When the local fandom communities want to be heard, they’ll certainly roar at Fan Expo Vancouver 2023 (FXV). That’s what Vice-President Andrew Moyes wants to hear, and he was at the show to make sure it goes off without a hitch. He’s been with the company for over 10 years to help deliver this experience all over North America, and their primary goal is to deliver community driven events. “These aren’t travelling circuses,” this organiser said, “We are delighted by the support we received from the fandom community in Vancouver. It shows our fans have faith in what we are delivering.”
Regarding this and Portland’s show happening the same weekend, he said it was done to synergize the two, so no fan will feel left out. Part of it also had to do with the dates the State-side convention centre had open. Moyes put forth the answer to his own question, “Do I think it’s going to happen all the time? Not necessarily. But when those opportunities present themselves, it helps us elevate the experience for all to enjoy.”
When the company’s social media channels said its first two days were sold out during BC’s event, I’m sure some last-minute attendees weren’t feeling too sad. About 250 tickets were made available each day, so stragglers could visit. Not every event, including Emerald City Comic Con, gives those folks the opportunity; they have to check Lyte Badge Exchange in order to avoid buying from scalpers (which is still a problem for this State-side event).
The Fan Expo company is aware of the hurdles. When the pandemic was a big thing, they weren’t just limiting tickets. They were talking to health authorities to deliver a safe show. Also, the organisers reached out to local groups about how to bring that unique city flavour into their city’s pop culture exposition. This year, FXV wanted to partner up with restaurants for additional promotion and exchange. There’s no report yet about how successful it was, and I’m okay with new experiments each year. Those who attended Monday had Pikachu hiding around as one of the many Pokemon themed activities (more on this in part two).
As I roamed the show floor, there were a lot of various representation. This ranged from the anime clubs saying we exist to showing off locally made board or role playing game products. Also, the big groups, namely the Outer Rim Garrison, Ghostbusters of BC, and Cloudscape Comics Community were present.
For the paranormal enthusiast, a few new people were introduced. One aspect of Fan Expo Vancouver 2023 that’s changed is in how the “horror” content has shifted. Although that was Rue Morgue’s domain during this exposition’s start, the shift to authentic paranormal is one I’m adoring. Not only did we have Morgue Anne‘s scholarly look at Women’s Role in Horror Films, but also tales of alleged haunts with Stephanie Watts from Ghostly Vancouver Tours, Ian Gibbs who wrote Vancouver’s Most Haunted and Janessa & Glen Ferguson, a husband-wife team who’ve “gone solo.” (pictured left to right)
They were once with the Canadian Paranormal Society, but after that group disbanded, smaller associations formed to explore the Greater Mainland in a more intimate manner. There’s at least seven groups servicing this area, and as for “Who are you gonna call?” that’s not subject to debate here. Cornerstone Paranormal and the Vancouver Paranormal Society are perhaps the big two. Both presented at this event before.
And to be fair, the company wants to keep their programming fresh every year. It’s not involve the same, but as many groups and organizations as possible, according to Moyes. And they are not limiting it to just this world, but others too. In regards to more spooky fun, he said, “Vancouver has a robust paranormal scene. In the past, we’ve featured true crime podcasters, and paranormal investigators as the features of this programming track. The fans have really loved this component, so we’ll definitely be taking a look at how to present it in 2024.”
On a wet night, I’m sure the ghostly walk is the beginning of returning after-hours activities. It’s a tour of the haunted side of the Downtown area for newcomers. Veterans like me are not as likely to partake. And when Deadman’s Island off Stanley Park is widely known as off limits to investigators, I didn’t feel the need to take part. There was a after party at a board game themed restaurant, which is different from the one long ago. It all depends if one likes to drink, socialise or play games.
The variety of panels are are always hit and miss for me. That is, the mileage will vary based on how knowledgeable an attendee already is. There were comic book duels, introductions to the local communities, learning how to become a voice over talent (where the focus went elsewhere than originally intended) and a history of anime clubs in Vancouver. Regarding the latter, that world was nurtered by William Chow and Chadwick Ma during the 90s. Both of them helped to grow the scene because of the dedication they had. The two were part of Arctic Animation sic Vancouver Anime Club before this century brought in a lot of changes and fresh faces.
In part two, I will look at the other aspects of Fan Expo Vancouver 2023, and in part three will be a gallery expanding what’s offered here in this post and the next one. And I’ll have concluding remarks from Moyes regarding the future of Fan Expo Vancouver.