Get ready for the geekiness
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Summer is the time to celebrate fandoms, from the legendary Comic Con in San Diego to Vancouver’s NorthWest Fan Fest on June 27-29 and Anime Revolution on August 22-24. Dedicated to all things related to fandoms and general geekiness (science fiction, horror, comics, fantasy, anime, and video games) and featuring a wide variety of guests, booths, and activities, there’s something at these conventions for everyone.
When I went to Fan Expo Vancouver in April, I was greeted by booths lined as far as the eye could see, featuring an assortment of nerdy products: comics, action figures, T-shirts, costumes, and lots of other items. A range of artists had exhibits, including creators of comics, video games, paintings, and novels. Other booths sold merchandise, advertised their own conventions, promoted upcoming content, or offered unique services, such as “Draw anything you want for $10.”
These kinds of conventions are fun for the whole family. The attendees are just as diverse as the content: people of all ages, shapes, and sizes can enjoy the event. Costumes were abundant at Fan Expo Vancouver, ranging from the simple and mainstream (a Superman shirt and a cape, an Ash Ketchum cap and Pikachu plushie) to the elaborate and less recognizable (a life-size, full-body Totoro costume, the entire cast of Madoka Magicka). These costumes were worn by all types of attendees and it was a delight to see a six-year-old Predator alien, a paraplegic Spider-Man, and a full family dressed as The Incredibles. Many lesser-known guests (especially the comic artists and voice actors) provide free or cheap autographs and photos, and in many cases these are just as exciting and meaningful to a fan as the bigger stars.
Vancouver-based comic artist Pia Guerra, best known for illustrating the apocalyptic graphic novel series Y: The Last Man, summed it up best at Fan Expo Vancouver when she beautifully explained how meaningful the interaction is for the fans as well as the guest:
“The best part of attending conventions is meeting people. Readers of the book, those who haven’t and are wanting to learn what the book is about, young artists looking for advice—they’re all great people to talk to.
“There are so many amazing interactions I’ve had with readers, some totally awe-inspiring and heartfelt, but one that really stands out is meeting a veteran from missions in Iraq. He brought his copy of the first Y trade that he had with him on tour and explained how it got him through some rough days in crazy heat. The pages were slightly tinged a rust colour from the sand and he asked me if I wanted to smell the book to see what the base smelled liked. I’ll never forget that smell.”
Guerra concluded, “It’s those interactions that always put you in your place, remind you that no matter how frustrating some days are, you still just draw funny books and you’re very fortunate to be doing so, even more so to be able to affect people in ways you can’t even imagine.”
Get ready, fanboys and fangirls, for a summer of fandom-filled conventions in Vancouver!