Supanova 2017

Nerd culture is such a big part of my life. It all began with Harry Potter when I was in primary school and Iron Man in high school. I have a TARDIS bookcase, a Flash lamp, half a dozen Funkos and a slew of apparel for the shows I love. Flick through the texts on my phone and there’s rapt conversation on the latest episodes. Some people find that strange but it’s all I’ve ever known.

Between the monstrous success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Dark Knight Trilogy and the resurrection of Star Wars in the last ten years it’s become more and more mainstream to be a cinephile. The accessibility of broadband internet lead to conversations between fandoms, and sites like Tumblr and Reddit ran away with the idea. Big media started to lean into the trend, most obviously with The Big Bang Theory, and suddenly your odd aunt was weighing in on the Jack Nicholson/Heath Ledger/Jared Leto Joker debate.

But still it seemed like we were in the minority.

Tell that to the thousands and thousands of people that flooded the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre last weekend. There were people everywhere. It’s my first expo in eighteen months and even though I knew what I was in for it’s still overwhelming. The energy is palpable. There’s only three weekends like this on the calendar year in this part of town and they were all determined to make the most of it.

The cosplays are incredible. The time and effort that people put in to show their love is next level. There were Batmen and Storm Troopers and a Star Lord, a Rick Sanchez and a Goku and an intricate MACUSA President from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Itchago, The Green Arrow, Heisenberg, Superman, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine, Iron Man and a Dalek all graced the venue. And those were the ones I recognised. Obtuse characters were littered throughout, and only the most diehard fan could possibly recognise them all.

Big displays included the TARDIS and the Optimus Prime semi-trailer from Transformers, as always, but this year also featured the Ghostbusters car and a very cool Batmobile. Sometimes people just whack a Batman logo on the side of a sportscar and bring it to expos but this was the real deal.

Panels went on throughout the day about writing and character representation and confidence in cosplay. A DC TV panel featuring Supergirl‘s Mehcad Brooks, Arrow‘s Manu Bennett and Gotham’s Robin Lord Taylor was packed to capacity. Wolf Creek‘s John Jarett ran a Q&A.

David Boreanaz – fresh off the Bones series finale and a Buffy 20 year reunion – gave signatures and took photos with fans til he was blue in the face. Aussies Luke Mitchell (Agents of SHIELD) and Rebecca Breeds (The Originals) were paid to come home. Lochlyn Munro (Betty’s dad on Riverdale) fought off fans asking if he was the one that killed Jason Blossom.

As the day went on the place started to smell like pizza, tickling my nostalgia. Feet got sore and the cosplay repair shop upstairs got a workout. Dehydration and exhausted claimed a few for thirty minutes before they were back in the thick of it. Nerds are a resilient bunch.

The stalls towards the front door were a little commercial – candy and Funkos? – but there were some wonderful gems throughout. It’s the perfect place for independents trying to get their name out there. Amazing authors and artists were aplenty. Gamers claimed the back corner with a massive playable display of the newest tech.

And Novastream’s good friends Sons of Obi-Wan ran a very cool demo of their trade for a gold coin donation. It was ridiculously underpriced and a whole lot of fun, swinging around near-indestructible light sabre replicas with all the finesse of a Jedi. It was addictive. Where can I learn more? Will they teach me how to backflip?

Supanova 2017 went off without a hitch. The massive homage to nerd culture continues to be a highlight on our calendars, right between the premiere of Logan and Guardians of the Galaxy. See you in November for the Brisbane edition!

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