Fan Expo Vancouver 2018 Report

25 Oct

215d2-fanexpovancouverBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Anyone who enjoys reading comic books, meeting celebrities and shopping for geeky novelties will flock to events like Fan Expo Vancouver (FXV), no matter when or where it takes place. This year, they moved from their November slot to October mid-month, from Oct 12-14th and scaled it back. Those who have frequently been to this annual event noticed.

Instead of taking up two floors of the West Vancouver Convention Center, everything was packed into one space. As I have reported in previous articles, the East Building has SHUX, a closed to the public board game event. I could approach check-in and look yonder to know the layout was similar to FXV’s. And that’s to pack everything into one space instead of spreading it out. This event probably took up three-quarters of the main floor. On the map, the area dedicated to panels and sellers were smaller and I was glad to know I was not missing anything special. Attendees to this event were not here to shop, but rather play demos and new games; I could not spot card games like Magic the Gathering.

If I had to pick between two events the same weekend, my money is on Fan Expo.

hpI enjoyed walking the floor and window shopping. There were many vendors and few exhibitors (HP spotlighting their latest rig, the Omen, and the frame rates are wickedly smooth, Sony showing off the games coming for the PlayStation 4, and London Drugs with goods to sell.

From Sony, I played two of their upcoming VR games. I feel Beat Saber is very solid. If it arrived in stores now, I would own it! Ever since it came out for the Oculus, I knew I had to play it to death. Their version of Tetris VR is also crazy. It’s an immersive experience where every time a row of blocks is completed, fancy explosions fill my vision. I understand the trick here; overwhelm the player so the next tile of blocks might be missed.

Also, I chatted with at least half of the media guests when the lineups were light. If there were any for Jaleel White (Family Matters, the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog), I must have missed finding them. The others had people whenever I glanced towards the celebrity booth area. Most of the guests were cordial. I was especially interested in this year’s show because of Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman from the 90’s animated series and Justice League. During his panel, he talked very briefly about his time in theatre and how it helped him become that voice he’s famous for, Batman from the animated series of the 90s.

Lou Ferrigno offered tales from back when The Incredible Hulk TV series was filming. He also mentioned how his voice was the basis for the new Hulk in Disney/Marvel’s cinematic universe and did not offer any spoilers on whether he will return to the studio to record lines at the conclusion to Infinity Wars is still in production.

Ron Perlman is larger than life, and he’s the type of guy who take no bleep from anyone. With the panels being Q&A from the audiences, he responded to a lot of queries from all the television or movie series he worked in. He even clued audiences in on what del Toro’s Hellboy 3 might have been. Hellboy and Lizzie’s kids would be important, and they would play a role in shaping the apocalypse. None of this director’s ideas were set on paper, but the two had a chat in where the final part of the trilogy could have gone.

When considering Dark Horse Comics is publishing William Gibson‘s treatment of Aliens 3, I’m hopeful that fans will one day get to see what could have been.

Saturday was very busy. With noise levels all concentrated in one space, being outside the building was better to converse and play Pokemon GO. The area was lit up with lures and I searched for Mewtwo when I had nothing else to do at the show. I had maybe half an hour and the rest most mostly sitting in on the main panels and waiting in line for photo ops. Sadly, FXV and SHUX combined were not enough to convince Niantic to dial up the Unown meter; I would love to catch more of this elusive critter and as I recall, not even Emerald City Comic Con had this video game company’s attention.

For those looking for the latest news, the Fan Expo shows are not known for releasing big news. The guests can not give away details of their latest projects. As reported by World Goes Pop, Benedict Wong suggested filming for Doctor Strange 2 will begin soon. Conroy briefly said something about Batman: Hush, which is next to release in Warner Entertainment’s schedule, but no details were offered.

Wil Wheaton began his stage time telling folks what it felt like to struggle with chronic depression. He is a standup guy, and I could relate. I appreciate how these talents are always about staying positive. I attended enough conventions where these talents want their fans to be just as happy as they are. I was particularly interested at his time developing the Video Toaster for the Amiga computer and we chatted about what could have been had Commodore Business Machines became more prominent in the marketplace. Sadly, it was not in the cards given how open architecture ruled the technical world than closed.

This year, FXV had musical artist Lights appearing and signing autographs of her latest comic book, Skin & Earth. Her star power brightened up the hall, and I almost bumped into her on my way back to the guest area. She’s hard not to miss. The line up was huge and all everything her team brought to sell was gone within minutes! No evening concert was offered, and I thought that was a missed opportunity. When considering her appearance was announced two weeks before, most folks were likely aware that adding performance would not be as good as a show properly prepared for at Rogers Arena.

FXV celebrates many aspects of fandom, and the representation is certainly there. The Eastern shows have WWE stars, and I’m waiting for the day to this happen.

To help promote Aquaman, Jason Momoa was the highlight. The fact he was spotted on Vancouver Island the same weekend for a film shoot showed that, at least for this star to be called away, he’s a helicopter ride away. Many fans know this star on the rise when he was in Stargate: Atlantis. Had this titan had the time, to see him alongside Joe Flanigan and Alaina Huffman and talk about their mutual series would have had Sunday at the main presentation area packed. Instead, these two stars talked about this franchise’s staying power and believe MGM still has something up their sleeve (aside from Stargate Command) to keep interest alive.

As for how long this event will continue, many fans and vendors expressed their concerns. Some were openly talking about what it may be like come March. What this event need is its own date instead of moving all over the calendar. No matter where in the world these shows happen, finding the ideal date is tough.

When attendees cannot afford to travel, they will stick to homegrown events. For those willing to spend the extra cash, they can cross the border if that is their desire. Unlike other events happening the same month, Fan Expo always celebrated a bit of everything. As a general show, it’s great. When fans want a heavy comic book, science fiction or anime presence, plenty of selection exists in the Pacific Northwest.

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