Photos: Pikachu, Storm Troopers and Comic-Book Lovers Unite at Fan Expo

Cosplayers come out in full force for Fan Expo.

April 26, 2017

By Jenni Baynham / Photo: Evaan Kheraj

Back for its fifth year, Fan Expo Vancouver (“Everyone is a fan of something,” claims the website) brings together an estimated 25,000 admirers of everything from Star Trek to Skyrim to celebrate the joy of going all in.


This speed-dating company from Utah is on to something smart: hooking up potential lovers at comic-book conventions. “It’s a chance for Fan Expo attendees to find connections, be they romantic or just friendly,” explains Devan (left) pictured with Paige. “You already know they have something major in common with you, and it’s a safe space to explore that.”


“I’ve been to over 27 comic-book conventions this year,” says Archie Comics artist and writer Dan Parent. “This one isn’t as big as, say, the events in Toronto or Florida, but I’ve seen some familiar faces among the artists showcased here.”


“Pokémon was our childhood,” says Kayla (right), who made her costume in one night (Vaporeon, in case you were wondering). “We actually consider ourselves more anime fans than comic fans,” explains Kyle (left), dressed as Flareon, “but there are some really good people in this room, so we’ve come for the last three years in a row.”


Not everyone came to Fan Expo in full costume, but among those who did, Star Wars was by far the most popular theme of choice (exhibit A: stormtrooper). Off-camera, a Jedi and Darth Vader have a full-blown lightsaber fight as R2-D2 scoots by.


Hillary, Hannah and Mollie spent between 20 hours (Lilo and Stitch, middle) to one month (Black Butler, left) on their costumes. Mollie’s effort at Vi from League of Legends (right) took 90 hours, but it was “totally worth it.”


Ryan seems to be one of the few people in attendance genuinely interested in old-school comic books. “It’s about the covers for me,” he says. “My wife doesn’t love it—space is always a problem for anyone that has a collectible notion in their brain!”


Alana is a hairdresser by week and an aspiring professional cosplayer by weekend. This costume—Latios, the blue dragon from Pokémon—was put together in just two days, but some of her more exuberant outfits have been compiled over months, with each one costing about $300.


“I went to NYC for a comic-book convention when I was 18,” says Las Vegas‑based comic-book artist Jae Lee, who has illustrated notable heroes like Superman and Batman. “I was lucky enough to be given a chance by Marvel and it kind of went from there.”


Milan used to come to these things by himself, but this year he brought along his own little Pokémon hunter, nine-year-old daughter Cordelia. “It’s cool to be able to share this with her now that she’s old enough.”


The rain didn’t stop Pikachu from enjoying the seawall. Rumour has it he was spotted later cruising around town on a Mobi.

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