Since its inception in 2002, the Supanova Pop Culture Expo has brought countless 'Supa-Stars' to our shores.
The expo is a magnet for fans of sci-fi, fantasy and anime films and TV shows — but for event director Daniel Zachariou, comic books have always come first.
“It's always mum's fault,” he laughs. “My mum came home one day with a big stack of comics, including 'Super Goof', who flew around in his long johns and fought the Beagle Boys. I just devoured them!
"Then when I was 10, I broke both my arms at the same time at school, and ended up spending a lot of time in the library reading 'Asterix', 'Tin Tin', 'Lord Of The Rings', 'Chronicles Of Narnia' ... and then 'Star Wars' came out in '77, which was around that time as well. And that was it!”
Supanova started out as a comic book convention (before rebranding the event in 2002, Zachariou ran Sydney's Comicfest for two years), and Zachariou insists that comics will “always be a huge part of the festival”.
Much like similar conventions in America, though, there's no denying that film and TV actors have become the biggest draw. Zachariou's breakthrough in that department came when he secured a 'Lord Of The Rings' star to appear at Supanova in the early 2000s, and in a sense, he's still pinching himself.
“The first time we got a really 'hot' actor across to Supanova was Sean Astin,” Zachariou remembers, “when he had just finished filming 'Return Of The King'.
"He was filming a 'Hercules' mini-series or something in New Zealand, and he flew across for us... I went out to dinner with him and my family and closest friends, and John Rhys-Davies from 'Lord Of The Rings' as well. I just remember him sitting across from me, and me asking him, 'I'm really glad you're here, but... why are you here?'
"Even as I was booking him, you know, I still struggled to understand why he would say yes. He was very gracious in his response. He said, 'Look, I've got my aims and aspirations. I love the fans and they are a huge encouragement to me, but I see these events as another valid form of income. I want to produce, I want to direct, and this all helps towards that goal. And I'm happy to do it!'
"So that was it. And then he said, 'Have faith in what you do; you're doing a good thing here'.”
The Brisbane leg of this year's event will be bolstered by the presence of 'Game Of Thrones' creator George RR Martin and star Lena Headey (a late replacement for Peter Dinklage, who had to drop out due to film commitments).
They'll be joined by fellow 'Game Of Thrones' stars Mark Addy and Jerome Flynn, as well as fan-favourite actors like Joe Flanigan ('Stargate Atlantis'), Dominic Monaghan ('Lord Of The Rings', 'Lost') and Sean Maher ('Firefly'). For Zachariou, though, one star shines a little brighter than the rest.
“I'm a huge Summer Glau fan,” he says, obviously proud to have secured the 'Firefly', 'Serenity', 'Dollhouse', 'Arrow' and 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' star for another appearance.
“She first came down in 2006 for our Brisbane convention, and she's been back a couple of times since then, but not to Brisbane. She's so wonderful. I remember that first tour ... she was just a Southern belle in her composure. I personally looked after her, as far as making sure she was alright at all times, but she was so refreshingly normal at the same time.
“We're really excited that we've been able to secure Lena Headey as well, because her credits across fandom are just massive. The fact that she's swinging in to save the day, and that she was the lead in 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles', the same show where Summer was the Terminator ... it's really fantastic to have them together for Brisbane.”
Supanova takes over RNA Showgrounds from November 8-10.