Journey to the Fan Expo
It’s like a cooler renaissance fair
Article: Brian Allan – Contributor
With the recent rise in the popularity of superhero movies, events like the San Diego Comic-Con (or SDCC) have become important places for companies to announce new movies, TV shows, and debut trailers. The so-called “nerd” audience is seen as an important part of the movie-going public. That audience (of which I consider myself a part), in turn, enjoys getting to see footage of movies and shows before anyone else. For example, test footage of the upcoming Ant-Man movie was shown at SDCC before anywhere else. They get to meet the casts of those films and often ask them questions at panel events.
Although tickets to SDCC are hard to get, and a trip to San Diego is not affordable to everyone, Regina residents were blessed to have a similar event in their own backyard: the Regina Fan Expo. It did not feature any movie announcements or trailer debuts and there were some celebrities there to sign autographs and do Q&A panels. It was naturally on a much smaller scale than SDCC. But, the prospect of meeting the people who played favourite characters was enough to get many people through the door.
I, myself, went to get an autograph from Ray Park, the man who played Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1. I also attended the Q&A Panel he did on the Sunday afternoon. He was friendly and engaging in both the panel and the autograph sessions; I enjoyed getting my autograph. He even treated the crowd to a short Martial Arts demonstration using a long staff provided by a convention-goer. He also showed a small boy a few moves with some toy lightsabers. It is moments like this that people will no doubt remember and tell stories about. I know I will remember that day every time I look at his autograph. I know many people also took photos and videos of the demo too. This will no doubt spread the word about Fan Expo and hopefully lead to an even bigger event next year.
As cool as that was, I found some other parts of the event just as enjoyable. First, I would just like to take a moment to offer my congratulations to everyone who came in costume. There were some great costumes. My friends and I kept pointing out great ones to each other; I even found Waldo. I hope people are inspired to create even more costumes for next year.
But, the greatest discovery was all the great artists and vendors on the show floor. I saw some awe-inspiring work and I hope to see even more next time. I do not think I would have ever had a chance to see that work if I had not come to the Regina Fan Expo. Darth Maul may have gotten me in the door, but it was the great costumes and wonderful art that filled me with a wondrous sense of discovery. I hope I get to do it again, and I encourage everyone to come next time. There had better be a next time.