SUE DE SOUSA AND DANI VAN DER HORST
In 2018 the global pop culture event, Comic-Con, made its way to South Africa for the very first time. The event was a giant success and was welcomed back from 21 – 24 September 2019. The event celebrates an array of pop-cultural categories such as cosplay, comic books, anime, manga and gaming, amongst many other things. It is a fun event that has something for everyone.
Finding your way
Attending Comic Con as a first-timer can be quite daunting. There are over sixty- thousand fans and a venue packed with various stalls and stands. Navigating it all can be rather challenging, even for those who’ve attended the event in the past. However, the organizers have done their best to make it as easy and user-friendly as possible. Comic Con magazines are handed out at the entrance and contain all the information that you need regarding the overall layout, halls with the latest technology and merchandise, specific stalls, as well as a schedule for the events taking place inside. It is important to prioritize exactly what events you would like to attend and what stalls you would like to visit, as every hall hosts something different and it is difficult to get around to everything.
If you are new to Comic Con, the idea of dressing up as your favourite character may be slightly intimidating. There are many people who take full advantage of the occasion, however. A lot of people dress up simply for the fun of it and others dress up in order to take part in the official cosplay competition. Whether you are simply a first-time observer or an avid cosplay fan, there are ample opportunities to snap a photo with cosplayers dressed up as your favorite characters. However, if you are feeling confident and want to give it a try, the event is an exceptionally friendly environment and offers a safe space for self-expression.
Things to do
Fans this year were able to take photos and get the autographs of famous actors and voice actors such as Daniel Gillies from The Vampire Diaries. If you are more interested in illustrations, the event hosted many artists and you could purchase their work from the different stalls. This year the event hosted the Telkom VS Gaming CS:GO championship and avid gamers could watch as their E-sports heroes battled it out for a grand prize of R220 000. There was also a section specifically set up for tabletop games such as Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. You could play competitively or just for fun and the event had staff members on hand to explain the various games to those who wanted to give it a try. The plethora of stalls offered adequate entertainment on their own as well as a vast array of merchandise, equipment and fun little trinkets.
For those that plan on attending next year’s Comic Con, it is a good idea to have cash handy as not all the vendors have card facilities. The event is thoroughly enjoyable so long as you are prepared for how busy it will get. It is important to remember that Comic Con attracts many people from all over the country, so be patient and prioritize the events and stalls that you are most interested in. Try to arrive early so that you can park relatively close to the event as the parking lot fills up rather quickly. Hopefully, the event will continue to achieve the great success that it has experienced in the past two years and will become a permanent fixture on the South African social events calendar.
Photo: Marné Swanepoel