Lots of big companies come to Fan Expo only to replicate their chain stores without any discount or exclusive offers (e.g., EB Games) or just waste their copious floor space (the way Ubisoft has this year). But often forgotten are the little booths set up by local artists, which often demonstrate more creativity and pluck than the big boys.
One of the most impressive such booths was selling a card game called The Aberrant Apothecary, as well as other sundries (custom potion vials and the like). Artist Stephen Sauer explained some of the rules to us of the game he had designed and illustrated while sitting at perhaps the most thematically unified set-up at the Expo: the whole thing was an assemblage of fold-out shelves and planks made to look like an ol'-timey traveling shopkeeper's kit.
Those looking for more badass artifacts might be impressed by the custom sculptures by Spawning Pool Studios. The kits there might have been pricey, but they had a lot more personality than the off-the-shelf sculpture superhero models sold at the nearby comic-shop retailers, which were in some cases not much cheaper.
Some of the other artists or artists' businesses with interesting wares (interesting enough for us to pick up business cards at the very least) included Paper Forest, Atomic Ami, Xiao Bai, and Rachel Idzerda.
Obviously, that's not an inclusive list -- there were likely other interesting exhibitors we missed. But the point is that even at the sometimes crassly corporate Fan Expo, there are still local artists who deserve support and wider recognition. And their stuff is often a better deal than the mass market stuff too!