CALGARY COMIC & ENTERTAINMENT EXPO 2012 Wrap Up: STAR TREK, THE WALKING DEAD & FUTURAMA
Published: May 8, 2012 - 6:50am
Canada’s Western Comic-Con (April 27-29) was absolutely blasted with more people than the convention has ever seen. At one point on Saturday, the city fire marshal shut down access to the event. Despite the chaos, comic legend Stan Lee, cast from Futurama and the entire reunited main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation made it to the sold out show.
One of the most amazing things I've ever seen not just at the Expo, but all time, was Levar Burton singing the theme song to Reading Rainbow during a hilarious panel with Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton. We all know that Wheaton has become a 'geek' idol after his time on Star Trek: The Next Generation but what truly shocked me was how funny Spiner was. It was such a stark contrast to his character Data and I had no clue how zany the guy is. The immense Expo crowd was definitely due to the entire main cast of TNG reuniting and despite being a Star Wars guy myself, I was happy to take part in nerdgasmic history.
The godfather of comics made a massive impact in Calgary and his panel was one I'll never forget. He reminisced about his past, made fun of DC comics for changing their name from National Comics and reminded everyone why Marvel is such a special part of history. When a small child dressed like Captain America asked Lee which Marvel film adaptation was his favorite he replied:
"You know, picking just one would offend so many people and I love them all... However... I just saw The Avengers and let me just say that Joss Whedon has made a movie that will forever change the way superhero films are made," said Lee.
Seeing Billy West (Fry) and John DiMaggio (Bender) talk about one of the cleverest animated TV series of all time was another highlight of my trip. The two were hilarious and whether it was West having a conversation with himself as Dr. Zoidberg and Ren & Stimpy or DiMaggio doing Bender getting his ass buffed – I was in heaven. What I did find interesting was West's brutally honest critique on A-List actors collecting $20 million paydays for doing the same voice over and over, specifically Cameron Diaz (Shrek). West went off on the actress saying:
"Cameron Diaz - she has a nine foot mouth and she doesn't do good voices. (West then mimicks Diaz' high pitch voice and says 'Somebody f*** me')." DiMaggio piped in after a roar of laughter from the crowd saying, "She runs the acting gamut from A to B."
Adam West truly is as strange as you think he is. He did confirm that Julie Newmar is his favourite Catwoman and that he doesn’t like any of the later Batman films because they’re too dark. "You know what they call me don't you? The bright knight," said West. Lance Henriksen got choked up while talking about the horror classic Pumpkinhead. He actually started to tear up several times while reminiscing about the sad moments of the film and it was quite incredible to get up close and personal with such an amazing actor. Where else can you see Bishop from Aliens cry about a movie called Pumpkinhead? Thank you Calgary Expo.
I’m going to get this out of the way – the Calgary Expo did not have a good back-up plan for the immense size of the surging crowds. It was far too much for the convention to handle. I was fortunate enough to skip lines with a media badge, but thousands and thousands of people waited in more line-ups than I’d ever seen, only for many of them to be turned away. Or worse yet, to be locked into the building when the fire marshal shut down access, as security warned convention goers that if they left the building, they wouldn’t be allowed back in.
The Calgary Comic Expo is at the level now where backup plans for these chaotic mishaps of crowd surges need to be mapped out in advance. I saw an Expo organizer yell for security to shut the door as several hands of fans eager to get in began to creep in openings like a horde of zombies. The show floor was a horror film for most of Saturday. This is a big problem and I truly hope the Expo is ready for the onslaught of 2013 so we don’t run into thousands of angry nerds trying to ‘zombie’ their way into the show.
I also would like to say that the volunteers running the Stan Lee autograph line were some of the rudest individuals I’ve ever encountered, one of which yelled and shoved me along the line telling me to “Take the comic out of the plastic, NOW!” This was after four hours of waiting in line mind you. In the end I had my ‘Web of Spider-Man #1” autographed by Stan the Man, but the journey there was brutal. After that moment however, the show began to improve as the zombie fanpocalypse subsided outside.
The comic creator presence this year was not as prevalent as 2011 however and that was kind of sad. While last year the comic crowd was jampacked, it seems like more room was made for the big media guests like Robert Englund, Michael Rooker, Patrick Stewart and James Marsters. I’d like to see more ‘comic’ creators at the Expo next year, but that’s just me. It was a blast talking with Jim Zub from Skullkickers and Fiona Staples of Saga, which I proudly told her was well on its way to being the comic of the year. I had a blast and despite the crowding issues, this was by far the best Calgary Comic Expo yet and I can't wait for next year……Because it looks like the Calgary Expo is scouting a potential Star Wars original cast reunion for 2013. I will be there and I will be in my glory if that's the case.