Beyond the Curtain

Armageddon Expo founder and director Bill Garedts
The Warden - Beyond Reality Media
Attica - Beyond Reality Media
New Zealand Comics stand at Armageddon Wellington 2012.
White Cloud Worlds at Armageddon Wellington 2012.
Armageddon Expo founder William (Bill) Geradts takes us behind the curtain, where fantasy meets reality.


Starting out as a comic and trading card convention in 1995, Armageddon is now Australasia’s largest pop culture and gaming event.  Founder William (Bill) Geradts takes us behind the curtain, where fantasy meets reality.

“I wouldn’t swap that though, once you’ve looked behind the curtain, you can’t go back. It’s very enlightening and it's very special being that person.”

The Big Idea editor Cathy Aronson, talked to Bill via sykpe about the 'evolving Armageddon beast', the Christchurch quakes, rugby, hobbits and his new online comic company Beyond Reality Media.

We've broken up the skype interview into bite sized pieces for your listening pleasure.

The evolving Armageddon beast

  • Starting out as a Dr Who video day
  • The first Armageddon, December 1995, was 90 percent trading cards
  • Starting small “flexibility to make small mistakes that don’t become massive ones”
  • Making the jump to full time in 2003 “the most valuable resource you have is your time”
  • Diversifying and growth in NZ regions and Australia “for every piece you lose you gain so much more by doing it a different way”
  • Comic Con - similar species but very different beast  “Armageddon is an Iguana, Comic Con is a T-Rex”

‘A fun year’ - Rugby, Quakes and Politics

  • The Rugby World Cup was a ‘pain in our ass’
  • Take the good times with the bad “it’s how you adjust to those times”
  • Armageddon HQ Christchurch resident - for past three years
  • Christchurch quake postponed 2011 show - now a budget show, but it works
  • City grateful for events - make people stay, feel normal
  • Small outfit (me and the wife) running a very big show

Behind the Curtain – business or fun?

  • Both business and fun - "Times I would like things to be smoother, sure. Would I swap my job for anybody elses, no.."
  • Always working - "I take pauses when I can, but I don't tend to stop. It's more of a personal failing, than the work being overloaded"
  • Once you look behind the curtain – can’t go back, but wouldn't swap that. "It’s very enlightening and very special being that person."

A Hobbit Hole

  • No Hobbit presence at Armageddon - “It’s a constant thorn that I haven’t been able to pull”
  • Hard to break inner circle, can’t even get in the door - “The conversation that starts with ‘can we do something’ has never happened”
  • Weta Workshop is supportive – it's a different beast

Beyond Reality

This part of the interview is a raw cut of the conversation with Bill on his comics and Beyond Reality Media - introduced by his dog, with some audio failings at essential times!  So instead of leaving it on the cutting room floor, we've shared for you to explore the diamonds within the ruff!

Written by

Cathy Aronson

18 Oct 2012


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