From film stars to comic art to toys for geeks

Fanboys and girls descend on Calgary Expo

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo expects to welcome more than 60000 people through its doors from April 24 to 27. Most are looking for a photo or autograph from film and TV stars though there are still the fanboys and girls eager to pick through the stacks of back issues and spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on statues toys and other nerdy fetish properties. There are also loads of panels on everything from comic art to animation TV and video games. I love it.

On the guest list if it’s TV and film you’re excited about there’s loads to see including Bruce Campbell ( The Evil Dead ); Mr. C-3P0 himself Anthony Daniels; Danny Glover (your guess is as good as mine); The Walking Dead ’s Laurie Holden and Michael Rooker; George Romero ( Night of the Living Dead ); Matt Smith ( Doctor Who ); and Carlton Banks himself Alfonso Ribeiro ( The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ).

Amongst all of the celebrity hype it’s easy to forget why comic cons got started in the first place — meeting cartoonists comic book artists and writers. This year’s Expo has tons of ’em. The list of writers includes Deadpool ’s Gerry Duggan the prolific Greg Rucka and Constantine ’s Ray Fawkes. Artists include Nick Bradshaw ( Guardians of the Galaxy ) Terry and Rachel Dodson ( Wonder Woman ) and local Calgarians Riley Rossmo ( Bedlam ) and Fiona Staples ( Saga ). You’ll also have a chance to meet cult hero James O’Barr (writer and artist of The Crow ); ; and everyone’s inner tweenage favourite R.L. Stine ( Goosebumps ).

Though a lot of the Expo is given to fans looking to meet celebrities crowds of folks have a blast just wandering the floor and checking out the costumes on display. The festival has three of the more famous cosplayers on the festival circuit attending: Lindsay Elyse Monika Lee and Jessica Nigri. For more cosplay awesomeness be sure to watch the second annual POW! Parade of Wonders winding its way downtown to Olympic Plaza on Friday April 25 and the Costume Contest on Saturday April 26.

There are also a couple of special separately ticketed side events. The Calgary Expo website says they’re separately ticketed so the larger cost of the events isn’t absorbed into the overall price tag of the Expo. It kinda makes sense. Not everyone wants to listen to various hobbits and other assorted fantasy beard-oes talk about how totally awesome the catering was on Lord of the Rings . (That’s the Middle-earth EXPOsed event on Friday April 25.) There’s also a concert with musician and Highlander: The Series actor Jim Byrnes on Friday April 25. I am immortal; I have inside me blood of blues musicians! Er kings. Sorry.

The big ticket is Aliens EXPOsed (Saturday April 26) featuring key cast members from James Cameron’s action horror classic including Sigourney Weaver Michael Biehn Paul Reiser Lance Henriksen Jenette Goldstein and Mark Rolston. You’ll also be able to see Carrie Henn (Newt) all grown up. I hear she mostly comes out at night… mostly. And if Bill Paxton doesn’t bust out a “Game over man!” demand your money back.