More comics, more anime and more sci-fi -- what more could a genre geek ask for? Last year's wraparound lineups and record-setting crowds finally persuaded the people behind Toronto's annual genre convention -- Fan Expo --to add an extra day. It now starts on Thursday instead of Friday, and runs from August 25 to 28.
Good thing too, since there are more high-profile guests and "one time only" events than there have ever been. Whether you're a fan of comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, gaming or all of the above, there is bound to be something for everyone.
Comic fans are in for some big announcements from Marvel and DC, and horror fans will get an exclusive screening of 'Near Dark,' the cult horror film from Best Director Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. Plus, William Shatner returns to the big screen with documentary 'The Captains,' which features interviews with everyone who has ever piloted the Starship Enterprise.
This is just a taste of what's to come at this year's Fan Expo. For the true highlights of this year's convention, hit the jump.
The First Family of Comics
For the first time in Canada, the Kubert family (brothers Adam and Andy, with their father Joe) will be appearing together. Joe Kubert is a living legend --he's the co-creator of the silver age Hawkman and Sgt. Rock. He's also the founder of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in New Jersey. Celebrating its 35th anniversary Saturday, Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski will lead a retrospective featuring first students Fernando Ruiz (Archie Comics), Alex Maleev (Moon Knight), Shane Davis (Superman Earth One), Andy Kubert (Flashpoint) and Adam Kubert (Ultimate X-Men). On Sunday, Joe will teach a drawing class with Ruiz and raffle off his art. Saturday, 4PM, Room 716 & Sunday, 2:30PM, Room 716
The Filthy World of John Waters
Filmmaker John Waters brings his one-man vaudeville act to Toronto. The man with the pencil-thin moustache is the father of trash cinema, creating cult classics like 'Pink Flamingos,' 'Multiple Maniacs' and 'Desperate Living' with his regular cast of convicts, perverts and drag queens -- The Dreamlanders. Though he dabbled in the mainstream with 'Hairspray,' his one-man show This Filthy World focuses on his early influences, his interest in true crime, outlandish fashion, exploitation films and the extremes of the contemporary art world. Saturday, 7PM, Toronto Underground Cinema, 186 Spadina Ave. $35 door, $30 advance and $125 VIP reception ticket available at the Rue Morgue Booth. Signing on Saturday, 12PM, Autograph Area DD.
The Lowdown on Landau
Following last year's appearance by Oscar Winner Ernest Borgnine, another screen legend has agreed to grace the convention floor. Martin Landau studied acting under the great Lee Strasberg, and then went on to teach the craft to Jack Nicholson and Angelica Huston. His half-century in the business had him working with Hitchcock in 'North by Northwest,' earning an Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in 'Ed Wood,' paying off Matt Damon's debts in 'Rounders' and now financing the movies of Vincent Chase as Bob Ryan in TV's 'Entourage.' He'll be appearing in a special Q&A on Saturday at 7:30PM in Room 718. As Bob Ryan would say, "Is that something you might be interested in?"
Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun
The weekend belongs to the ghouls ... uh, girls. Friday afternoon, Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark (a.k.a. Cassandra Peterson), will be showcasing the same vampiric valley-girl persona she made famous hosting the 'Movie Macabre' movie of the week in the '80s, complete with her trademark black beehive hairdo and cleavage-exposing gown. Then, later that night, Victoria Price, author of Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography, leads a Q&A that will surely give insight into her father -- the illustrious "Merchant of Menace" -- in a way only a daughter can. Elvira Friday at 1PM in Hall G, and Victoria Price Friday at 7PM in Room 715B.
TV Land Toronto
This year's expo is packed with classic TV stars from the '60s and '70s. You can get all together ooky with John Astin, who played Gomez Addams in the original 'Addams Family.' Lee Majors will probably let you rebuild him if you have the technology and Barbara Eden reunites with her "master" Larry Hagman from their days on 'I Dream of Jeannie.' Ask nicely and Hagman may let you in on what it was like stepping back in the boots of J.R. Ewing for the continuation of 'Dallas' scheduled for this fall. Q&As are Saturday with Astin at 1PM in Room 718, Majors at 2:30PM in Hall G and then stick around in Hall G for Hagman and Eden at 4PM.
For more stars and events, check out the full Fan Expo schedule.