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2015: The Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo

imageAnother Expo has come and gone!

This time, the one taking place at home, here in Saskatoon. It took up a lot of my time. I was the Distribution Team Lead again, I also helped with a couple of guest pick ups and with the Beecake concert at Louis’ Pub. I have a ton of stories, not all of which can be told, but I will cover some of the highlights here.

I won’t get too deep into the day to day minutia, or give away any trade secrets, but I can’t go any further without saying that I had a blast with my team, which was a mix of friends and strangers, who made my weekend 100 times easier. And I want to thank the leadership team who came from Calgary. I am very thankful for your guidance and advice on how to best accomplish things. I look forward to working with you all again in the future.

The weekend for me started Thursday night right after I got off work. I joined one of the drivers for the show and we picked up Beecake. for those of you who don’t know, Beecake is a band out of Glasgow, Scotland.  They wouldn’t really be a perfect match for a comic convention except for the fact that they had a song on the soundtrack for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Oh, and their lead singer, Billy Boyd had a “small” part in the Lord of the Rings movies. Get it? Small, because his character, Pippin was a Hobbit and… Just let me have this one, Ok?

Anyway, we picked up the members of the band at the airport. These guys were pretty cool. I am usually pretty awkward when I meet new people. I’m not good with small talk, but these people were really easy to talk to on the way to the hotel. I don’t know if it is just because they are used to meeting awkward people or they are just good people themselves, but I didn’t feel awkward at all and was very happy to meet them.

My experience with them didn’t end there though. At the end of the first day of the show, they did a concert at Louis’ Pub to a packed house. We were told that this was their biggest concert in 2 years. Once I was done getting everyone through the door I got to take a well-earned break and enjoy the show. I didn’t know any of their music ahead of time, but they put on a really entertaining show. I’m even listening to them right now as I write this post. The best part of the night was when Billy sang a couple of the songs he had done for the movies. The crowd went wild. I haven’t seen the movies (I know, right?) but I could feel the intensity and emotion coming from the crowd as everyone belted it out with him. Moments like this are why I help with the show.

My other guest pick up was Tricia Helfer, on the Friday before the show. If you don’t know who she is, she is the woman in the red dress on almost all of the promotional work for Battlestar Galactica. Before Friday, I wasn’t a fan. I feel like she is over sexualized for the show, as a Cylon villain, kind of a bitch. Not in real life. At the airport I almost didn’t recognize her. She was very friendly and nice. Like, surprisingly pleasant. Almost disturbingly. Maybe she IS a Cylon!!!! But for real, another fracking great experience.

As for the show itself, I was busy, but not so busy that I did’t get a chance to check out the show a little bit. In fact, this year I even spent a little bit of money (last year I only spent $3). I picked up some comics and got some great art. I inadvertently, went with a pulp theme too, which is cool, I always love pulp era stuff.

imageI met a couple of the artists that came for the show at a pre party/charity sale at Unreal City. A bunch of them did Star Wars pieces and all proceeds went to the Ronald Mcdonald house, which is unbelievably great. I went, but it wasn’t really my thing. Too many people in too close quarters, and it was too much for me, so I spent most of it outside, but it looked like everyone was having a great time inside. My time came with them later, at the show, where our distribution area was right in the middle of Artists Alley.
My plan from the minute I knew he was coming was to get a Francis Manapul piece. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted. My goal is to get characters drawn that A) I really like B) not everyone has and C) aren’t Marvel (I don’t even know why, I consider Marvel my home company. I don’t want just Batman and Superman. I initially had Blue Beetle in mind, but wasn’t sure if it was really something I would like in the long run, I love the character, but he doesn’t really have any distinguishing features, so last-minute I decided I wanted a Shadow piece. I could not have been happier. The eyes have a very Lagosi’s Dracula vibe, which is perfect for the era as the movie had just come up when The Shadow was created, and they both have a very hidden and mysterious aura to them. The Shadow film even does the same type of close-up shots on the eyes as in Dracula. I love the brick work behind him a lot for some reason, and his scarf and collar are superb. He told me the same thing when I picked it up that Jae Lee told me when he did my Deadman, he had never drawn this character before. I looked online and I cannot find one. I really do have something rare. I am ridiculously happy with it. And it was the perfect decision for what was to come in the following hours.image

Not long after requesting that commission from Francis Manapul I found the first issues of The Shadow from DC Comics an old Green Hornet HC from the Now Comics era. I had heard Francis say he was doing quick sketches for free, and I couldn’t let him do a Shadow and not a Green Hornet at this point. So I asked him to do a Green Hornet on one of the blank green pages at the front. He did one quickly and it looked awesome. And that’s when it hit me. I have 5 more blank pages left, and I’m in a room full of artists. This is what became of it.

Francis Manapul (Flash, Detective Comics)

imageCary Nord (Conan)

image

Tom Grummett (Death of Superman, and a Saskatoon icon whom I have never had the chance to actually get anything from):image

Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust):imageRiley Rossmo (Constantine, Rasputin, and another Saskatoon native. I like this one more and more every time I look at it. He apologized for rushing. HA!):
image

Marcus To (New Warriors, Red Robin, this one is my favourite.)

imageEach one did their own thing and represented him in their own way. Funnily, I got this a lot: “It’s all about the hat, if you can’t get the hat right your done.” and its kind of true. The Domino mask is a super hero standard, but the hat is what puts him in that pulp era. Everyone seems to have it from then, The Shadow, The Spirit, Dick Tracy, but no one has it now, so it’s not something that everyone will have practiced up on. I am super stoked about this book. I don’t even really care that much about the story inside anymore.

imageThere were some bumps and bruises along the way, but I ended off the weekend on a high note. A ton of volunteers stayed for tear down, which went extremely smooth, and then a few of us went off to the Samurai for dinner, which is a place I’ve wanted to go since I moved here 7 years ago. I put in almost 50 hours of work, I took 80 thousand steps, and traveled 60 Km, almost exactly 72 hours.

Whats more important is that I had a part in helping over 13,000 attendees from far and wide come to Saskatoon and experience geekdom at the pinnacle of its glory. I hope everyone had as great a time as I did.

Lastly, I want to thank Chris and Mike for everything they do all year to make this happen. You guys put everything you’ve got into it and I don’t think you get enough credit for all the time and dedication you tear out of yourselves and put into this. You have no idea how thankful that I can call you both friends. You had a dream and made it happen. Isn’t that what life should be all about?

Thank you everybody for all the good times. I can’t wait for next year.

Thanks for reading!

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