We’re all nerds.
That isn’t to say that, if we plumbed our hidden depths, we’d find a Star Trek fan waiting, or a fully dressed imperial stormtrooper ready to blast out. Nerds are just those folks who’ve found themselves so completely enamoured with something cool that they don’t feel the need to restrict their intake or hide their joy. Fast Forward Weekly lives off the passions of a retinue of nerds: music nerds, film nerds and arts nerds just to name a few, all trying to have a good time in Calgary. Because frankly: Being a nerd is where things start to get damn fun.
The Calgary Entertainment & Comic Expo is a showcase for just a few of those obsessive, shared loves. Comic aficionados, of course, have a place centre stage, but with the recent influx of blockbuster superhero movies and the $2 billion acquisition of comic giant Marvel by Disney, it’s getting harder to argue that comics live on the fringes. And why should they?
This year’s expo features writers and artists who’ve made the genre such an explosive force, from the X-Men’s Chris Claremont to Steve Niles, the creator of the vampire horror 30 Days of Night. And don’t forget independent darlings like Eric Powell, creator The Goon and its noirish zombie-bashing goodness, and Stan Sakai, who created a wandering rabbit ronin named Usagi Yojimbo. Plus, there’s always the easy access of web comics if you’re looking for something a little less paper-intensive.
All that’s required to begin obsessing about web comics is the inevitable downtime of a slow workday. Web comic expo guests providing your fix of Internet fame include figures like Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics, who managed to spin an ongoing, seven-year run out of nothing but an unchanging set of comic panels and his own heady wit, and Sam Logan, whose Sam and Fuzzy reads something like a cross between Calvin and Hobbes and… something much more vile.
The rest of the expo runs a varied gamut that includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, animation, video games and tabletop gaming. Voice actors, video game developers, even Twilight personalities (because what’s the point of judging someone else’s obsession?) — there’s a scratch for every nerdy itch.
And if you retain any skepticism about your own nerdity, just take a look at the expo’s line-up of familiar media personalities to see the popular impact of our obsessions.
Leonard Nimoy, the man who will be Spock until his dying day, will be there, as well as Aaron Douglas, who played “The Chief” on Battlestar Galactica — the most stunningly successful “hard” sci-fi shows in recent memory. And Malcolm McDowell, droog to all Clockwork Orange fans, will be opening a 30th anniversary screening of the film.
In the end, an overview article on the expo isn’t guaranteed to identify that perfect lever for sending you into a Round Up Centre full of excited folks. Maybe you’d rather take in the costume contest than sit down for one of the expo’s many tabletop gaming sessions. That’s cool. Because if you’re already a nerd, why not try and enjoy it?