Oct. 17, 2012 - Issue #887: Dedfest
Albertan nerds unite!
Edmonton Expo kicks off its revamped, renamed approach to geekery
For seven years now, the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo has drawn Edmontonians down Highway 2 to celebrate its influx of niche pop-culture heroes, panels, costumes and more; likewise, Edmonton has pulled audiences up the same road for the Edmonton Collectible Toy and Comic Show to trade figures and finds, complete collections and showcase many guests in the same vein—shows with kindred spirits, certainly, but different approaches.
Now, the two fests have grown closer. Calgary Expo's Kandrix Foong and Edmonton's Shane Turgeon, proprietor of the Edmonton Collectible Toy and Comic Show, have joined forces to reshape the latter into the Edmonton Expo.
"The two of us have been friends for a little while, and most of the time when we're talking to each other, it's show related stuff: 'Hey, what do you think about this guy? Do you think this guy's worth this?'—very show-specific types of conversations," Foong explains over a phonecall. "And he was asking me to help him out and grow the Edmonton show for quite a while. And what had happened is, this year we were chatting, and he was like, 'All right, we're able to take a weekend in October in Edmonton. Can we make this thing work?'"
They could: now, instead of the Collectible Show happening in March (with the Calgary Expo dovetailing immediately in April), it'll adopt its new October weekend. A fall expo for Edmonton, a spring one for Cowtown.
Foong notes that while the two expos are now more similar in approach, the goal is to keep them as somewhat distinct entities.
"I definitely want to have a different flavour for the [Edmonton] show; I don't want to have it like a travelling circus, where it's the same thing going from one show to the next show," he says. "With Edmonton, because we're closer to Halloween, I think there's definitlely an opportunity to focus on a lot more of the horror elements. I also think that we can go into some of the metal and music, which is why we have some of the guests like Gwar and Fubar coming up to the show."
In addition to those two grabs, the Edmonton Expo's inaugural lineup includes the likes of Billy Dee Williams (Lando!) and Jewel Staite (Kaylee from Firefly!), alongside the bevvy of exhibitors, artists and cosplayers of every stripe (Adam West was scheduled to appear, but has had to cancel after a back injury. He's being replaced by Lee Majors—better known as The Six Million Dollar Man). There's a hard cap on ticket sales, too, in order to prevent the over-capacity problems that plagued Calgary's most recent Expo.
Steven Hodges, another one of the organizers helping develop the Edmonton show, notes that there's more than enough room for both fests in Alberta, because, quite simply, everyone has an inner geek that loves this sort of thing.
"I think that fandom, geekdom is that common ground that unites the majority of all of us," he says. "Because even if you're not the stereotypical geek or nerd, you lived Batman growing up: you watched the old-school Batman show on YTV as a kid, you watched The Next Generation on Sundays with your parents. Everybody has this sliver of geek in them, so I think to have a common ground like the Edmonton Expo, but also great events like Pure Spec and Animethon, and the Pop Culture Fair, and even the Edmonton Collectible Toy & Comic Book show in the past, is that common ground [where] we can all get together."
Sat, Oct 20 – Sun, Oct 21
Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo
Edmonton Expo Centre,
$16 (per day), $27.25 (weekend pass), $162 (VIP pass)
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