The return of fan conventions. Are you ready?

Here’s some good news — FAN EXPO Canada 2021 is returning to Toronto taking place from October 22 to 24 ( Seeing as how this is the first major comic book convention in Toronto in almost two years, it goes without saying that many attendees are looking forward to seeing their favourite comic book creators and supporters at the show.

Leading up to the event, I asked comic book creators, who plan to exhibit, for their input about what they are most looking forward to and perhaps some potential concerns.

Ramón K Pérez, from the R.A.I.D. studio, said that he doesn’t have any major concerns being at the show. He shares the feeling of many in the comic book industry by expressing that he’s most looking forward to reconnecting with fans.

Ed Brisson, who’s enjoying success with his Beyond The Breach series, said: “Mostly, I’m looking forward to getting back to some sort of normal. I know that we’re still far from being back to how things were pre-pandemic, but it feels like we’re making steps toward it. I’m excited to see a bunch of comic friends who I haven’t seen in nearly two years.”

When asked about any concerns, Ed said: “The show is requiring proof of vaccination for attendees, plus masks and will have a limited audience. I’m pretty comfortable getting back to it. My biggest worry might be that my social skills have atrophied in the last 19 months.”

Getting adjusted to crowds and interacting with attendees might be a concern for some, but Scott Chantler, creator of Bix, has already been involved in shows this year. Scott just returned from Calgary Expo 2021 held in September without any concerns. He said he felt “remarkably safe, despite Alberta being in much worse shape than Ontario, Covid-wise.”

Shawn Daley, creator of The Bridgebuilder’s Creed, said: “I’m mostly looking forward to catching up with the Toronto comics community; both my fellow creators, and the fans that stop by every year. It’s been so long since I’ve had a jam-packed weekend of comics and friends here in Toronto.”

When it comes to any concerns about attending, Shawn said: “My only concern for the show is that I might not want to leave. It’s three days this year instead of the usual four, so I’m hoping it doesn’t fly by too quickly. It’s one of my favourite yearly shows.”

Writer Jim Zub echoed similar sentiments when he said that he’s looking forward to: “Seeing friends in person. So many industry pals and readers who I haven’t seen in over two years. I’m sure it’ll be a bit surreal, but good too.”

But Jim doesn’t have too many concerns about being at the event. He said: “Based on the policies in place I don’t have many worries, though I’m sure things are going to be pretty exhausting because my convention stamina is not quite ready for a return to the circuit.”

Having already attended several conventions this year, illustrator Francine Delgado said she’s very keen for the show: “I want to see the people of Toronto again, I went for the first time back in 2019, and had the opportunity of meeting amazing artists, fans, and creating new friendships. I can’t wait to see what the 2021 Expo has to offer and what can I get back.”

When it comes to any concerns, Francine mentioned: “I get always worried about not being prepared enough.” 

So there you have it — lots of keen interest in getting back to the conventions and just a little hesitation about future exhibition experiences. The main through line is that we all want to return to what we once had – networking with colleagues and sharing the love of comic books.

See you there.

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