Okay, promotional T shirt, check, Business cards with book details on, check, Vampire red eye contact lenses, check, vampire fangs, check, hot looking girlfriend in cut down version of the promotional T-shirt, check, all set, then lets go.
The annual Geek/Nerd/dress up and meet the stars event called Supanova hits Brisbane around early to mid-November each year. With the Gold Coast version in early to mid-April the two events are far enough apart to stimulate interest, and not take any crowds from each other. The average geek or nerd needs to dress up in his costume at least twice a year, and with the recent announcement that Brisbane is to get its own Comicon in 2014, then the chance to dress up and get a photo call from other attendees will hit the dizzying heights of three events soon.
So what’s it all about I hear you ask? Supanova is described as a pop culture expo and it’s as good a description as any. To me it’s a many faceted thing, on one hand you get to meet some of your favourite TV and film stars, on another you get to meet the writers of some of your favourite books and comics, and on yet another hand you get to meet some of the artists you admire the work of on your favourite magazine or comic book cover. There are comic book stores, T shirt stores and all those little figurines that if you take them out of the box are worth nothing, yep you can get all of those there too. Autograph hunters not content with the celebrities on show selling their handwriting, can purchase a photo and genuine autograph from a stall with hundreds of well-known names from A to Z list actors. DVD and Blu-ray Discs are on sale at reasonable prices as are movie posters. Books, Comics and Graphic Novels are plentiful, as are swords and helmets and all the other paraphenalia you could want.
In the past there was even a crew of make-up artists that would make you look like a zombie or give you a realistic cut across the neck or face to scare the unwary public attending their first Supanova. There is always a band stand Karaoke and a bunch of muscle-bound wrestlers to keep the crowd wandering through the halls occupied. The really great thing to see though is everyone dressed up in their favourite pop culture outfit, be it a Marvel or DC superhero, or a Star Wars or Star Trek character they are all there. Sometimes Batgirl is a little overweight, but two seconds later an extremely lithe Poison Ivy will catch your attention. The extreme suntan on the Indian Superman is ignored as he is followed by the guy who looks like Robert Downey Jr’s twin brother in a full Mark 2 Iron Man suit clomping by. I haven’t even mentioned all the Japanese Anime outfits or the gaming that goes on as the latest trial versions are put out to garner public feedback.
The real joy of Supanova is the shared sense of belonging everyone attending has, we all fit in this mash up of an event. As you walk around the venue everyone is smiling and commenting upon what everyone else is wearing. Every person in costume is happy to give you their time and pose for a photo with you or your kids. Batman and The Joker pose together smiling as the R2D2 robot squeeks and buzzes to get your attention off to the side. Those that don’t just want a signed autograph have the opportunity to pose with the attending stars for a photo of their own, which the said stars will happily sign for them too. This year saw a big increase in the number of the various Dr’s that were wandering the halls trying to find the Tardis, as befits the 50th Anniversary of the Time Lord. Harry Potter characters were as popular as ever, but the new draw card was Game of Thrones with many a fair Princess and brattish Prince in attendance, and some truly sooty Mothers Of Dragons.
In the past I’ve met Spike and Cordelia from Buffy, Starbuck from the Battlestar Galactica remake, then Jaws from James Bond and Lafayette and the Vampire King from Tru Blood, not to mention the original Incredible Hulk. This year there were two shows that featured heavily with Game Of Thrones and Spartacus stars lining up to say hello. Liam McIntyre talked about the pressure of taking over the title role of Spartacus, and explained how he was a fan of the show way before being cast as Andy’s replacement. He is far more youthful than he appears in Spartacus and I look forward to seeing him in the upcoming Hercules film. Jerome Flynn playing the rough and ready bodyguard to the little fella that steals the show that is Game of Thrones was also a friendly conversationalist once he realised my vampire eyes and teeth were part of my promotional tour of Supanova.
Best of all though was the conversation I had with Lena Headey, the evil queen with a son that deserves to be severely disciplined. As I approached Lena she was busy arranging the photo to be signed, so she hadn’t seen either my eyes or teeth, until that is, she looked up to greet me. Taken back as she was at the sudden sight of a six foot plus, red eyed, drooling, fifty two year old bloke in a blood splattered white T-shirt. She uttered the most un-queenly line of “holy shit you scared the crap out of me”, as she quickly re-composed herself and began to laugh at being caught off guard in such a way. As luck would have it standing to the side was a young man bearing a striking resemblance to her screen son, accurately dressed up for the part too with crossbow in hand. When I pointed out to Lena that he deserved a good hiding for his behaviour she immediately jumped to his defence, describing him as a good boy that is just misunderstood.
Apart from taking in the sights and sounds of Supanova the other reason for my attendance is to meet and talk to other authors who have struggled to get their own work into print. The shared experience and willingness for these people to offer help and advice has been instrumental in giving me both encouragement and direction in getting my own novel into print. In particular I have met up with Anthony Puttee of the ‘Book Cover Café and Kev Webb a fellow author on his third book published. I can honestly say that the ten minutes of advice Anthony gave me upon our initial meeting has helped shape my novel into the first of a three book series rather than a Lord of the Rings epic, and is all the better for his advice.
So there you go Supanova the Pop Culture Expo with something for everyone, although before I sign off here, I should apologise, not only for literally scaring the crap out of Lena Headey, but also the poor girl acting as event staff, that was shocked at the appearance of my eyes and teeth as I was exiting the autograph hall. Sneaking back around to whisper into her ear I said, “It’s amazingly liberating to walk around among all this food, and not get noticed because everyone else is made up to look like something they are not”. I do hope the poor girl has got over the nightmares by now. Roll on April and Supanova on the Gold Coast, where my girlfriend has suggested I wear “The Flash” outfit, something to do with how quick I am apparently.