It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Fan Expo!

Jacob Downey, Boston Arts Academy

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Fan Expo!

Fan Expo, previously known as Boston Comic-Con, is Boston’s premier fan experience—Boston’s own little slice of nerdy goodness. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to believe that a comics convention is just a bunch of guys arguing about the superior Star Trek captain (it’s Piccard by the way)—but, while Fan Expo Boston is the perfect place to geek out over your prefered movie, book or video game, there is so much more to the three-day experience. Whether you’re a convention vet or just testing the waters, here are the sights to see at Fan Expo Boston.

Soak Up the Pop Culture

People pass off comics conventions thinking non-comics fans have no reason to go. However, according to comic book artist and Fan Expo veteran Joe St. Pierre, “If you have any interest in pop culture or anything that’s happening nowadays, the source material is all in comics. So, if you’re interested in any of those things—all the creators, the people who make the movies and TV shows, and the actors are all here in one spot.”

In years long past, this sort of convention was a group of guys talking about Wolverine fighting Batman, but it has evolved into the ultimate celebration of pop culture. A five-minute walk across the convention floor is like a fandom safari. You’ll spot anything from Disney princesses to Sith Lords.

Now, it’s very easy to be intimidated by the 6’4’’ cloaked man holding a giant glow stick, but don’t worry, you’re not about to be force-choked: it’s just a cosplayer. Cosplay is a fundamental of the Fan Expo experience, with fans going to extreme lengths to pay tribute to their favorite franchises. Some of this year’s standouts included a woman dressed as Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty,” and someone in a full suit of MJOLNIR Mark VI armor from the “Halo” series.

Get Artsy

For our more creative readers out there, the artist’s alley is the place to be. Featuring creators large and small, it is an excellent exhibition of some of the best local artists, as well as some of the biggest names in comics. Strolling down the red-carpeted aisles, you can enjoy or even purchase watercolor portraits of your favorite characters, official signed merch, and even get a tattoo if you’re old enough. The artist’s alley is a must-see for anyone seeking to combine a love of art with a pop culture obsession.

Give Back

A big pull for those who aren’t into the nerdier side of Fan Expo is the many affiliated charities such as Extralife, an organization that allows streamers to game for a good cause, with the proceeds going to a charity of their choice. There’s also the 501st Legion, an all-volunteer organization of Star Wars cosplayers who dedicate their time towards fundraising and charity, often dressed in Sith or Imperial costumes.

Hear from the Experts

This year, we were lucky enough to see the “Back To The Future” reunion. Actors from the classic time travel film got together on stage to talk about the film and answer fans’ questions. It is uncommon that fans have an opportunity to interact with their heroes, and that’s why Fan Expo’s most notable attraction is these panels.

It’s not the comics, the costumes, or even the creators. It’s the atmosphere of comradery inspired by a common love of pop culture and everything nerdy that makes the event special. Whether you’re a Dungeon Master, a Potter fanatic, a Trekkie or just looking for a cool place to spend your weekend, Boston Fan Expo is for you.

–Aug. 12, 2018–