I was so thrilled to see a celebrity guest showing so much love towards cosplayers.

We couldn’t resist this knit bee from Sunhawk! After discussing with the artist, we covered the bee in catnip and tossed it to the cats.  We call it “The Cocaine Bee” and Max loves it.

Up next was the panel I was the most excited about – the panel I had planned my cosplays and my schedule around: the Q&A with Frank Welker and Peter Cullen! Welker and Cullen were phenomenal, and they clearly have a lot of love for their work and for their fans. Unfortunately, the moderator for this panel was also a fan and kept adding his own comments, which took time away from those of us who wanted to ask questions.  And when I asked a question to both actors, the moderator only let Cullen reply and cut Welker off as he was about to provide his answer because we were starting to run out of time.  On the bright side, when I got up to the mic, Welker recognised that I was dressed as Coronation Starscream and bowed to me.  That made my weekend.

All Hail Queen Starscream!!!

The last panel of the day for us was Zachary Levi’s Q&A.  We were warned by Levi himself that there would be tears, swearing, tangential answers to questions, and no moderator.  This was probably one of the best panels of the weekend! Like all of the other actors we had seen that day, Levi clearly loves his work and his fans.  And his uncontrollable personality made for a hilarious and fun panel.  But there was also some serious discussion.  Levi is deeply invested in mental health issues, and many of the fan questions revolved around, or led to, discussions about mental health.  It was so wonderful to hear a celebrity guest speak so strongly about these issues, and I’m willing to bet that everyone in the room got teary eyed at some point.

Got some fun coasters from Hipster Lasers, as well as this SWEET Starscream cutting board.  It wasn’t on display, but the vendor pulled it out when he saw my t-shirt.

Although we could not stay for the whole day on Sunday, since we were travelling back home, Mark and I were able to squeeze in some more shopping in the dealers room and one more panel before we said our goodbyes. The final panel of Fan Expo was Jeff Goldblum’s Q&A.  However, the event really didn’t have any Q or A involved.  For about 20 minutes, Goldblum and a moderator talked about his career and occasionally interacted with fans. Although it was disappointing that the panel was so short, it was understandable that there was no opportunity for fans to ask questions.  Given how off-the-wall Goldblum was even when he was just chatting with the moderator, I’m sure things would have been even more chaotic had fan questions been involved.  That said, it was a hilarious panel, and it was exactly how I pictured a panel from Jeff Goldblum would be.  And that’s honestly the best way I can describe the experience.

Every time we see their booth, Mark and I HAVE to get new shirts from Horse Fiddle Press.

So, now that the last convention of the year is over, what does the future hold for Yarn Monster? Well, with my wedding coming up in almost a year, cosplay is not going to be a priority.  Mark and I will probably only be attending conventions with guests that we absolutely have to see, and when I do go to a convention I’ll be re-wearing a lot of my old cosplays.  I’ll still continue to work on a few things when I need some knitting time to unwind, but I’ll try to only make cosplay items if I already have the yarn in my scrap bin.  That being said, Mark and I do have a couples cosplay planned, and that will most likely be the only new cosplay I’ll finish over the next year (Hint: Remember that Secret Six comment I made earlier…?)  So, what’s next on the list for Yarn Monster? The Heroes and Villains Halloween party of course!

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