Your friendly neighborhood Comic Expo

Author: Jasmine Atay

In many ways, Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo’s story is akin to Peter Parker’s (a.k.a Spiderman).

Like Spiderman, the Expo came from humble beginnings. It began when a group of locals, with a love for all things comics, sci-fi and fantasy-related, decided to replicate international culture conventions they had attended. Bookish and not wildly popular, similar to Peter Parker, the Expo had a long way to go before it became the confident and successful event known today. 

On May 7, 2006, the Expo first opened its doors to 3,400 attendees. Small by today’s standards, they managed to join forces with a few vendors and put on a fun kids’ show. The Expo met its radioactive spider in 2012 when they hosted the original cast members for Star Trek: The Next Generation. That year was so popular among pop culture/sci-fi fans, that many attendees were turned away due to space restriction. Since then, the Expo has followed a different format to accommodate a growing number of attendees year-after-year. 

Now the second biggest of its kind in Canada, the Expo sees over 90,000 fans annually. The 2018 Parade of Wonders saw 17,750 spectators, up by 15% from 2017, and the increase in costume participants nearly doubled from the previous year. 

Big name celebrities and artists, like Stan Lee, Scott Campbell and Anthony Daniels, to the cast of Back to the Future (minus Micheal J. Fox) and Jeff Goldblum are part of the Expo’s charm. Couple that with the energy brought by thousands of dedicated fans. 

“I don’t come to many Expos like this, but maybe I should! The energy you get from the fans of all sorts of genres, not just Star Wars, is stuff that I have never heard or seen. People really get into it,” says Anthony Daniels. 

Despite the success, the Expo has not forgotten it origins and, with great power comes great responsibility. The Expo continues to participate in charity initiatives including the annual art-book auction, VIP pass eBay auction, Make-A-Wish foundation of Southern Alberta and the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew. Altogether, the Calgary Expo has become part of the web that makes Calgary’s culture.

The energy you get from the fans of all sorts of genres... that makes Calgary’s culture.

Photos by @mushroomandthemouse and @jasmine.atay.creative

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