FanCon paperback in the works

If books were judged by their cover, a pop-culture fan convention in Prince George never would have written its first page.

Thanks to visionary founders and organizers, a base of core fanatics who understood the entertainment value in the realm of costumes and comics, and a tourism wave that was itching to come swishing into Prince George for rare experiences, Northern FanCon was born and is now walking and talking.

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Some help from William Shatner didn't hurt either.

For Northern FanCon's fifth birthday coming up this spring, a special trade paperback is being published that graphically illustrates this rarity among fan conventions.

"This is a legacy book," said Northern FanCon's founder and coordinator Norm Coyne on behalf of the Prince George Citizen. "This is a permanent keepsake that tells the reader all about the effect FanCon has had on the region, the ways it has helped build a film industry here, how it introduced cosplay (the intensely detailed character costumes built and worn by especially dedicated fans), how we have boosted a lot of niche retailers and boosted the art industry. This book is a reflection of the community seen through super hero lenses. It helps explain Prince George by going deep into this very successful, very unique event."

This benchmark book will have articles and art by some of the many world-class creative personalities who have attended Northern FanCon over the years.

It will bask in the glow of the many celebrity guests and cinematic moments of fan interaction the convention has brought to this region.

It will also reveal some of the roots of the event. It might surprise readers to know that they reach back to the 1860s.

"Barkerville was a big, big, big influencer in the creation of FanCon," said Coyne. "The fan convention landscape was originally settled by Barkerville. They mined those first nuggets of pop-culture fan events (as part of the historic town's regular summer programming, which began to include celebrity guests like Denise Crosby) and Northern FanCon turned out to be the mother load. We got involved in their Geekend events, and when we turned that into the first couple of years of our convention in Prince George they were right there with us helping us get off the ground, and that relationship is still solid."

To indicate the interconnectedness of the two entities, Crosby was a special VIP guest at a Barkerville Geekend in 2013. She then was a VIP guest at FanCon in 2016. Following that, Crosby was recruited into a pivotal role in the movie The Doctor's Case which was directed by Barkerville's public programming manager James Douglas and produced by Coyne. Part of the film was shot in Barkerville and much of the cast and crew came from the combination of Barkerville and Prince George.

"You can't make stories like that up. It has all happened naturally and you have to think that it never would have happened at all if it weren't for this event we've all fallen in love with," Coyne said. "That's why we want to tell the story of Northern FanCon in this interesting way, a book that will stand the test of time, it has long-term pop-culture appeal of its own, and always be there to show off FanCon and help explain to future generations where so much has come from - stuff we don't even have words or ideas for yet."

This anniversary trade publication will be out in time for Northern FanCon's fifth edition. Its pages can also include the community. Businesses, agencies, associations and individuals can make their mark with the purchase of space in the commercial pages that will intermingle with the stories, photos, artwork and other eye-candy.

To contact Coyne about making your mark in this milestone publication, contact him at normcoyne@unltd.me or call 250-640-6670.

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