Oz Comic-Con

1 October 2015 | 4:49 pm | Fiona CameronUpasana Chatterjee

Most costumes incorporated LEDs, hand-tooled leather, carved-foam forms and a willingness to leave everyday personas at home.


Holding an event of this magnitude seems like a bad idea at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, where parking is hard to come by and the parking lot is no more than a pitted, potholed car yard. The attendants are helpful though in escorting punters to spare spots, and a dedicated bus takes attendees to the Exhibition Centre.

As usual, the Centre is teeming with cosplayers, including Russian princess Anastasia, Star-Lord, Deadpool variation SantaPool, Shia LaBeouf in his enthusiastic "DO IT!" video, a female Captain Planet, a number of Harley Quinns (one carrying an actual cake) and of course, the usual iterations of Spider-Man, Batman and the Joker. Media personnel working the event are on the ball and super efficient and there are plenty of ATMs, food stalls and resting areas to escape the crowds and for cosplayers to strike poses for the cameras.

Richard Dean Anderson of Stargate and MacGyver fame takes to Stage One for a Q&A with the crowd, and he finds ways to pull some laughs from the theatre as he jokes about MacGyver's mullet and his role in Stargate.

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The Good Game panel talk all things video games, calling out the new Fallout 4 game as a highlight release. They take questions from the crowd by throwing a green cube with a built-in microphone around and get crowd participation happening by asking for a show of hands for who plays on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo or PC (PlayStation is the clear winner). It's nice to see a lot of kids under ten here, asking questions and getting involved.

Many stalls are ones we've seen before at conventions like Supanova — the usual huge Kings Comics outlet, as well as Gametraders, HobbyCo and JMC Academy. Then there are the independent graphic artists, jewellery makers and dealers of Disney paraphernalia, rare comics, pop culture signed memorabilia, weapons, steampunk clothing, POP! vinyls, specialty artisan statues and racks and racks of tacky T-shirts (think the Bazinga! shirt that everyone's dad buys to look hip). Plants Vs Zombies/POPCAP Games also have an area allocated for families with children to take some time out to play oversized chess or Connect Four, while other cordoned-off areas are dedicated for table top games, model-painting and Tekken/Street Fighter competitions.

Organised to a tee this year, Oz Comic-Con is a known hub for nerds to hang out with like-minded people, and for people who were dragged along by nerds to watch the magic in awe. The best part of Comic-Con, though, is watching hundreds of fandoms collide at a vibrant, positive and respectful community gathering.


If the crowds thronging the aisles, autograph booths and panels at Oz Comic-Con over the weekend is any indication, the geeks have inherited the Earth and their influence on popular culture is in the ascendant. And if we saw one Pop! Vinyl, we saw thousands. The first couple of hours were spent marvelling at Comic-Con attendees in elaborate get-ups toting bulging shopping bags from one area of interest to the next.

Artists, authors and vendors of all types were doing a roaring trade, hawking everything from rare toys, costume components and consumer goods emblazoned with superheroes, anime and videogame characters and more than a smattering of Harajuku style.

Cosplay too has come out of the shadows and left the fringe behind. Fans packed Stage One to watch the entrants for the NSW state championship, and later the hunt for the national champion to represent Australia next year in Chicago at the international cosplay event. The standard of ingenuity was remarkable as elaborate dress-ups strutted across the stage, most of which had required its creators to invest an average of 200 hours into the construction. Most costumes incorporated LEDs, hand-tooled leather, carved-foam forms and a willingness to leave everyday personas at home.

The state finalist from Queensland took the national crown thanks to an intricately detailed replica of opera singer Carlotta Giudicelli's onstage ensemble in The Phantom Of The Opera from the Joel Schumacher film.

A diverse array of talent from across the TV and cinema sci-fi landscape was on hand hosting panels, posing for official photographs and signing autographs including Clive Standen (Vikings), Jim Beaver (Deadwood, Supernatural) and Kris Holden-Ried and Paul Amos (Lost Girl). Jed Brophy, a long-time collaborator of Peter Jackson, said that he had trained to be a phys ed and drama teacher and was spotted by Jackson who attended one of his early stage performances and cast him in zombie-comedy film, Braindead. "I read the script, thought it was hilarious and decided to do it. The rest is history really."

"There was something of a kind of bogan attitude in the New Zealand film industry and I think it's still there," Brophy said. "Pete is a born-again bogan, he was bare feet, scruffy hair and wears the same clothes everyday and he brings that attitude to the set. We're all here to do the work and no one is more important than anyone else; even the superstars from Hollywood adopt that attitude very early on and it makes for a great atmosphere at work.

"I'm very lucky to have been able to make a living as an actor at home in New Zealand and now that my kids are older I do get travel a bit more and take different opportunities for work."

News that will do doubt stoke the fires in the hearts of Vikings fans everywhere is the announcement that the next series has been expanded to 20 episodes. Actor Clive Standen said in his panel appearance that this will allow the series to explore the Golden Age of the Vikings in greater depth and in turn, offer the actors an opportunity to really develop their characters' nuance and bring to the front different facets of the personalities. He also said that when he considers the motivations of the series' female characters, he doesn't just see a group of "strong female characters who wield power", instead he sees his mother, his wife and his daughter. "It was only 700-1000 years ago that the Vikings were a dominant culture, as people have we really changed so much in so little time? I don't think so."