Murtz On The Scene: Fan Expo Canada 2013 Review

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This year’s Fan Expo Canada (which ran from August 22-25 at Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre) was a smorgasbord of comics, anime, horror, games, pop culture and even sports.

A special sports pavilion was added to the 2013 edition of Canada’s version of ComiCon and this added a whole new look to the annual event currently in its 19th edition.

For one thing, the event now took over both the North and South Buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In addition to contributing to the longer-than-usual wait times, this year instead of just seeing the usual cosplayers dressed up as Supergirl, Arrow, and Darth Vader, Expo-goers were also dressed in Joe Sakic and Roberto Alomar jerseys as the demographic of the event was added to with the addition of athletes.

The result was the biggest Fan Expo Canada of all-time with 100,000 fans attending the event over the course of its four-day stretch which marks a 22 per cent increase from last year’s attendance.

In addition to the growth in attendance, everything was presented on a much larger scale in 2013. The number of TV panels increased from 7 to 18 this year. There were 300 celebrity guests, a 10 per cent increase from 2012. And in terms of exhibitors, it was no comparison as there were over 900 retailers, a whopping 200 more from the previous installment of Fan Expo Canada.

Certainly, one of the most anticipated events at this year’s Expo was “Hogan Uncensored,” a special Q&A session with the most popular wrestler and world champion of all-time, Hulk Hogan. I have followed Hogan’s career since childhood, and after seeing him at Wrestlemania 6 and Wrestlemania 18, the Uncensored event was the one that I was the most excited about. Fans purchasing a $300 VIP ticket had the chance to get an autograph and a photo opp with the Hulkster as well as attend a private reception and secure VIP seating for the Q&A session. Although there was some miscommunication about when the reception would be taking place (ticket holders were told that it would be after the Q&A when it was actually scheduled before), Fan Expo organizers should be congratulated for delaying the Q&A to ensure that VIP holders all received their photo and autograph before it started. They also honored the tickets for photo opps the next day. While the Fan Expo was chaotic at times, this single act should be applauded and kudos to everyone involved, from Hogan’s handlers, to Fan Expo Canada, to Holmes PR.

Other highlights of Fan Expo Canada included:

Murtz & Cast Of Walking Dead

Murtz & Cast Of Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Panel with Laurie Holden (Andrea), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Steven Yuen (Glenn), and Michael Rooker (Merle). The panel was advertised to begin at 11 AM on the last day of the Expo and despite arriving more than an hour early, I was surprised to see a long and winding line-up that took up most of the Convention Centre floor. Unfortunately, the castmembers said that they could not reveal anything about the upcoming fourth season but discussed their favorite moments of the show up to this point. One notable highlight was Holden admitting that she had no interest in returning to the show as a zombie or in a flashback sequence.

Bitten Panel with Michael Xavier (Logan), Greg Bryk (Jeremy), Laura Vandervoort (Elena), Greyston Holt (Clayton) and Steve Lund (Nick). I rushed over to catch the Bitten panel which was scheduled at the exact same time as The Walking Dead discussion. Based on a book series by Kelley Armstrong, Bitten centers around Elena Michaels being the world’s only female werewolf who, years after being bitten, is working as a photographer in Toronto and trying to keep her secret. When a bunch of bodies turn up at a werewolf sanctuary, she is forced to come face-to-face with her past. The panelists introduced the show’s first trailer, and also chatted about whether there is room for another show in an already crowded sci fi landscape. I recently received a behind-the-scenes tour of the Bitten set, so look for that feature soon. I was also supposed to get a photo with the Bitten cast at Fan Expo, but for some odd reason, this did not take place.

Showcase Dominance. While CTV dominated last year’s Fan Expo Canada with talent represented from Arrow, Orphan Black and Criminal Minds, their efforts this year were somewhat subdued. Instead, Shaw Media and Showcase shined with Lost Girl, Defiance, Helix, Warehouse 13, and Covert Affairs panels and talent available.

While I certainly didn’t get kissed by Rachel Nichols like I did last year, it was still a phenomenal Fan Expo Canada.

Murtz & Alyssa Lobit

Murtz & Alyssa Lobit

I caught up with screenwriter and actress Alyssa Lobit at the Anchor Bay booth and we briefly chatted about her upcoming Among Friends movie. Among Friends is a twisted horror film about an 80s dinner party gone wrong when one of the diners hijacks the evening and forces the others to come clean about the bad things they have done to each other. The film is a collaboration between real-life friends on the crew and was written by Lobit and produced by Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and Athena Lobit.

Murtz & Sitara Hewitt

Murtz & Sitara Hewitt

I also ran into my old friend Sitara Hewitt from Little Mosque On The Prairie who was signing autographs in support of her new Interstate 90 movie.

Murtz & Slash

Murtz & Slash

Murtz & Brodus Clay

Murtz & Brodus Clay

I interviewed Slash from Guns ‘N Roses about his new Slasher Films horror movie production company and also talked to WWE superstar Brodus Clay about his upcoming feature film, No One Lives. Stay tuned to Inside Pulse for those interviews.

Murtz & Hulk Hogan

Murtz & Hulk Hogan

Meeting Hulk Hogan

Meeting Hulk Hogan

Matching T-Shirts

Matching T-Shirts

Murtz, Jason Priestley & Luke Perry

Murtz, Jason Priestley & Luke Perry

I got to meet my idol Hulk Hogan, got a pic taken with Jason Priestley and Luke Perry from 90210 and met the cast of The Walking Dead as well. That was in addition to hanging out with the babes of Fan Expo like I do every year.

See you next year!

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