Last weekend (April 16-19th) I attended the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo in Calgary, Alberta. This was my fourth year attending the Expo, my third year actually designing and wearing a costume, my second year attending while not extremely hungover, and my first year attending without the second half of my original OTP (my best friend).
This was the Expo’s 10th official year, and they celebrated by pulling in some really awesome guests including actors like Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Mark Meer (Mass Effect voice actor), Ming Na-Wen & Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones), Stephen Amell (Arrow), & Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones). The comic world was also well-represented with some big print artists, like Garth Ennis (Preacher), but also by the creators of some immensely popular webcomics like Cyanide & Happiness, Girls with Slingshots, Least I Could Do, & Questionable Content.
Big-name stars aside, the Expo also hosted a number of really interesting and well-attended panels. I’m only one person, so unfortunately I only managed to attend a few, but I really enjoyed all of them. Some of the really interesting (and pertinent) ones were “Women in Video Gaming”, which primarily featured women who work in the game industry (including Karin Weekes, Lead Editor at Bioware! And yes, I had to hold in my Dragon Age DLC questions…) and discussion centered around difficulties faced by women in the industry, ways to promote yourself within the industry, and some general talk around “gaming while female”.
Another panel that was particularly relevant to Her Story Arc was “Empowering Women in Fandom”, which included a diverse cross-section of women who were self-admitted ‘geeks’. The talk was centered around enjoyment of fandom, and how it’s likely that it plays out differently for different people – in particular, there was an assertion made that men in fandom often have “curative” interests, involving the collection and accumulation of geeky paraphernalia (be it comics, figurines, t-shirts, etc) while women often practice “transformative” fandom, which involves creating (things like fanart, cosplay, fanfiction, etc). Both panels were very interesting and featured awesome, innovative women who led & created really insightful discussions.
Despite some controversy that involved an MRA- and GamerGate-affiliated group (the Honey Badger Brigade) buying a booth under false pretenses (you can read a summary of the incident at The Mary Sue, if you’re interested), the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo this year was an all-around great experience that featured some truly amazing women in all flavours of geekery. I can’t wait for next year!
PS. I did take some photos of great cosplay when I managed to spot them – my photo collection is far from comprehensive, though. See below:
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