This was my second Armageddon, the first one being last year. This time I had more of a feel for what to expect, with cosplayers wandering around in ones, twos and packs, traders selling their wares, clubs promoting themselves, and 2 stages with a guests of honour from various genres including SF on TV and comics. Like last year I saw a few of these presentations but, also like last year, I missed more that I would have liked to have seen.
Unfortunately the sound issues have not been completely ironed out yet, so presentations on stage 2 were very difficult to hear. Apparently they weren’t allowed to turn the sound up too loud, which is ironic because I found stage one to be a bit too loud. Oh well, unlike last year stage 2 didn’t seem to be losing so badly to the wrestling, so that was an improvement.
As I wandered around the stalls I came across one called Looking For Group (LFG). I assumed that this had to have something to do with an MMO RPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), so hubby and I wandered over to check out the WoWzers (World of Warcraft players, not the old definition!) Lar was drawing at the LFG stall, unmissable in his startling orange shirt and leather top hat. Lar struck me as very relaxed, chatting about the comic LFG. He was an excellent salesman; the only reason we didn’t buy straight away was that I’d spent too much on books at AussieCon – and when I came back to buy all 3 issues of LFG after virtuously not buying a single other book at Armageddon, they had sold out of issue one! Aaargh!
Lar was interesting for our brief chat at the stall, so hubby and I made a point of going to the LFG presentation on stage 2. It was difficult to make out a lot of what was said because of sound issues, but we persevered. Lar continued to seem laid back, making entertaining comments and answering questions. Sohmer, the writer, was rather off-putting though, focusing more on being crass and trying to use disability discrimination and sexual harassment as comedy. I had the impression Sohmer had waaay too much Red Bull, combined with feeling very self-conscious to the point of avoiding commenting on his work and himself. This was very disappointing and made a poor impression on some potential fans although we did learn that they do a few comics, only one of which is supposed to be really crass. I have glanced at the first page or so of the LFG comic, which looks entertaining.
The costume parade featured some very brave models with creative costumes. I would have liked an actual parade or catwalk presentation that was a little faster paced. A parade around the inside of the entire building would have been great because then it would have been easier to get good photos of participants as they walked past. Maybe next year? Or maybe I should go to other cosplay events to get more photos…
Sunday was pretty much taken up with my own cosplay experience, (see Feeling Blue on page 45). However, the one guest I made a point of seeing on Sunday was Ben Browder. From Ben’s talk I gathered that a lot of people in Australia either haven’t heard of Farscape still, or haven’t given it a proper chance after Channel 9’s hacking of it to show more ads and failure to show it in a consistent, accessible timeslot for the audience. It was also interesting that after Ben’s talk so many people piled in to hear Michael Shanks that the ‘doors’ were closed with people outside – why not for Ben? *mutter… poor taste… mutter*
Ben talked frankly about how hard it was to be here, in Australia, working on Farscape for years while people did not know anything about it because it wasn’t being shown on TV. The crew were working 70 hour weeks with apparently no recognition for their efforts. The best makeup and costume awards went to shows like Water Rats and Neighbours, proving no-one was seeing Farscape! There was a Channel 9 event where the shows were being honoured, even with stars on the floor with people’s names. Apparently the Farscape actors had to talk their way in because they weren’t on the invite list. When they got inside Gigi Edgley spent 45 minutes walking around excitedly looking for her name on the floor, only to find it wasn’t there. Apparently a Channel 9 exec said they didn’t know what to do with the cast of Farscape, because people in Australia only want to watch news and sport, not SF.
Ben assured his audience that there is an audience in Australia for science fiction (a no-brainer considering where he was!) but also that there is a huge global market for science fiction. In Ben’s opinion, the Australian film industry will not be a small niche industry when Australia starts making science fiction for a global market. The Australian film industry will be huge!
After Ben’s revealing rant about Channel 9, he went on to talk about Stargate and how he did not, definitely not, no way did he replace Richard Dean Anderson OR Jack O’Neill. Apparently Ben avoided the internet feedback about his character because he was aware of the backlash from fans after Zahn’s death and replacement in Farscape. He decided it would not be good for his ego or his mental health! Fans asked questions like who was his favourite character, and after avoiding mentioning any other favourites he said that Cameron Mitchell was his favourite character because Cameron gave Ben his paycheck.
Ben was asked whose idea it was for him to take his trousers off in the running gag in Stargate. He reluctantly admitted that it was originally his idea but he thought it was relevant to the story – when evil Cameron stole good Cameron’s clothes, evil Cameron would not give him replacements, so then good Cameron had to wander round in his underwear. Embarrassed, Ben said that the writers and producers probably decided that Ben wanted to get his trousers off so they gave him every opportunity after that, creating the running gag.
Ben’s closing number was to stay on stage while Michael Shanks appeared, proving once and for all that they are not the same person; they are, in fact, two distinctly different and separate people.
Armageddon was a fun time, with plenty to see and do in a relaxed atmosphere. Photo opportunities were to be had with cosplayers of your choice, merchandise was abundant (although not many WoW tee-shirts were available), clubs were well represented and a variety of guests. Next year I’ll get more organised, get up earlier and get to more events…