Being an Aucklander, we don’t tend to head down to Wellington very often. Nor do we attend Wellygeddon too often, with the biggest Armageddon Expo being held in Auckland annually every October.
This year however, I was determined to head down to Wellington, even for just a day, in order to fulfill my life long dream of meeting my teenage crush, Tom Welling, most notable for playing Clark Kent in TV’s Smallville.
Thanks to the team behind the Armageddon Expo, I not only managed to fulfill that dream but was also able to meet Nicholas Hoult (who plays Beast in the X-Men reboot films) as well as score a media pass to be able to explore the show grounds.
The first thing I noticed, as a frequent Auckgeddon attendee, was that Wellygeddon was small in comparison. Being held at the Westpac Stadium, there’s only so much that can be fit in. Though, despite its size, Wellygeddon certainly catered to its fans by having exhibitors who provided fun activations, such as Card Merchant’s learn to play Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh event, as well as some local wrestling and sword fighting matches that kept the crowd entertained.
While waiting for my photo session with Tom Welling, I took a wander around and saw a lot of the same old things: retailers selling pop culture products, anime artwork galore and some cute knick knacks. In essence, the event felt like a pseudo-market of sorts. Something that is less noticeable at the Auckland show due to having bigger booth activation by brand partners.
Despite not having much to see and do at the event, it was really positive and refreshing to see so many young people in attendance, most of whom were dressed in cosplay as their favourite pop culture character. The amount of effort involved always blows my mind and the talent when it comes to making costumes look so realistic impresses me immensely.
When it came time for my photo with Tom Welling, I was a nervous wreck. I was first in line and saw him walking toward the photo area beaming with a big grin on his face. As I approached him for the photo, he introduced himself and for a second, I was at a loss for words. I didn’t realise it was real and that I was actually talking to him! Timidly responding, we took our photo and I was rushed on.
Thankfully, immediately after my photo session were some rather interesting panels. so I sat and listened to Aimee Garcia (Lucifer), Nicholas Hoult and Tom Welling himself speak.
The panels were interesting and allowed audiences to really get an understanding of each personality better. Unlike other conventions wherein celebrities would be asked questions from the host, with about ten minutes at the end for fans to ask their burning questions, Armageddon Expo put the fans in charge by allowing the entire panel to be filled with audience questions. It was quite touching to see faces being lit up as each person asked their question and got a response.
Of course, it was nice to learn how down to Earth and charming these celebrities are, despite their international recognition and fame.
Overall, more so than anything, Armageddon Expo, wherever it is held, seems to have upped their game with the celebrity guests they’ve been bringing to New Zealand, which is excellent for those of us who could never afford to attend something like San Diego Comic Con.