Last year, I had the opportunity of going to the Calgary Comic-Expo as a volunteer, who was basically there to assist the attendees in getting to know their place around the event. But this year I had the chance to go to the 2014 Calgary Comic-Expo with Joel Agarwal, which was held at the BMO Center to interview both guest as well as attendees. If you are totally clueless about the Calgary Comic-Expo is, it is a time in which individuals who love comics or everything superhero related come together to a convention to dress up as their favorite character and to meet several guests. At the event, there were many different people that dressed up as various characters, a lot of venders that sold various merchandise, and collectibles, food and of course, special guests.
The atmosphere at the event this year was a truly amazing one in the sense that anyone could freely take pictures with anyone and the volunteers were very helpful in case I needed help with directions. This year there were a variety of guests, which ranged from the film and television industry to popular novel writers. Some of the guests at the event were Sean Astin, Manu Bennett, Billy Boyd, Jessica Nigri, Katie Cassidy, Tom Felton, Matt Smith, David Lloyd, R.L Stine, and more. At first I was hoping to interview all these guests, but unfortunately the corresponding agents of each guest except Jessica Nigri, David Lloyd, and R.L. Stine had to cancel their requests due to keep demanding fans at bay.
The first person I got to interview was cosplay star Jessica Nigri; I was able to ask her a couple of questions, and here is what she said of the follwing questions:
So tell me a little bit about yourself, Jessica?
Jessica Nigri: I started Cosplay since 2009. My favorite Cosplay that I’ve done so far is probably anyone of them that are new; yeah I play video games and watch lots of anime.
So what costume are you wearing today?
Jessica Nigri: I’m wearing a Vegeta costume from Dragon Ball Z before his tail got cut.
Are you doing or have you done anything other than Cosplay?
Jessica Nigri: I used to work at Trader Joe’s, which was like a health foods store, and I’m currently going to school for marketing and advertising. That’s about it!
So do you have any advice for cosplayers or future cosplayers?
Jessica Nigri: What you can do is that you can go to Goodwill and pick up old stuff or clothes and modify it yourself, because you don’t want to start sewing it right off the back because it’ll be difficult. Another thing you could do would be to go online to look at tutorials on YouTube. It’s pretty simple and popular; there’s lots of ways you can get into it.
How many Comic-Con conventions like these do you usually visit?
Jessica Nigri: In a year, probably like 15 or 20. We see a lot of people and it’s just fun meeting friends because most of my friends are in the Cosplay business too so it’s really fun.
What do you like least about being a Cosplay artist?
Jessica Nigri: What I like least about being a Cosplay artist are just the haters out there. There’s always so much criticism on Cosplay. People should learn to realize that the world is changing and we should stop being so judgmental.
As you can see the interview with Jessica Nigri was pretty successful (if I say so myself). It was so exciting to see someone like her in real life instead of the Internet!
The second person I got to interview was R.L Stine, writer of the popular Goosebumps series (nostalgic flashback to childhood memories). I was able to ask him a couple of questions, and here is what he said of the corresponding questions:
What inspired you to the write the Goosebumps series?
R.L. Stine: You know it’s my life, I started writing when I was 9 years old. I don’t know why I liked it so much. I started typing stories in my room and I started writing a series for teenagers, and we were scaring teenagers called Fear Street and my editor said, “You think it can work for younger kids too?” And so we tried a scary series for kids that was Goosebumps, and I’ve been doing them ever since.
Why did you choose to use the genre of Mystery/Horror in your writing?
R.L. Stine: Well you know, I never really planned to be scary. I wrote joke books and funny books, and then when I did my first scary book, it was a bestseller…huge best seller. Kids liked to be scared and I’ve been doing that ever since.
What advice do you have or give to aspiring authors/writers?
R.L. Stine: Well you know, I don’t really like to give advice because those who really want to be writers don’t need advice as they know they really want to do it like me, when I was a kid. They write and write and read that’s the best advice of all, it’s to read a lot.
Do you have any new books that might be coming up on bookstore shelves?
R.L. Stine: Well, I have new Goosebumps books all the time and the newest Goosebumps book is called Creature Teacher: The Final Exam. Now I’m going back to Fear Street and doing new Fear Street books, which I haven’t done and should be coming out this October.
The third person I got to interview was British comics artist David Lloyd, who is best known for his works Night Raven and V for Vendetta. I was able to ask him a couple of questions, and here is what he said:
So what inspired you to start writing?
David Lloyd: I always did it as a kid. When I was about 12 years old, I saw this incredible comic strip by an artist called Robert Hamilton. The comic strip was called Wrath of the Gods and it was really fantastic stuff. I was always an artist and I always drew. Seeing that made me realize how you could really create a really convincing, impressive world and it made me realize how great comics could be. That was the first part I think.
I’ve really never read your comics, but from what I’ve seen there’s usually a mask involved. So, how did you come up with the idea of a mask and what was the purpose behind it?
David Lloyd: In the original story it was really just a stylize representation of Guy Fawkes’ features because we were resurrecting Guy Fawkes’ old revolutionary, who in 1605 who tried to destroy the government parliament and was executed. We thought it was a good idea if we actually brought it back and instead of failing to bring the House of Parliament down, he actually succeeded. This was because in our story, the House of Parliament had become a place of corruption, a place of corrupt power, which at the time of Guy Fawkes’ period in 1605 was the case. The government was persecuting Catholics terribly so Guy Fawkes was a freedom fighter- but the government of course saw him as a terrorist. So the Guy Fawkes mask was really just a stylized image of Guy Fawkes’ features.
How do you think your books have inspired people- most especially the mask?
David Lloyd: Well I do lots of shows like these and people come along and tell me sometimes that the comics have really changed their viewpoint on life, and just really thinking that it’s a great book and they love it. But it’s very good that the image of the mask itself has been used as a symbol of protest and a symbol of resistance to oppression. It’s a really good thing because that’s what we need in this world; we need something with greater meaning and not something with baggage behind it. Wearing that mask symbolizes that I’m tired of being pushed around and you know, I want honesty and the truth; that’s basically all we need in life.
So as you can see the, the Comic Expo was really fun, I even got to ask a couple of attendees how they heard about the Expo and how it was going. Most of the people I talked to said they had heard it from friends and they really liked it- so much that they’re coming again next year. This year’s Comic Expo was very enjoyable, and hopefully it will be just as great next year with new guests and more Cosplays.
I hope to see you there.