Whether you’re a superhero fanatic or into the Japanese stylization of media, you can find yourself in one way or another at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo. This September, nerds, geeks, and freaks were all left with an autograph from their favourite actor and collectibles that will never be opened; Either way, fans were left with no money to spare. If you happened to be one of the lucky patrons that got to attend, then you will be aware of the Expo’s highs and lows.
We got to meet James Masters, a seasoned cast member on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Marvel’s Runaways, and a talented guitarist and singer. Saturday night was his live show — a bluesy and soulful unplugged performance that had the crowd swooning over both story and song. The intimate performance was a lovely way to close a hectic Saturday.
While apart from his band, Ghost of the Robot, Marsters describes his excitement for playing the Edmonton crowd as “so delicious” because of the high pressure stakes of messing up during a live performance versus on-screen performance. He says: “With acting, at least, you can kind of go around the mistake and kind of use it to your benefit. With music, if you hit one wrong note it’s just not right, there’s no way to make that work.”
Like many of the other guests, Marsters was unable to comment on his future acting ventures; his band, however, has just released their newest album, Tin Man, in which Marsters’ son, Sullivan Marsters, takes the helm. Marsters says,“. . . by the last album that we just did, not one decision was made but [the band] went ‘And Sullivan, is that okay? Is that good?’”
“So, he’s taken over the band. He’s unfairly talented, it’s not even fair.” Like father, like son.
Insanely talented actors, artists, creators and voice actors come to meet some of their biggest fans.
During the convention, we met up with Sarah Natochenny, who was the main voice of Ash Ketchum from the Pokémon franchise of video games, TV shows and movies for the last 17 years. Like the thousands of people at the Edmonton Expo, the actress — who started doing the beloved role when she was just 18 — also knows what it’s like to get wrapped up in the phenomenon of fandom.
“I get it. I get what fans go through when they meet us — It’s a really beautiful experience,” says Natochenny. “When I met Jodi Benson [the voice actress for Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid], I cried. I might have scared her a little bit.”
While clearly a big Disney fan, it makes sense that after all these years, Natochenny would also be a big fan of Pokémon. We found out that her favourite Pokémon starter choice is Charmander, her favourite game from the series is Pokémon Go, and her favourite episode of the TV show was “Seeing the Forest for the Trees!”
“It’s an episode where so many things happen,” she says. “Ash saves a Spewpa from a tree. He gets into a fight with Serena, there’s a weather event…”
But other favourites were some of the last episodes she recorded as Ash for the Pokémon Ultimate Journeys TV series.
Natochenny played the role for seventeen years before hanging up the fingerless gloves when Ash finally won the Pokémon World championship. The series concluded the franchise on Ash’s most outstanding achievement, which Natochenny feels grateful to have been a part of.
But since she finished recording in May, Natochenny has been travelling non-stop, and the convention circuit has got her in touch with thousands of fans.
“I spent 17 years in a booth by myself with a director on the other side of the glass,” she says. “I don’t perform for anybody I can see or hear, so it’s really nice to get out and hear people’s reactions to my work.”
After we met with celebrities and checked out cosplayers, artists, and vendors, we were pooped. Our feet were sore, our eyes were baggy, and we may have developed some twitches from drinking a bit too much caffeine. But, it was all worth it for three days of satisfying convention chaos.