Normally when people arrive at an event wearing the same outfit, it’s awkward – even embarrassing.
But, as I was stepped off the train at Olympic Park, two people dressed as the same anime character ran up and hugged each other. Initially, I though that they were friends, but they had never met before.
Welcome to Oz Comic-Con! Saturday morning, 9am, at the Sydney Showground was my introduction my first ever Comic-Con.
And, it was excellent!
An amazing group of very talented people with their incredible costumes. The atmosphere that was created made me feel very welcome and as if there was no judgement because almost everyone was dressed up as some character.
When you walk through the main doors, you immediately run into the comic book section, where comic book artists sit signing autographs and talk about how they draw and think up concepts for their art.
And all around you hundreds of people were dressed in cosplay, ranging from characters from Anime, to obscure people from video games.
One visitor, Jack, came dressed as the Engineer from Team Fortress 2. Despite being 14 years old, he said: “Ive been to heaps of Comic-Cons, but this is my first time going all out in cosplay.”
Another was dressed as Izuku Midoriya, the main protagonist from Anime My Hero Academia, who said: “I’m excited to be at Comic-Con, and seeing all the different costumes!”
But Comic-Con was not just about people dressed in costumes. Hundreds attended the panels for the special celebrity guests as well.
New Zealand-born Riverdale star KJ Apa’s panel was packed with an array of fans of his work.
The moment he walked onto the stage the room erupted with screams and cheers for him. There were two girls who were sitting in the front row, with a priority ticket. When I asked why they got the priority ticket, they said: “We got the ticket so we could sit in the front rows, so we can see KJ Apa better.”
That was all.
Crazy, I thought. The ticket price a whopping $600, compared to the standard entry $40.
There were umpteen opportunities to talk to stars and take a photo and there were stations specifically for getting autographs and group photos.
Another panel included Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Michael Eklund, who are actors in American-Canadian TV show Wynonna Earp, a supernatural Western horror television series. Despite the shows MA15+ rating there were still many kids packed in to watch.
There were several other celebrities present, such as Haley Atwell, who’s most notable role was Peggy Carter in the Captain America movies. Luke Baines, who played Jonothan in the show Shadowhunters, and Keiynan Lonsdale, who’s notable roles include Bram from Love, Simon, Kid Flash from The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, and Dance Academy as Ollie Lloyd, were also there.
Comic-Con is iconic for attracting cosplayers. Cosplaying is is about dressing up in a costume that looks like, or is identical to a character or person in pop culture. There were many people who were dressed as if they had come directly from an anime.
One trio of girls said that they were dressed up as characters from anime JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. When asked why they dressed up for Comic-Con, they said: “Because we want to express ourselves through our costumes. When we’re in costume, we are part of something important, like Comic-Con. We all belong when we’re here, so we best express who we are the best way we can!”
Another person in the trio, Wren said, “I cosplay because it’s a good way to find common ground with strangers, and it’s really satisfying bringing an outfit I designed myself out where other people can see!”
There were also a lot of merch stalls, selling things that ranged from art, to swords and even nail art wraps. There were several stalls dedicated to weapons, including swords, axes and knives. One person at the stalls, named Aaron, bought a sword from the Walking Dead priced at $100.
There was a stall dedicated to anime wigs, a stall that sold coloured contacts, and a stall that sold costumes from animes. Several stalls sold merchandise and necessities for table-top role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, such as the books, dice and mini-figures. There was also a large section of the place that was filled with tables so people could play the game.
An area dedicated to artists, called Artists Alley, had all different types of artists selling their prints and merch. There was also an author there, promoting his book series. There were people who made their own comic books, concept artists, caricature drawers and more.
An absurd amount of fairy floss was being carried around, either on a stick or in a bucket, and sour chews, popcorn and chocolates were being devoured in epic proportions.
Comic-Con is on every year late in September. However, Comic-Con is not the only one of its kind, with Supernova occurring in July, there are a multitude of ways for people to express themselves and have fun. While Comic-Con is only on for a weekend, it is still an excellent opportunity and experience to have.
Oz Comic-Con runs all weekend at the Sydney Showground. – @tianah_jane2001