HomeAll postsSupanova 2011

Supanova 2011

by Nalini Haynes

Previously published in Dark Matter the PDF zine, posted here for your enjoyment.

Melbourne Supanova ran from 8 to 10 April 2011. I originally intended to spend most of my time in seminars and generally listening to talks, but the best laid plans of mice and men (women too) go awry…

Firstly it took about 1 1/2 hours to get from home to the showgrounds due to traffic, and that is with me jumping out of the car and leaving hubby to park. Then I joined the queue, and I could not believe what a queue it was. The prepaid ticket queue seemed to be for people who had bought but not received their tickets; I think people who had their tickets already could get a wristband from the volunteers outside and go in much faster. I, however, had left it too late to purchase my ticket as there had been about a week to go, so I had to pick up my ticket onsite.

[Ah the days before media passes, how I do NOT miss them.]

It took 25 minutes to get inside after queuing. However, this was really fast compared with the queue for people buying tickets, which curled around and around the car park.

By the time I had my wristband attached and was free to go, I had missed Robin Hobb’s talk *sniff* and I still had to figure out the lay of the land inside the venue. I began exploring, feeling a little intimidated by the thronging mass I saw from the entrance. To my surprise I found that it wasn’t too bad walking around, except for people trying walk through me when I was trying to take photos. I’m not made of glass, nor am I made of ectoplasm. A number of my best photos were the 3rd or 4th attempt due to being bumped. Thanks to the cosplayers who were so patient while I took lots of photos.

Cosplaying 9
Cosplaying 9

Pictured above are the lovely ladies cosplaying characters from 9. By Sunday I discovered I had the nickname Rygel, given to me by these cosplayers, because of Dark Matter’s current portrait. On the Sunday they also gave me the number 7, painted, decorated, and with the words ‘To defend us….9’ on the reverse side.


The Na’vi from Avatar look good until you realise they do not have bodysuits on – they wore body paint! They were really impressive, even up close, with their detailed accurate paint.

As I explored I found a number of interesting stores and made a few purchases.  On Facebook I mentioned I wanted to buy a tee-shirt that had both methods of killing vampires (staking and writing a novel about sparkly vampires), and I was successful! At the same store I found a Murlocos tee – advertising Murloc tacos just like in the Save the Murloc campaign! Long time readers will know I’m a huge fan of D.E.H.T.A.’s efforts to preserve this noble race, so I bought this too!

Robin Hobb, Isobelle Carmody and Y
Robin Hobb, Isobelle Carmody and someone else >.<

Shortly after one o’clock on Saturday there was a special AWF presentation – of three ladies in the wrestling ring! (Pictured above) Well, maybe they weren’t exactly wrestling. Robin Hobb helped launch Isobelle Carmody’s new book in the wrestling ring. Unfortunately the sound system was terrible, and I barely understood a word, but the body language is plain to all.

Parenting win
Parenting win

Above is a Modern Warfare soldier with his son, whom Daddy is bringing up in the way he should go so that he will not depart from it!

In my explorations of Supanova I discovered enormous talent in the artists and writers of graphic novels, creator of a movie, a Supanova-genre band and more. I found myself wishing I’d brought an audio recorder so I could interview people on the spot, but sadly I haven’t purchased one yet. On the first day I was too concerned about the battery dying to risk interviewing on camera – I wanted hundreds of photos – but the battery didn’t die, so next time… The good news is I collected a number of email addresses, and I intend to follow up with interviews for coming issues of Dark Matter.

Brett Butt as Captain Jack with Isobelle Carmody
Brett Butt as Captain Jack with Isobelle Carmody

Brett Butt made such a convincing Captain Jack Sparrow that Isobelle Carmody stopped signing books (briefly) and asked for a photo with him. The Herald Sun also ran a gorgeous photo of Captain Jack being pursued by princesses.

Brett Butt as Captain Jack being pursued by princesses
Brett Butt as Captain Jack being pursued by princesses

Cathy LarsenCathy Larsen is in a gorgeous gothic outfit she made herself. The detail is lost here due to flash photography, but the leather, lace and beading was a sight to behold. Apparently her outfit has wings as well, but after the crush at Supanova on Saturday Cathy decided to go wingless. Cathy is a designer and illustrator, whose credits include covers for various books including Isobelle Carmody’s anthology launched at Supanova.

Jennifer Fallon and Trudi Canavan spent a large part of the weekend talking to fans and signing books. Jenny and Trudi also talked in a panel session about writing, their careers, interviews with opinionated interviewers and more. To read more about this session go to Trudi and Jenny in conversation.

Rowena Cory DaniellsRowena Corey Daniels was also at Supanova, signing her books that have unfortunately not been released in Australia. That is my firm excuse for never having read one, but this is a situation that is easily remedied. However, keeping track of Rowena isn’t so easily remedied – apparently she’s not on Facebook and her last entry on MySpace was in August. Here’s me without her business card too – if anyone can hook me up for an interview, please give me a wave. Another author I was embarassed to admit I didn’t recognise although I wracked my brains, was Marianne de Pierres. I took the photo anyway and looked her up today…

The 501st Legion, Rebel Legion and Galactic Academy were ever present, this time in three separate locations so as not to cause a traffic jam. The tin rattlers were there to raise money for TLC for Kids, a worthy charity. For a small donation lots of fans had their photos taken with their favourite characters either in front of the blast doors, in Mos Eisley cantina, with Yoda or with a gun.

SF clubs turned out in force (pardon the pun) to sell raffle tickets, support Supanova and advertise their upcoming activities. I’m planning to go to Star Walking’s toy (eh-hem) collectable event next weekend. I’m a sucker for cool toys. I’ve never forgotten the adverts for Star Wars toys that used to run when I was 10 years old ‘Luke! It’s a trap!’

This shady fellow (below right) is a lifesize Yoda made by Dave Hankin. Dave makes models for various purposes, including for the upcoming movie Red; go to http://redthemovie.net/ for more. Dave has agreed to an interview for the next issue of Dark Matter.

You might have noticed that I didn’t go to hear any of the ‘stars’ speak. I’m scared I might go and see an actor whose character I love, and the actor turns out to be such a wanker or cardboard cutout that he or she ruins the character for me forever. Every time I see Esther Davis in movies or on TV, I think of the little girl who started grade 7 when I was in grade 9. Her hair was so long that her plait reached the tops of her legs because her father wouldn’t let her cut her hair. I used to walk past their place on the way to school, at first getting spooked by the fierce turkeys gobbling at me. The up-side with Essy was that, even in high school, she had an amazing voice, rich and full in tone. I’ve never seen a production where she’s used her full acting ability and range of voice, which is a shame. I think she could be a female equivalent of Peter Woodward or John Rhys-Davis given a chance. So, while knowing Essy hasn’t spoilt the Matrix for me, I worry about other actors. Mind you, Ben Browder at Armageddon last year was fantastic… Maybe next time I’ll take a risk. After all, Supanova is about getting away from the mundane.

Thoughts for the future: Next year I’ll book my prepaid ticket earlier so it gets posted out to me – that way I should be able to get a wrist band from the carpark and go straight in, I think. I’ll leave home about 9 am on Saturday morning to allow for traffic snarls, parking hassles and waiting in the queue. Sunday wasn’t too bad, traffic was lighter and I walked straight in with my wristband so queuing wasn’t a hassle. There wasn’t a huge amount of choice for drinks at Supanova, so I had too many lattes. Next year I’ll bring a water bottle and maybe get a Boost juice on the way in. I’ll still buy a pide for lunch, that was yummy! I’ll also look closely at the line up, work out what I want to see and scope out exactly where events are well before their start time. I still want to focus on creators: authors, writers, artists, moviemakers and so on, but I’ll go and see a star or two…

Supanova was heaps of fun. I’ll be there next year. Come and wave at the camera!

If you comment, I’ll tag your photo.

This article was previously published in Dark Matter issue 3, April 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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