The Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto played host to Fan Expo Canada this past weekend. The event is Canada's largest nerd convention and has been billed as "the third largest pop culture event in North America," though that doesn't count the forthcoming Avril Lavigne/Nickelback wedding.

Fan Expo launched as a comic convention in the mid-'90s and has added anime, sci-fi, horror and gaming elements over the years, but comics are still a major part of the show thanks to a well-attended Artists' Alley and a significant presence from Big Two mainstream publishers DC Comics and Marvel, both of which made announcements at the show. Sadly a new Alpha Flight series was not one of them. But with that disappointment behind us, here's what they actually unveiled.DC Comics

DC's major new title announcement was Justice League of America by Geoff Johns and David Finch, set for a 2013 launch and featuring one of the more diverse super-team line-ups we've seen in a while: one third women and one third ethnic minorities, though also one third blonde. There was no hint of any Justice League of Canada book, and the big American flag DC projected onto the screen may have been a declaration of war. You can read more about the new JLA title here.

DC revealed that Bill Sienkiewicz had been hand-picked by Andy Kubert to take over from his late father Joe Kubert as inker on Before Watchmen: Nite Owl. DC also announced an addition to the line, Before Watchmen: Moloch, by J. Michael Straczynski and Eduardo Risso. The two-issue series is due out in November/December, and focuses on the stage magic-inspired supervillain Moloch the Mystic from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen. There's no word at this time on whether DC will announce a Before Watchmen: Joey the Cab Driver book.

The Moloch book was unveiled at a panel focusing on the Before Watchmen line, so it was perhaps inevitable that one of the questions to the panel was about whether the creators had any hesitations about creating prequels to such a "well-loved" book. Brian Azzarello responded, "Do they love it more than Batman? I've written Batman," and Darwyn Cooke added, "Do they love it more than Spider-Man? Because I've written Spider-Man." Cooke went on to say, "Last time I checked, Steve Ditko's still alive, and he lives three blocks away from the Marvel offices, so, yeah, there is a level of this I don't understand. ... I had some hesitation going in, and it took a hell of a lot to get me involved, but it wasn't because I was afraid of working on it, it was because I didn't have a story to tell back then. Once a story occurred to me then I was very excited about the challenge."

Cooke also appeared on Ty Templeton's "On The Couch" panel on creator-owned work versus corporate-owned work, where he offered an interesting assessment of his role. "I don't know that I am a creator. ... I just don't know what it is that I've got to offer in that regard, whether it's of any value. ... I've always looked at what I do as directing more than creating. Who wants to read a story from me about when I was eleven and my uncle touched me in the wrong spot? I've never really looked at myself as a creator." Templeton asked, "Do you not feel you have something to say as a writer?" Cooke responded, "Sure, but I don't know that I need to create a character to say it. I think I say what I want to say with everything I do."


Marvel had several announcements, including the one I'm most excited about: a new ongoing Morbius The Living Vampire series from Joe Keatinge and Rich Elson, the team that was meant to launch a Thanos mini-series before that got nixed for unknown reasons. Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Dr. Michael Morbius is a living human with scientifically-created vampire abilities. He's recently appeared as a supporting character in Dan Slott's Amazing Spider-Man, and the ongoing series will launch out of events in that title.

Sticking with the sinister theme, Marvel announced a new artist and hinted at a new line-up for Dark Avengers (formerly Thunderbolts), with former Fantastic Four penciller Neil Edwards joining writer Jeff Parker in November. U.S.Agent will lead the team, and Moonstone will once again slip in to the Ms. Marvel identity recently ditched by Captain Marvel.

B.P.R.D. artist Jason Latour will assume writing duties on Winter Soldier from issue #15 in January, taking over from Ed Brubaker on the character he resurrected and reinvented. Winter Soldier #14 is to be Brubaker's final work for Marvel for the foreseeable future, not counting Criminal and Incognito, which are co-owned by himself and artist Sean Phillips and published by Marvel's Icon imprint. It's not yet known who the new Winter Soldier artist will be. Latour previously wrote the four-issue series Loose Ends for 12 Gauge Comics, and the brilliant, unofficial and very NSFW Spring Break Wolverine short, which is sadly no longer online for reasons that we cannot possibly begin to imagine.

Artist Ramón Pérez, fresh from his Eisner wins for Tales of Sand at San Diego's Comic-Con International, will take on a five-issue Savage Land arc in Wolverine & The X-Men with writer Jason Aaron. The story will focus on some of the student cast. Aaron asked Pérez which characters he most wanted to draw, and naturally he chose Glob Herman.

Finally, though we still don't know who will be on the roster for Jonathan Hickman's new 18-member Avengers team, X-Men group editor Nick Lowe revealed at the X-Men panel that a couple of characters from the recently cancelled New Mutants book would be on the team. Marvel director of communications Arune Singh said at the Marvel NOW! panel that the roster would include "a lot of female characters, a lot of great diversity." We'll wait to see if it's one-third women, one-third ethnic minorities and one-third blond.

Marvel panels are typically accompanied by hefty presentations of artwork, and Fan Expo was no different. Here are some selections for you to enjoy:

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