Pop culture enthusiasts around the city rejoiced at the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo last weekend. The expo happens every September and features a roster of celebrities and talents stretching across almost all formats of entertainment. Whether it was comic book demigod Stan Lee or Jenna Coleman, the costar of Doctor Who, there was something for everybody.
The expo halls were swarming with all manner of geeky fandom. From art booths to tattooists ready to ink you with that Harry Potter tattoo you’ve always wanted, the possibilities were limitless. The traditional comic convention art of cosplay was on display as well, with all manner of people in nerdy garb. Whether it was a family of vault dwellers from Fallout, or a Predator incarnation of the comic book character Deadpool (dubbed by fans as “Predpool”), familiar fictional faces were in full force.
Amongst the vendors was one of MacEwan University’s neighbours, Happy Harbor Comics. Jay Bardyla, who runs Happy Harbor, explained that the store has been involved with the expo since its inception. “We’ve been involved with the expo since the original one started up in Calgary 10 years ago,” said Bardyla. He added that there are differences between the Edmonton expo and other comic and entertainment conventions. Due to the Edmonton expo taking place during the thick of convention season in a low-key venue, people who visit are always at ease. “What you’ll get is a great array of people in a calmer setting,” said Bardyla. “It’s a fine balancing act.”
One of the expo guests was Brian O’Halloran, one of the stars of the Clerks franchise. It was O’Halloran’s first time in Edmonton and he explained that he enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere of both the city and the expo. “I hate to see it end,” said O’Halloran. He added that he is just as nerdy as the people attending the convention. “When I come to cons, I just nerd out,” he said. “I spend almost as much as some of the people here.” O’Halloran was eager to talk about his upcoming projects with famed director Kevin Smith. He is currently working on the Mallrats sequel, which has the working title Mallbrats, as well as Clerks 3.
Sean Gunn, one of the stars of last summer’s comic book blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, was also in attendance. Gunn was also visiting Edmonton for the first time and he shared O’Halloran’s enthusiasm towards the city. “The swell of support from the people at the expo is amazing,” said Gunn. He also discussed his upcoming work on the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. “We’re working with a few variations of the script and pre-production is in full swing,” he explained.
The Edmonton Expo was once again an intense collage of personalities and personas. The expo has earned its reputation for being a relaxing break from the madness of other major conventions, and many people are looking forward to what it will bring next year.