So, last week I went to Supanova, a big pop culture expo sort of like Comic Con, with a few of my friends. We spent the whole day there and it was great fun getting to see and experience the geeky pop culture of it all.
Lots of my friends had gone to Supanova in previous years, and had tried to convince me to go with them, but I didn’t. So this year, I made up my mind I would go. I invited a few friends along, but none of them had been before so it was a new experience for all of us. One of my friends that came hardly knows anything about most of the kind of stuff you see at an expo like Supanova, but he was keen to learn.
We were planning on getting there half an hour before it opened, just so we could be ready, and be some of the first ones through the door. However, due to unforseen circumstances, we were delayed by about an hour. But this didn’t really matter because I had checked the schedule, using the Guidebook app which was quite handy, and couldn’t see anything we were going to be missing. When we did get there, we found a huge line of people waiting to buy tickets. But I’d already bought ours online. That’s a win to forward planning. Once we had exchanged our tickets for wristbands, and collected our underwhelming “showbag” of promotional flyers, we set about enjoying Supanova.There are three main attractions to the expo: the stalls and shops, the cosplay, and the stars …
If you go to Supanova, you have to check out the large variety of displays and stalls which fill the main hall. There, you can find artefacts for sale that reference practically any pop culture item you can think of, and a whole bunch you didn’t know existed. From sonic screwdrivers to replica guns and other weapons, from Spiderman comics to comics based on every one of Joss Whedon‘s works, from “Arrow to the Knee” t-shirts to unofficial Game of Thrones cookbooks, they had something to interest everyone. The four of us mainly just browsed around, having a laugh and seeing what they had. This occupied us for most of the day, even though we didn’t buy that many things. I was hoping to find a few things, but I knew they probably wouldn’t be any cheaper here. Going to Supanova, you look out for the unusual stuff that you can’t buy anywhere else, rather than trying to get a bargain. Having said that, you can be quite lucky with some things that are usually quite overpriced in stores. Apart from the stuff to buy, they also had various scenes for people to watch and interact with, such as a wrestling ring, arcade machines, and movie screenings. One of the funniest things was a giant Avengers blister pack, which you could take a photo of yourself in, to look like you were a toy action figure.
One of the most entertaining parts of Supanova was the cosplay, which is short for costume play. This is where people dress up to look like or represent a character of their choosing. Madman actually hold a cosplay competition at Supanova where individuals or groups can do a little act or song to go along with their attire. While I must admit, I didn’t get who most of these people were trying to be, when I did it brought me a lot of joy, because they had gone to such effort and had come up with such good ideas. Plus, I was just happy to understand… Some of my favourites was a girl in a grey dress and a hat-thing that looked like a Dalek, and a girl with a sign that said “I used to cosplay, but then this happened…”, and the end of an arrow was protruding out of a bundle of bandages around her knee. I know they don’t sound that impressive in writing, but you just had to see them. Some of the attention to detail that had gone into these costumes was incredible, and they didn’t even enter the cosplay competition. If I don’t go to Supanova next year, I’m going to make sure I at least go into the city to just watch all the cosplayers go past. And if I do go, I really want to dress up. So many people dress up, you almost feel out of place in normal clothes.
The other thing that attracts quite a few people to Supanova are all the stars and special guests that you can see there. Some of theguests this year were Wil Wheaton, Summer Glau (Bennett from Dollhouse, etc), Brian Bendis (Ultimate Spiderman writer) and Joss Whedon. But the thing is, out of that list, only one person was available to be seen without paying extra money. If you wanted to see Wil Wheaton or Summer Glau, you had to pay more than the price of entry to get an autograph or a photo taken with them. Getting both would cost you ~$100 all up, although the price varies on the popularity of the guest. You couldn’t even get a glimpse of them until you’d waited in a line to get a ticket to wait in another line to go to a back room to see them. As for seeing Joss Whedon, that was a whole separate event that cost you over $100 to get into. Although, I think it would’ve given you a bit more bang for your buck because it was a full on separate show with a few other guest, including Summer Glau, involved too. So, Brian Bendis was the only one you could see for no extra cost, but it still meant you had to line up for ages to get anything signed, but that’s fair enough. At least you could still get a sighting of him even without lining up. The other guest stars that you didn’t have to pay for were all mostly authors, and if you wanted to see a particular person, you really had to be quite organised because they were only around at certain times. In the end, we didn’t see any of the guests.
In the end, organisation was the key to getting the most out of Supanova. Knowing what was going to be on, when & where; if you wanted to buy something, what it was and how much was a good price for it; and if you’re going to dress up, planning and preparing your costume well in advance. While I had tried to prepare, I hadn’t tried too hard and we didn’t really stick to my plans anyway. My friends were also quite surprised and disappointed by the lack of freebies at Supanova. You shouldn’t expect to walk away with bags of stuff unless you’ve bought it. I’d also suggest bringing lunch, as it cost a lot & was time consuming to get it there.
Overall, I enjoyed the day at Supanova and would love to go again some time, probably with my brother so I can show him all the cool stuff that I knew he would’ve loved to have seen. I just wish I had planned my day a bit better, and that a few more things were free.
If you went to Supanova, or are planning to go to one of the other Supanovas around Australia, or have gone to a similar event, leave a comment expressing your thoughts below.