Image: Supanova Pop Culture Expo
With the 2017 Supanova circuit due to start soon, I thought it was the perfect time to revisit my first ‘Nova, just last year!
Brisbane Supanova 2016
Walking out of the humidity that is Brisbane today, I entered the Convention Centre to find Heaven on Earth.
All around me were people enjoying the best that the Geekdom has to offer. The swirl of colours that made up their cosplays; characters I know and love and more who I hope to someday meet. But if you weren’t in costume, that doesn’t matter either. We each found a way to let our fandom colours fly.
As I’m sitting outside to write this, I look to my left and spot an anime swordsman in his long coat. He’s surrounded by people in suits rushing home from their work for the week. It is truly amazing.
Sorry, back to the expo now. With dozens of stalls, there was something catching my eye every few steps. Very soon I had my first bag with original prints (a set of bending scrolls from Avatar), and a pocket full of business cards. Alongside those came the flyers, advertising nerf battles, LARPing, and historical re-enactment groups.
Defending the Empire from the rebel scum were the 501st Redback Garrison. With his blaster aimed at me, a Stormtrooper had me stand for my wanted poster. I was then robbed of my hard earned credits to support their cause. Ok, so maybe they were talking spare change for charity, not a benevolent empower. Bad guys doing good.
In an effort to stop myself from buying everything I saw, I headed upstairs to the Madman Cosplay Theatre. It was there I got to listen to Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and Ian Bohen (Teen Wolf) talk with fans about their trade as actors in the fantasy genre. With Ian preferring to play the ‘bad guy’ much of the time due to the fact he feels those characters can be fun to play with their sarcasm and dark humour, Natalia shared that she often likened her characters to animals to help her find their mannerisms (Osha from GOT is a racoon apparently).
Next I was thrown back to my childhood in the weirdest way. By hearing John DiMaggio, Billy West, Steve Blum, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and Veronica Taylor put their voice acting talents to use. With non-stop laugher coming from both the audience and the stage, there wasn’t a lot of time for questions, but I don’t think anyone was disappointed. Jokingly referring to their visit as the ‘2016 Election Apology Tour’, guests were treated to hearing Donald Trump quotes from Zap Brannigan, Jake the dog singing Bacon Pancakes, and grumpy Garazeb Orrelios talking about bashing those bucket heads.
Day one of my first ‘nova was definitely a memorable one! I can’t wait to see what day two brings!
Being the start of the weekend, Day 2 was much busier! Having had a good look around the floor yesterday, today I hit up some seminars.
First one out of the gate was ‘Through the Looking Glass’. Sub-titled Seeing Ourselves in Popular Culture there were passionate discussions to be had about the presence and importance of diversity in pop culture. There’s such a massive variety of people in this world, all of whom deserve a hero they can relate to. Suicide Squad was an example given of a film that showcases a range of characters. Already, this issue is at the front of many minds and there’s one key way to ensure that every man, woman, and child has a hero they can look up to and see themselves in. Create! We’ve seen changes made to some old characters over the past few years. If you still don’t see what you want in the hero-verse, then put those pens to paper and create the characters you want to see!
Leaving that first seminar, I did an about face and lined right back up in front of the same room. The cast and crew of Space/Time, an Australian sci-fi flick, were up to tell us all about their project. Slated to release in 2017, this will be one to watch out for.
Author extraordinaires, Matthew Reilly, Alan Baxer, Maria Lewis, and Lian Hearn were the next group on my list with Rise of the Anti-Hero. Surprise guest Greg Grunberg joined the panel as they discussed the age old characterisation ‘anti-hero’, asking if this beloved character had seen their last adventure. With opinions split and valid arguments to both side, our time was soon up.
After a quick break for a late lunch, it was time for the last seminar for the day. Mico Suayan, Tom Taylor, Ryan K. Lindsey, and Mark Raats were her to talk Comics to Movies. Their lists of loves and hates about current comic book-based movies, and a list of those they’d want to see made left me with films to re-watch and new comics to read.
And so, day two had come to an end. Torn between exhaustion and excitement, I spent my train ride reading new books I’d picked up and wondering what tomorrow would bring.
The third and final day of Supanova Brisbane 2016 was going to be a full-on experience. With a full timetable of talks I wanted to see, it was going to be busy!
First up was Stop Using that Trope! where I wonce again got to hear the opinions of Alan Baxter and Maria Lewis, joined this time by Kim Wilkins, Jane Abbot, and Angela Slatter. It was unanimously agreed that ‘sexy’ weapons and armour for ladies in stories needed to stop, and that those same ladies needed to stop falling for the asshole guys. ‘Chosen One’ were another trope that needs a revamp; heroes don’t need to come from important blood lines, just let them be heroes because they’re awesome people! When all was said and done, it was decided that tropes didn’t need to be completely thrown out the door. Instead, they can be embraced and evolved to fit today’s story expectations!
Comic artists Mico Suayan, Phil Noto, and David Yardin were pitted against each other in the Supa-Star Sketch-Off! Three very different styles of artist were tasked to draw a space version of our guest model, Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad’s Katana). The catch? They only had half an hour to complete their artwork, and they had to answer our questions while they went. Once the timer finished, the audience were presented with three completely different portraits, all of which blew me away.
In Monsters and Magic Peter V. Brett, Lian Hearn, and Nicholas and Alison Lochel discussed the art of fantasy writing; disclosing their favourite types of magic and what monsters made their blood run cold!
Alisha Jade, Christine Chien, Samantha Calcraft, and Jessica Gibson talked ladies in the comic industry with Taking Over: Women and the Brisbane Comics Scene. These artist, writers, and sellers of comics walked us through their entrance an involvement in the business.
My last scheduled talk for this huge weekend was to see the one and only Matthew Reilly! One of my favourite authors, Matthew was fantastic to listen to as he answered questions about his books, writing in general, and much more. After his talk, I made the dash back to the main floor to get my copy of Contest signed by Mr Reilly. This was the first of his novels I was given and, if pushed to pick, I would dare to say it’s my favourite.
With all my chosen tasks completed, I strolled through the main floor one last time. My wallet came when I came across some of the comic creators I’d listened to over the weekend. Alisha Jade (Featured in the anthology Starrytellers) and Ryan K. Lindsey (Negative Space, Deer Editor) were both awesome to chat to and I left the convention once and for all with some signed copies of their works.
Thus ended one of the most amazing, fun-filled, and action-packed, weekends I have ever experienced!
Lastly, a massive shout out to the guests, stall holders, organisers, and volunteers that make each Supanova such a brilliant event!!