Actually, it has already started: Like all the big cons, FanExpo Canada runs four days, from Thursday through Sunday. Guests include Stan Lee, Becky Cloonan, Scott Chantler, J. Torres, Ramon Perez, Willow Dawson, Darwyn Cooke, Neal Adams, Jill Thompson, Brian Azzarello, Amanda Conner, Frank Quitely and, of course, the ubiquitous Jim Zubkavich. Showbiz guests include Christopher Lloyd, Lou Ferrigno and cast members from The Walking Dead, Buffy and Criminal Minds.
The Toronto Sun charts the growth of the show from its humble beginnings. The first show, in 1995, drew 1,400 people, and for years it was a comics-only show. Then it added anime, then Star Trek, and next thing you know it was a Big Deal. Organizers expect 80,000 people to attend this year, and in 2010 FanExpo hit an important big-con benchmark: It was shut down by the fire marshal. That year they were in the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre; this year they are back in the South Building, which is a larger space.
If all this piques your interest, you don’t have to wait until next year to get tickets. Same-day tickets are available at the box office, and it doesn’t look like they are sold out.
The Toronto Star highlights David Finch’s FanExpo-exclusive cover for Batman: The Dark Knight #11, featuring a much sunnier shot of the Caped Crusader backed by at least part of the Toronto skyline. The CN Tower is instantly recognizable, but I’m not so sure about the rest of the buildings, in particular, those in the foreground, which also appear on the regular cover. Perhaps Toronto has a little-known Gotham City district — a Wee Gotham, if you will.
That cover and J. Scott Campbell’s 50th-anniversary variant for The Amazing Spider-Man #692 will be available this weekend at FanExpo Canada, where attendees will also see the images gracing T-shirts, tote bags and lanyards. Other convention exclusives include a Jim Lee Before Watchmen lithograph and variant covers for Zenescope’s Call of Wonderland and Grimm Fairy Tales.
Kicking off Thursday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, FanExpo Canada features such comics guests as Finch, Campbell, Stan Lee, Neal Adams, Brian Azzarello, Greg Capullo, Jimmy Cheung, Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner, Dan DiDio, Dale Eaglesham, Steve Epting, Adi Granov, J.G. Jones, Jeff Lemire, Franics Manapul, Frank Quitely, Jill Thompson and Ethan Van Sciver.
If you’re breathlessly awaiting for more Marvel work from Marko Djurdjevic, you may be disappointed. The acclaimed artist, known for his character designs and for his covers for FF, Daredevil and Thor, revealed last night at FanExpo Canada that he’s ended his exclusive contract with the publisher — a split that apparently couldn’t come soon enough for Djurdjevic.
“When I get hired for movie work or video game work, I get hired for my creativity,” Djurdjevic said in the ironically named “Team Spirit” panel. “At Marvel, I get hired for what they know sells. It’s really just a pigeon hole for an artist.”
According to the Comic Book Resources report, softspoken FF artist Steve Epting stood in stark contrast to a joking yet visibly frustrated Djurdjevic, who complained about interference from Marvel editors and repeated requests for revisions without additional pay. “I was fighting with the guys at Marvel about this,” he said. “You can’t make people re-work your shit because you can’t decide what you want. Either pay or leave.” After showing the audience numerous mock-ups for his redesign of Lady Bullseye — mocking editors’ comments in high-pitched tones — Djurdjevic added, “When they would not interfere with my direction, they would get results that would amaze even me.”
He didn’t restrict his criticism to the editors, however. Asked by Epting whether he wished he’d done more interior work at Marvel, Djurdjevic replied, “They never put me with any writers that I liked.” From there, CBR reports, he launched into a tirade about the company and fired a few shots at former Thor writer J. Michael Straczynski, who he said writes “like toilet paper.”
Read full coverage of the “Team Spirit” panel at Comic Book Resources. FanExpo Canada continues in Toronto through Sunday.
Note: The post has been edited to reflect that Djurdjevic was actually criticizing J. Michael Straczynski, not Duane Swierczynski.
FanExpo Canada will kick off in just a couple of hours, drawing an estimated 60,000 fans to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre over the next four days. Tickets are still available at the box office for the convention, which is divided into five components: comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming.
This being a comics blog, we’re most interested in that first component and such featured guests as Jeff Smith, Junko Mizuno, Joe Kubert, Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Chris Claremont, Matt Fraction, David Finch, Tony Moore, Steve Epting, Jonathan Hickman, Jason Aaron, Stuart Immonen, Axel Alonso, DanDiDio, Steve McNiven, Tony Daniel, Jill Thompson, Jimmy Cheung, Brian Azzarello, Ethan Van Sciver, Francis Manapul, Dale Eaglesham and Fred Van Lente. Comics special guests — I don’t know the difference, either — Becky Cloonan, J. Bone, Camilla d’Errico, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kathryn Immonen, Dale Keown, Leonard Kirk, Jeff Lemire, Dan Parent, Bill Sienkiewicz and Cameron Stewart.
The convention continues through Sunday. The full programming schedule can be found here.
On the heels of its Comic-Con-exclusive Flashpoint #1 variant cover, DC Comics has announced it’s offering a similar — well, recolored — wraparound edition for attendees of FanExpo Canada, held Aug. 25-28 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The cover, by Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope and Alex Sinclair, will be available for $10 at the FanExpo Canada exclusives booth. Kubert is a featured guest at the convention, which means you could even get the variant signed, if you’re so inclined.
Retailing | Barnes & Noble, the largest book chain in the United States, lost $63 million in the first quarter, a vast decline from a $12-million profit it reported for the same period a year ago. The retailer pinned about $10 million in losses on its costly fight with billionaire investor Ronald Burkle, and warned that a proxy battle could push the company even further into the red. [Reuters, ICv2.com]
Passings | Paprika director Satoshi Kon, who began his career as a manga artist before moving into anime in 1995, died Tuesday from pancreatic cancer. He was 46. Kon made his directorial debut in 1997 with Perfect Blue, and went on to helm such critically acclaimed anime features as Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers and the aforementioned Paprika, as well as the television series Paranoia Agent. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Kai-Ming Cha looks at initial efforts by manga publishers to provide digital content as legal alternatives to scanlations. [Publishers Weekly]