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Beam down for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo launched in 2006, playing host to 3,400 attendees.

In it’s 12 years the Calgary Expo has taken flight. In 2016 the event attracted over 105,000 attendees. On Thursday, April 27 at Stampede Park, the tradition will continue as people from across the fandom universe assemble to celebrate their pop-culture prowess over four days.

“Everyone once in a while you see these absolutely amazing moments,” says Lindsey Thomas, also known as Calgary Expo’s superhero host Emily Expo.

Thomas has been a signature part of the Expo experience since 2011, helping to propel the convention to new heights.

The Calgary Expo serves as the superhero headquarters for fans of various aspects of pop-culture including comic books, movies and television series, along with genres such as science fiction, animation, fantasy, horror and much more.

Events individuals can attend include celebrity star and creator panels, artist alley, vendor booths, food trucks, tabletop gaming, cosplay competitions and much more.

“Somebody get to meet their hero, and those moments can be absolutely breathtaking,” says Thomas.

Thomas’ favourite memory from the Calgary Expo is of two fans that had the joy of meeting convention legend John Barrowman. The actor portrayed famous characters such as Malcolm Merlin in Arrow and Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and the Torchwood

“One person picked up their friend and spun them around. They were so excited they couldn’t contain it. It’s moments like that, that make it so fantastic to be part of [the Expo],” says Thomas.

Guests this year will include Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man an the X-Men, Todd McFarlane creator of Spawn, Jeremy Renner star of The Avengers, John Cusack star of High Fidelity, Director Kevin Smith, Nathan Fillion star of Castle, Peter Capaldi star of Doctor Who and Mara Wilson star of Matilda.

“I’m just excited for the overall line-up. I think we’ve got a lot of great people coming.

“[Todd McFarlane] is somebody who’s Calgarian and he’s been on our wish list since the show started. We’re just so happy we were finally able to make it happen,” says Thomas.

McFarlane briefly attended ACAD and is the creator of the comic book character Spawn and worked as an artist on such comics as Spider-Man.

“It really brings the convention to the people. It’s far more interactive you can ask questions and get answers [from guests],” says Thomas describing the Expo experience.

Thomas has three important tips for Comic Expo newbies: wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated and keep an open mind.

“When you have something as big as [the Expo] things can change really quickly. If you come in with an open mind, you can find things to be a part of that you weren’t aware of previously,” say Thomas.

Thomas says that one can never know what to expect at the convention, guests get sick or have work commitments, so schedules can change quickly over the four days.

For the best experience just go with the flow.

“Maybe the full four day event isn’t someone’s thing, but they can check out other [events],” says Thomas.

The POW! Parade of Wonders! will be taking place on Stephen Avenue on Friday, April 28 giving cosplayers the chance to showcase their costumes to the world.

James Marsters, star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville, will be hosting a Calgary Expo Official After Party at Cowboys Dance Hall on Friday, April 28.

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, stars of the Jay and Silent Bob films, will be in the Corral Centre at Stampede Park on Saturday, April 29, recording a live show of their hit podcast Jay and Silent Bob Get Old.

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo will be taking place from Thursday April 27 to April 30 at the Stampede Grounds. Tickets are still available at www.calgaryexpo.com.

The con will be using the hashtag #calgaryexpo and Snapchat filters to help attendees directly share their experience.

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