NEVER attended a pop culture expo before? Sarah Khazaal discusses her first-time experience visiting a massive expo after checking in at last weekend’s Armageddon Expo.
Prior to visiting Armageddon Expo 2013, I had built up this idea of what the event would be.
The event was to be a time to listen to the actors – who play our beloved characters – discuss their roles with us.It was an event for exhibitors to promote their brands and show us what they have to offer. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be so much more than what I had envisioned!
Armageddon lived up to its “by fans for the fans” reputation as the two-day fan expo created an atmosphere that could be described as inspirational. Seeing fans new and old interacting with one another to help build their respective fan-bases was great to see.
Walking into the main hall as a relative newbie to the expo experience (as I apparently was), I was overwhelmed by the incredible display of booths and tents – each of which housed many enthusiastic tenants selling their wares and showing off their crafts.
My mind was racing. “Run to the back, where Evanna Lynch awaits,” I thought. But as my feet began to move me there, I slowed more and more. The further I went into the hall, the more new and interesting things I had to pay attention to.
There’s a reason promoters received twice the amount of people attending this year in their new venue of the Melbourne Showgrounds.
The costumes! Oh yes, the costumes!
One of the most amazing aspects of the event is the extent that people go to with the creation of their costumes.
Walking around the event, you are met with so many people who have taken the time to replicate characters and prominent props from different comics, shows and movies.
From robots, to femme fatal replicas, the jam packed event space had it all. Most of these characters for the day had spent many weeks hand-crafting their costumes!
This aspect of Armageddon helped to demonstrate the passion and authenticity of the gathering as a whole.
The fandom on hand was only extended through the display that most people presented. Without this, the nature of the event would surely be altered.
The weekend was also dedicated to a variety of forums which offered fans the opportunity to be able to engage with their beloved characters and creators
After attending panels for Harry Potter‘s Evanna Lynch and Supernatural‘s Ty Olsson, it was clear that there was definitely a lot of love felt towards the actors who ensure these characters come to life.
As great as it is to meet the actors though, Armageddon also gives proper credit to the creators and artists that bring the books and comics that actors rely on.
There were varying panels that allowed fans to meet, greet and pick apart the brains of these talented artists and writers.
When these artists were not set up in specific panels, their work lined the walls of the hall, where they took the chance to answer questions that aspiring artists had.
Among the great oddities that were seen while walking around during the day was the Red Dalek, created by filmmaker, Gil Poznanski.
Born from the fan film, My Roommate Is a Dalek, this Red Dalek was a fully functional, hand built mobile robot.
Made from fibre glass, wood, plastic and other materials, the Dalek – which took ten months to build, as opposed to the originally thought two weeks – allowed someone to actually sit inside and interact with their surroundings.
Undoubtedly an impressive sight, this creation was another testament to the commitment fans have to their choice of fandom, especially considering that 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.
Using the fanbase for charity
Warming my heart was the realisation that people would use the fanbase, and its strength, as a way of making a difference.
Scott Loxley (dressed as Darth Vader in the above photo) was at the expo,spreading the notice of a future charity event over the weekend.
Raising money for the Monash Children’s Hospital, I learnt that Scott intended to walk his way around Australia in a Stormtrooper costume.
A member of the 501st Leigon – a charitable volunteer organisation made up of dedicated Star Wars fans – the fundraiser for Scott’s walk, titled “Storming Australia”, begins on November 2.
That’s A Wrap!
It was clear that all elements of sci-fi fandom, as well as the various other fandoms including the worlds of fantasy, Japanese anime and otherwise, were in full throttle during Armageddon’s big weekend at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
For some aspects of Armageddon words fail, and only pictures can do justice to the experience.
It really did feel like an expo run by enthusiastic fans and was certainly a hospitable environment to be a part of.
After years of being in Melbourne, the festival continues to grow stronger and with its new venue of the Melbourne Showgrounds, things can only go forward from here on out.