The Gateway wishes to note that after press time, Adam West cancelled his appearance.
Saturday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Edmonton Expo Centre (7515 119 Ave.)
Individual passes $20, weekend passes $30 at the door
Set phasers to fun! It’s not often that pop culture staples like Lando Calrissian, Lt. Uhura and Adam West’s Batman take their spacecraft and Batmobiles to Edmonton. But this weekend, the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo is fixing this sci-fi and comic book deficiency by bringing all these and more to the Edmonton Expo Centre.
Organized by the people behind the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, this is the first time Edmontonians can get their own taste of the event without having to pile into a friend’s car, hoping the three-hour drive won’t ruin their bulky, handcrafted Pikachu costumes. Still, comparisons with Calgary are inevitable, what with sci-fi and comic fans being so famously meticulous. But with seven years of past experience, founder and event director Kandrix Foong knows how to put on a good show.
“The coolest thing that we did for Calgary was doing the Star Trek reunion for The Next Generation. That was something that was noticed across the world because it (had) never happened before,” Foong says.
Though the Edmonton event does pair the great Adam West up with his old sidekick Burt Ward, who played the original Robin, it doesn’t quite have the clout to reunite entire crews of the Enterprise — yet.
“It’ll be a lot smaller in terms of scale as we’re learning how to work with the venue,” Foong explains. “I think the coolest thing is just being able to bring the show to Edmonton. We’ve had a lot of fans that have been wanting to have something in their hometown.”
With seven shows behind them, the Calgary event has grown over the years to take up the entire BMO Centre. Foong hopes to see the Edmonton event rival — or even exceed — Calgary’s accomplishments in the next three to five years.
But beyond merely growing the event as a parallel exposition, the Edmonton show is looking to provide hardcore fans with the time to check out both.
“Something that we definitely want to do is have a different flavour at both shows ... You don’t want to be like a travelling circus where it’s the exact same thing all the time because then it gets kind of dry.”
Keeping things fresh means mixing up the guests and panels this time around. The Edmonton event boasts a weekend full of talks on just about everything: bronies, steampunk culture, costuming advice, the evolution of hilarious horror metal band GWAR and local video game developer Bioware — including one session on the future of Dragon Age. The variety of talks to attend, including some with advice on how to break into the various industries associated with the Comic Expo, is impressive — and that’s before you get to the vast number of artists and other exhibitors who will also be present.
But of course, it’s the big names like those from the Whedonverse that will dominate many fans’ schedules. Featuring Jewel Staite and Charisma Carpenter — Firefly’s Kaylee Frye and Buffy’s Cordelia Chase respectively — commenting on their experiences working with him, their panel should help local Joss Whedon fanatics get their fix.
“(Whedon’s) incredibly hot with directing The Avengers, which is probably the number one movie period right now,” says Foong. “(He’s) just got so much about him that everybody clamours towards what this guy does.”
Then there’s everyone’s favourite Batman, Adam West, whose wackiness extends to slipping right into his Family Guy alter ego Mayor Adam West.
“He’s a pretty cool guy to just listen to and talk to,” Foong confirms. “When we run a lot of these panels, there’s also an open Q & A and sometimes you get some really great questions from the audience. The fun part is seeing their reactions and the way they actually answer them.”
With guests of that calibre, the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo looks set to give fans the nerdiest weekend this city’s ever seen. And with other events like Animethon, it’s certainly seen a few.
“I think they’re going to love it,” Foong says. “Because honestly, the hardcore fans will go to both events — and once we started announcing a lot of the things, a lot of them were just very excited, like, ‘Aw yeah, finally, it’s about time.’ They’re just happy to see that we’re trying to put something together.”
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