Melbourne is known for hosting some of the countries most popular events, so it’s only fitting that it holds one of the largest pop culture conventions, Oz Comic Con, each year. The two day event ran on the 1st and 2nd July 2017 and had thousands of people walking through it’s doors. Not only does the convention offer people the opportunity to meet some big name guests, like Jason Momoa, but it also gives cosplayers a chance to showcase their talents in various competitions.
Upon first glance, the sight of thousands of cosplayers and pop culture fanatics can seem quite intimidating to someone joining in the fun for the first time. However, as you walk through the halls and experience the buzz of it all, it’s easy to see just how vibrant and welcoming everyone is.
This years layout gave the illusion of the convention being less busy, but the organisers of this year’s Comic Con worked hard to ensure that the show room floor was well spaced, as well as having the panels running in a separate building. As always, artist alley was at one end of the centre, with photo and autograph opportunity’s at the other end of the building. Booths had large walkways between them, making the area more family and cosplay friendly. No more struggling with prams or large sets of armour!
Making it’s debut at a convention, Spotlight worked hard with cosplayers to showcase their new line of cosplay fabric. It’s great to see the brand endorsing cosplay as it grows within Australia, not to mention helping making it easier to source fabric lines such as Yaya Han’s that are catered to help cosplayers make their dream costumes.
Some of the positives from the event:
1. The Championships of Cosplay
This wonderful showcase of talent is competitive cosplay at its finest. This year, Henchwench Cosplay – a previous Australian champion – joined the carious other judges to pick out the winner of the Melbourne heat. A tough decision, but one that eventually had Kayla Jean Cosplay come out on top.
With a mixture of fine armour work and amazing sewing abilities, this wonderful cosplayer earned her win. Watching the competition makes you realise how hard it must be for the judges, and it is a real treat to see the joy the cosplayers on stage feel when they are rewarded for their efforts. While there can only be one winner, there are various categories in which the cosplayers can win.
While on the topic of cosplay, Cosplay Central continues to be a hit among the cosplayers. It provides people with the chance to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s top cosplayers, as well as being able to see amazing costumes displayed. Props were also displayed this year, highlighting the importance of them when it comes to completing a costume. Photographers also set up for two hours each per day to take photos against the Oz Comic Con wall, allowing people to get their costumes professionally photographed for free.
2. Oz Comic Cons Guest List
In a wonderful effort to compete with Supanova, Oz Comic Con worked hard to get as many wonderful guests as possible. Jason Momoa was definitely the icing on the cake of this convention, and the photo and autograph opportunities were well priced, attracting crowds of people. Alongside Jason, Alyson Hannigan had all the vampire slayers out and about as she brought an element of magic to the event.
While not as big names as the two for mentioned stars, the guest list wouldn’t have been complete without having actors from shows such as iZombie, The 100 and of course, Game of Thrones. The general feedback heard from the guest list was all positive, from the pricing being affordable to the range of different guests that attended.
3. The People
Being a cosplayer, it can be hard to feel comfortable in large crowds, especially with everyone’s creeper alert being so high after recent incidents. Apart from people lacking the ability to be careful around some of the large cosplays, the convention went by without incident. It seems people are learning to show more respect to those who dress up for their own enjoyment and to showcase their talents to others.
The volunteers are the event should also be proud of themselves for handling the large crowds in such a professional manner. Volunteers always get a bad wrap, but this time round they definitely showed that they could handle themselves and provide a helping hand to anyone who needed it.
Things that may need work from the event:
1. Poor Organisation of Photograph Opportunities
When hosting a big star such as Jason Momoa, one must always be prepared for the crowds it will bring. Oz Comic Con failed to do so this year, leaving many people angry and upset with how they had run the photograph opportunities. Unlike other events, they had only one photograph session per day that ran for a few hours. After 3 hours of photographing, any person would be tired and look miserable, as was the case for Jason. Realistically, the photos should have been spaced throughout the day to make it easier for everyone involved.
2. Not utilising the space
While separating it into two halls was a good idea, the extra space could have been utilised better. Creating more spaces between booths helped make it easier to navigate stalls and look at things to purchase. The lines for both photograph and autograph opportunities were condensed, making it hard to move around. It would have made more sense to make this area larger and have some booths in the same halls as the panels.
Overall, there were definitely more positives points that the convention need to work on. It was a warm and friendly environment and definitely made a good first impression as it definitely left me with a feeling of wanting to go back for future conventions.
Contributor: Jaclyn May Cosplay