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Fan Expo: The Swag Awakens: Episode II: MORE SWAG!

Written by Chris Lear on Friday, September 11 2015 and posted in Features

Fan Expo: The Swag Awakens: Episode II: MORE SWAG!

The best swag round-up you will ever read from a con.

(Now with 83% more swag.)

Source: Chris Lear, Fan Expo 2015

OH LOOK MORE SWAG AHHHHHHHH!!!The picture is blurrier, though. Does that mean I'm trying to hide something? Mayhaps.


Dear Reader, in case you are of the uninitiated and don't know what's going on, read THIS. It will explain everything and still leave you scratching your head. Spoiler: I get to show off the first half of the crap I bought this past weekend at Fan Expo. And it is glorious.

Without further ado...


TOP LEFT: That right there is Russian Olive to Red King. It's a book by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen that came out this past May from AdHouse Books. It's asks how long you can hold onto memories of your dead lover, or at least that's what AdHouse Books' website is telling me right now. You see, the Immonens are the kind of people who, whenever they have a new book out they did together, I shovel my money in their direction questions unasked.

Repeat: I had no idea what this book was about or even that it existed. Because of the strength of the people who made it both as creators and how wonderful they are as people, I saw they had a new book out and bought it sight unseen. (See also: Moving Pictures, Snipe)

Never underestimate the power of being awesome people. At a con, people will shovel their money your way if they like you as a person.

I knew they were only there on the Friday and were only available for one signing time as they otherwise had panels they were on all day (some of which I will probably be talking about as I roll out coverage) and did not have a table in Artists Alley. The upside of the Billy Dee Williams Q&A being post-poned until later in the day is that I was able to make it.

And shovel my money into their hands while I got some books signed.

I have other things I need to talk about, but it also goes to show how much I genuinely and thoroughly enjoy Kathryn and Stuart Immonen as people as well as creators with the phenomenal work they produce together.


Before the con, it was announced that there would be a con-exclusive Star Wars lunchbox that would be included with the package-o-swag you got for holding a premium pass. As I have done those the two previous years (with the fruits of last year also giving me a sweet Yoda lunchbox), I was almost sad that I got to go this year on a press pass because I was not otherwise able to acquire one.

I said 'almost'.

Checking the website page with the con-exclusive merch, I noticed that this year they were also selling them separately.

... Oh?

First thing Friday, I celebrated the Force, plunked down two green twenties (one of the only things Canadian money has in common with American money in that our twenties are both green), and took one with me and another to give to my friend Josh who wouldn't accept any money for gas. He also does arts. Click here to check out his arts.

What I learned: People will also accept free Star Wars merch when they have already refused gas money.

I also believe this may be the first The Force Awakens lunchbox in existence. Can anyone confirm/deny? In any case, I want it to pay for a future child's education.

BOTTOM LEFT: En route to Fan Expo, I was exposed to the most-excellent webcomic ARG! for the first time. It involved Catwoman and a laser pointer.

(I will just leave this here.)

Stopping by Andrew Gregoire's booth and meeting both him and his lovely wife, I gave him a blue fiver for a print of one of his strips as a surprise for my fiancée as we have 'literally' had that exact same conversation. A lot.

It made me laugh. Please support things that make me laugh. :)

BOTTOM MIDDLE: I still have no idea what this is. From what I could tell from when I briefly flipped my way through it, it takes place in space. I think. I'm not entirely sure what could possibly give that away.

I was walking by the creator's booth on the opposite side of the crush, saw it, thought it looked rad, saw it was only five bucks, and basically shoved my money in his hand so I could have one.

Repeat: I was merely walking by, thought whatever it is he had looked cool and reasonably priced and shoved money in his hand so I could take one. It was a classic drive-by. This can and does happen. If you have something that looks cool at your booth, I will want it and give you money to make this happen, whether or not there is a personal connection.

RIGHT: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hold the Holy Grail? That was what it felt like to finally get my filthy paws on one of these (con-exclusive) The Force Awakens shirts.

I mean... how is that not the meanest-looking thing you have ever seen in the best way possible???

My money was tight this past weekend. I set myself a firm budget for everything (merch, food, gas, etc.) that was not allowed to waver as I'm getting married and moving to another country with a more valuable monetary unit from a country whose monetary unit is presently in unrepentant nosedive. I had already purchased the lunchbox and noticed later that day there was also a con-exclusive Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens shirt. A shirt I would've rather had than the lunchbox I already spent money on BECAUSE SERIOUSLY LOOK AT THAT SHIRT.

*greed eyes*

Something that cool-looking was bound to sell out, right?

It's Saturday. The busy day. They have already been available for 24 hours. At the con's three merch booths in different parts of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, they were still available. At one point later that day, I noticed there were none left available at the one between the escalators. Taking that as a sign they were sold out and I was not meant to have one, I started to take a mildly dejected lap through Artists Alley to think about all the mistakes I have made in this life. About a third of the way through, I decided to check the other merch booth in the lobby of that building (For those who've never been, the MTCC is split into two buildings, North and South. I was in South.) to see if, on the off chance they had any more left.

They do.

Frantically, I whip out my phone and text my beautiful fiancée to see if it would be okay if I spent the money on that. Before receiving an answer, I said this and went to purchase one.

"Do you have and of the Star Wars shirts left in small?" I said to the polite attendant.

"I think we only have smalls left..." she posited back to me.

"I think that's the only small left," her friend behind her said, pointing at the one on the mannequin.

As you can see part of attached to the bottom of my shirt (Yeah, that's right. MY shirt.), there is a Post-It note saying 'SMALL – LAST ONE!' that I discovered upon purchase.

You sure are correct to assume they took that glorious t-shirt right off the mannequin and put in into my hands as I gave them a green twenty and a blue fiver. I got the LAST Star Wars con-exclusive shirt at the con.

"But wait," you begin to ask. "What about the third merch booth you haven't talked about yet?" Oh, Dear Reader, how you underestimate me.

Having nothing else to do, I waded through the throng of con-goers to get to the North building and the main con merch booth to confirm my suspicion that I literally had just purchased the LAST The Force Awakens con-exclusive shirt at Fan Expo. Fifteen-twenty minutes later, I discover that, yes, the main booth was out too.

I had purchased the last Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens con-exclusive shirt at Fan Expo 2015.

And with that, I end my merch rundown from Fan Expo 2015. Stay tuned for actual coverage and interviews.

Because I think I'm falling in love with you and need to tell you all my stories.

***** ***** ***** *****

Places to stalk me on the Internet:

Twitter: @sapha12

Facebook: /christopherlearwrites

The book I wrote that's basically if John Green was sarcastic and liked making Terminator jokes you can read in FULL for FREE!: CONNOR BAXTER, CHAMPION OF THE WORLD

My webcomic I neglect like a sad puppy on its birthday: SECRET AGENT HEROIN PONIES


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About the Author - Chris Lear

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