By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
It was a weekend I shall never forget. The very first of what I’m sure most of its attendees hope to be many Fan Expo Vancouver’s took place from April 21–22. Expectations differed from just about anyone you asked; some were overwhelmed by what was to be displayed before them, while others were a little more, we’ll say, ungrateful. But regardless of what anyone thought going in, Fan Expo Vancouver turned out to be an overall success!
A reported number of 12,000 came out to attend Fan Expo, with most going for the ridiculously good deal of attending both days for a mere $30. Generally, everything went beyond my expectations—and I mean everything. The amount of costumes (good costumes, I should say) and unique outfits grossly outnumbered the ever popular “jeans and clever shirt” usually seen at such things. Most of the vendors also featured reasonably-priced products ranging from original art to collectables to used movies and games. And one can nitpick all they like when it comes to “celebrity guests,” but once you’re standing across from the likes of Adam West or even Kevin Sorbo, it’s easy to fall under that silly fame spell. But really, out of all of this, it was the enthusiasm of the attendees that blew me away.
[quote style=”boxed”]The Vancouver Convention Centre was literally buzzing with excitement the entire weekend.[/quote]
The Vancouver Convention Centre was literally buzzing with excitement the entire weekend. Groups of teens to young adults (such as myself) to full families were eager to explore everything the convention had to offer. Part of this was due to the fact that many of its attendees had never even seen an event like Fan Expo, and then there were those who had never seen an event like this within Vancouver. Most of us have to travel across the boarder or head out to Toronto for the big conventions, so it really is quite a big deal to finally have a Fan Expo in Vancouver. If nothing else, it solidifies Vancouver’s place as a major metropolitan city.
But while we were all overjoyed to participate in the autograph signings and panel sittings, the weekend wasn’t without its flaws. For one, while there were many reasonably-priced vendors, there were perhaps one too many that were asking a bit much from us. For example, there was a poster booth that featured an uneven balance of popular movie posters and some immaculately beautiful hand drawn originals—one based on Kill Bill caught my eye, only for me to be informed that it was worth $600. That and, when push came to shove, the amount of vendors outweighed the amount of other available activities in the end—for every one guest panel, there were about 10 guys trying to sell you their product. Celebrity photo-ops and autographs were also quite pricey, with a photo featuring both Adam West and Burt Ward costing $100.
Still, the few panels I got to attend were not only fun, they were packed! Perhaps a little too packed—overcrowding was another issue, although it was one that was clearly overlooked. Half of the centre had been reserved for several other conventions happening that weekend, which made for a high stress environment regarding staff and security—rather odd for a (highly debatable) family-friendly event. Ideally, with this year being the huge success that it was, perhaps next year they’ll reserve an entire floor of the Convention Centre for Fan Expo, rather than just two panel rooms and a single, solitary hall for the rest of the convention… definitely something that was overlooked.
None of those issues managed to spoil my weekend; I had an excellent time—although I do really wish more space were offered next year. Considering I got to share such experiences with friends as meeting the cast of Reboot face-to-face, having an emotional moment with artist Pia Guerra (and snagging an autograph!), finding a VHS copy of A Clockwork Orange (1971), and getting behind the wheel of the Batmobile, I’d say overall, it was a pretty awesome first for Fan Expo Vancouver.
Be sure to check out our website for even more coverage of the weekend’s events, including an indie vendor list by staff writer Allie Davison, a first-hand experience from contributor Gurneev Pansear, and a number of interviews by yours truly.