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Calgary Expo brings magic to fans

Attendance was down at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, but the fans still embraced their collective fandoms making up for the low attendance with intense passion.

The Calgary Expo attracted over 95,000 fans down from the 105,000 last years. The lower attendance count was largely due to the struggling Calgary economy according to the Calgary Expo.

The fans make the Calgary Expo, and this year they went to infinity and beyond.

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo Pow! Parade of Wonders! at Olympic Plaza in Calgary on Friday, April 28, 2017. (Photo by Chelsea Kemp/SAIT)

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo Pow! Parade of Wonders! at Olympic Plaza in Calgary on Friday, April 28, 2017. (Photo by Chelsea Kemp/SAIT)

Cosplayers are always a highlight at the Calgary Expo, and the fans were out in force this year. Amazing costumes included many a Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty, Harley Quinns from Suicide Squad, roving Disney Princesses, groups of Guardians of the Galaxy, and tried and true Star Wars family cosplay.

Guests this year brought the house down with appearances from Todd McFarlane, creator of the ferocious anti-hero Spawn, Stan Lee co-creator of Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the X-men and Fantastic 4, Jeremy Renner star of Arrival and Avengers, Nathan Fillion star of Castle and Firefly and James Marsters star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville.

The guests are always a great opportunity for fans to interact and learn about their comic book, television and movie heroes. One of the most magical parts of the convention is seeing fans get the opportunity to interact with their idols.

Good friends and comic book legends, McFarlane and Lee hosted one of the most engaging panels. The two’s friendship was evident to all in attendance as McFarlane would repeat question for, 94 year old and hard-of-hearing Lee. The two’s banters had the entire stadium in tears of laughter with their jokes.

McFarlane, a born and bred Calgary boy, was a huge win for the Calgary Expo. The artist has been both on the expo’s and fan’s dream guest list for years.

It was bitter sweet to see Lee attend the Calgary Expo, it marked his last appearance at a Canadian convention.

The legendary Stan Lee speaks at the Calgary Expo on Sunday, April 30, 2017. The candid conversation was watched by 1000's of attendees. The Calgary Expo marks Lee's last Canadian convention, for real this time. (Photo by Chelsea Kemp/SAIT)

The legendary Stan Lee speaks at the Calgary Expo on Sunday, April 30, 2017. The candid conversation was watched by 1000’s of attendees. The Calgary Expo marks Lee’s last Canadian convention, for real this time. (Photo by Chelsea Kemp/SAIT)

According to him, He really means it this time.

Marsters offered fun and interesting insights into Buffy the Vampire during his panel, but it also left the audience questioning why the Calgary Expo didn’t do more to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the television show.

Buffy the Vampire changed the face of fantasy/horror television, bringing genre television to the masses. We would not have shows like True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Arrow, or Flash if the show had not paved the way.

The same can be said for the Nathan Fillion panel. Firefly still plays a major role at the convention. One can spot “Jane’s hats” and Mal cosplayers on the floor until this day. It would have been great to see more acknowledgement of the show’s 15-year anniversary.

True Blood, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy all have anniversaries next year. One can only hope that the Calgary Expo is able to do a better job of celebrating these pop-culture phenomena.

One can still remember when the drink True Blood was an expo best seller a few years ago, and Walter White’s can still be seen haunting the exhibition floor.

It would be great to see more fanfare for these shows that have changed the face of pop-culture. These television shows drive fans to celebrate at the Calgary Expo, and one should expect a certain amount of respect for these creations.

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo Pow! Parade of Wonders! at Olympic Plaza in Calgary on Friday, April 28, 2017. (Photo by Chelsea Kemp/SAIT)

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo Pow! Parade of Wonders! at Olympic Plaza in Calgary on Friday, April 28, 2017. (Photo by Chelsea Kemp/SAIT)

Without these fandoms there would be no Calgary Expo, and it would be great to see more celebration and festivities on par with last year’s celebration of 50-years of Star Trek.

Fan service is everything at conventions, and it will be pivotal to embrace next year if the Calgary Expo wants to continue it’s exponential growth.

 

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