Thousands of pop culture enthusiasts descended upon the Vancouver Convention Centre over the Easter long weekend for Fan Expo: Vancouver 2015. Cosplayers, collectors and fans of TV and movies cruised the aisles of the convention centre during the three day event to dress up as their favourite pop culture heroes, find toys, comics and artwork and to meet the stars of some of the most popular films and shows in pop culture.
Among the stars in attendance was Arrow‘s Oliver Queen himself, Stephen Amell. Joining Amell was fellow Arrow cast member, John Barrowman, Carrie Fisher (Star Wars), Lance Hendrickson (Aliens), Chad Coleman (The Walking Dead), Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG), and the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner. The celebrities in attendance signed autographs for their legion of fans, posed for photos and led Q & A’s throughout the weekend. Fans at the event expressed their delight at how entertaining Carrie Fisher’s Q & A session was and how friendly the celebrities were, particularly John Barrowman, who thrilled some fans when they bumped into him in one of the aisles.
West coast cosplayers represented themselves admirably with an array of inventive costumes. Deadpool was popular – Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds is currently in town shooting the big screen adaptation of Deadpool – as were several versions of Harley Quinn, Superman, Batman, characters from Star Wars, Star Trek and Anime. Tintin and Magnum P.I. even made appearances, but the highlight of the weekend was the individual dressed up as a full sized Tauntaun. Full marks to whoever put that costume together and the way they were able to move through the aisles like Mr. Snuffleupagus in an episode of Sesame Street.
Artist alley and the retailer section was a big hit. Professional comic book artists such as Dan Parent, the legendary Mike Zeck, Steve McNiven, Carey Nord, Kaare Andrews and Chad Hardin drew sketches and greeted fans. Alongside the professionals were several amateur artists showcasing their artwork as well as artisans selling crafts from jewelry to glass figurines. Fans and fellow artists were disappointed by the absence of comic book greats Bernie Wrightson and George Perez who missed the event due to health problems.
By all accounts, Fan Expo Vancouver had another successful weekend. Crowds were large, particularly on Saturday, even though the event took place on Easter Weekend. With word filtering through the vendors and artist alley that next year’s event will be moving to November, it will be interesting to see what effect it will have on attendance. Either way, the enthusiasm for comic books and pop culture is strong on the west coast and with the long lines and a full convention centre, Fan Expo: Vancouver will be another important stop on the comic convention schedule.