PopLurker would like to thank the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo for graciously providing Press Passes in exchange for convention coverage.
Every year, my home city of Calgary plays host to the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (or Calgary Expo for short). It’s Canada’s 2nd largest celebration of all things pop culture, and who better to cover pop culture than PopLurker?
More humbly speaking, PopLurker was very honored and thankful to have our first press pass approval given to us by such an amazing event. An event that attracted over 90,000 people from April 26-29, 2018. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the kick-off festivities Thursday evening, but got into the thick of things the next three days, which I’m more than stoked to share with you here.
Strap yourselves in Lurkers, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
Friday April 27th 2018
My initial thoughts going into the event Friday morning was…be gentle, it’s my first time. But, there was no time for subtleties. Getting downtown to Stephens Ave before the 11am parade start time was beneficial in finding the right spot to take some sweet photos.
The traditional Parade of Wonders kicked off with hundreds of costumed cosplayers marching along to the nearby Olympic Plaza.
Once the parade wrapped up, I headed to the BMO Centre where the weekends events were underway.
Not knowing what to expect as this was my first time going to Calgary Expo, both as an attendee and providing press coverage (no pressure dude), I was a little overwhelmed at first and truth be told Friday was mainly for me to get my bearings, recognize where everyone and everything is, as well as Lurk and soak up as much of the culture as possible. The BMO Centre is much larger than I imagined with two huge halls, one for celebrity autograph signings and different vendors and cosplay groups (including our new friends at Otafest whom we will see in downtown Calgary May 18-20), and a second hall for all manner of nerdvana.
Whatever you were looking for the Calgary Expo had it. Comics, video games, that rare Funko Pop you’ve been dying to get or nerd apparel with the most notable spot being the rather impressive Tower of T-shirts right in the middle of Halls A-C.
If you’re looking for some sweet, high quality prints Scott Adams can hook you up with what you’re looking for, (I picked up an Electro, which you can see just above his head as well as a Han Solo and Boba Fett) just give him a follow and say hello on his Instagram, or hit up his website.
Another cool booth that we swung by was Zenescope Entertainment. Founded in 2005, Zenescope boasts the largest female-driven shared universe in comics with their female spin on Robyn Hood and Van Helsing being among some of their hottest sellers.
If the crowded halls and trying to navigate your way through the multitude of booths got to be a little more than you could handle, or window shopping for nerd swag just isn’t your bag necessarily, the Palomino conference rooms outside of the hall where there specifically for classic arcade games or if table top games were more your flavor, the Calgary Expo had your back whether you’re a Small Town Nerd or a Big City Dungeon Master.
It was in these conference rooms as well you could sit in on some sweet Q&A panels, like the Justin Briner from the My Hero Academia English dub series panel PopLurker was lucky enough to attend. Justin Briner was far from the only celebrity however to attend this years Expo. The big news being the reunion of the cast of the Back to the Future franchise. Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Tom Wilson were all in attendance signing autographs and taking selfies, as well fans could also get pics with Doc Brown, Biff and Marty’s mom in front of the legendary DeLorean. If you’re into 70’s cheese tv, OG Hulk Lou Ferrigno was there for you. In addition, the Grandmaster himself no less Jeff Goldblum also graced the halls of the Calgary Expo.
Later in the evening over the course of each day these giants of the silver screen would make their way to the adjacent Corral Centre for a special Q&A panel amongst the fans. We were fortunate enough to be granted access to the press pit and snap a few photos for the first 5 minutes of these Q&A’s and the 6,500 seat Corral Centre was packed and rocking with each appearance.
Saturday April 28th 2018
If Friday was all about the immersion, then Saturday was about investigation and interviewing. The press team was gracious enough to put us on a wish list for Saturday and whoever became open, we could talk to.
For those familiar with Smosh Games, Wesley Johnson along with former Smosh members Matthew Sohinki, and David “Lasercorn” Moss were visiting Canada for the first time; or in Wes case his first Canadian convention ever. The guys were at the Expo to promote their new YouTube show ToasterGhost, an online gaming channel where Matthew, Lasercorn, and fellow YouTubers Pam Horton and Amy Lynn play various games. Wes also revealed that he enjoys cosplaying and some of his favorites have been Winter Soldier and most recently Parzival from Ready Player One.
Speaking of cosplayers, I decided now was as good a time as any to get to the heart of the Expo and that was the cosplayers themselves to get their impressions of this years Expo and see what all the hotness was right now.
Not surprisingly since Marvel and Star Wars are the current rulers of the cinema, they ruled over Calgary Expo as well. However, DC was also well represented.
If you’re burnt out on Marvel, DC and Star Wars dominating geek culture, there were plenty of other fun cosplayers in attendance, whether it be a Pro Hero from My Hero Academia, classic video game characters or Dark Helmet himself.
For fans of Skyrim, Vampire Dark Rose a pro goth model from three hours north in Edmonton was decked out in full Dovahkiin garb. It’s no secret that PopLurker are enormous Sailor Moon fans, and we bumped into a couple of Moonies during our stay at the Expo. Jenelle Elizabeth on Facebook from Regina was attending her first Calgary Expo with her boyfriend. They had been to local cons in their area, but nothing to this scale.
Over at the Big Four building while checking out the Artist Alley, we bumped into fellow Moonie Xobrookke who was attending her sixth Expo in a row, and over the course of the weekend was appearing as Sailor Moon on this day, and then would be making the rounds as Spider Gwen on Sunday. She has also appeared as Lightning from Final Fantasy and Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta.
While in the Artist Alley we noticed that both Batman’s Jim Lee and Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld were in attendance, but unfortunately couldn’t snap any photos of them.
Sunday April 29th 2018
On the last day of the Calgary Expo it was my goal to meet up with the fine people at Panel One. After attending the My Hero Academia panel, I headed over to the Big Four building next door and made my way around to the various booths of the Panel One comic creators.
Panel One and PopLurker share a similar story. Panel One began as a platform to spotlight local, original work in the comic field. For Panel One that meant Calgary as well as Southern Alberta and Edmonton. However, over time Panel One grew to include pretty much all western Canada and they even have some Canadian members creating and living abroad in Singapore, Scotland and Ireland.
I immediately thought this was super cool and a direct parallel to PopLurker’s beginning as the as a place for like minded individuals to have a voice and have their words seen by as many eyeballs as possible. PopLurker and Panel One in much the same way have been organically expanding their reach and are both growing by the day.
It also doesn’t hurt that director and member Joey Gruszecki is a huge MST3K fan as well.
Making my way through Artist Alley I checked out cool comics like scudsworth, Futility, and Crash and Burn proudly representing under the Panel One collective flag and would encourage others to give them a look.
It was a whirlwind three days at this years Calgary Expo. By the end I was exhausted, my lower body hurt more than I thought it could possibly hurt, but it was so worth it to be able to attend such an amazing event celebrating all things nerd and pop culture, which is what PopLurker is all about. We were so grateful to attend and look forward to Lurking you next year at the 2019 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.
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