Review: Oz Comic-Con delivers once again at its 2016 event in Sydney

It’s the start of Spring, and the Sydney weather turned on some spectacular blue skies over the weekend past but quite a lot of people were going to miss it.Oz Comic Con Sydney was back for 2016 and this time it would be bigger and better than last year.

Whilst the Sydney International Convention Centre finishes being built down at Darling Harbour, the temporary Sydney Exhibition Centre down at Glebe Island has to make do. The space is a decent size, and the only means of arriving there are via a shuttle bus from Central train station or a ferry from Darling Harbour. Both are far more convenient options than trying to drive in and park in the limited spaces though. It’s an amusing sight hopping on the ferry surrounded by costumed characters.

comiccon2016au-9823

As we enter out onto the exhibition floor, it immediately feels busier in comparison to last year. But I’m convinced that it’s because there are more stallholders and the aisleways seem narrower. Either way there’s some shuffling going on as you make your way up and down the pathways looking at all the merchandise, or hand made fandom inspired work. It seems to me that each convention brings with it more goodies, and more ways in which to sneakily eat into your bank balance. Funko! Pop Vinyls are hugely popular at the moment, and long term staples are the comics and graphic novels, but you can also pick up card and table top games, pop culture inspired clothing and accessories, or even replica weapons to boost your cosplay outfit. Or you could just gaze longingly at the custom Marvel Harley Davidson motorbikes display and dream of riding one of those down an open road.

comiccon2016au-9821

For many the drawcard to these conventions is the film/tv/voice acting guests that are on the lineup. Sydney showcased a wide range, from A-list film stars like Karl Urban and Robert Englund to younger actors who are already paving a career such as Daniel Portman from hugely popular show Game Of Thrones or the twins, Max and Charlie Carver. Or if you wanted to learn about voice acting world renowned dialect coach Andrew Jack or The Simpsons star Maggie Roswell were also on the lineup. If you’re also comfortable with eating into your spending money, you can also pay to meet and greet them either by purchasing an autograph or a professional photo opportunity. But if money’s tight, the guest Q&A panels held on the various stages scattered around the venue are free to attend. And you may just get one of your questions answered by the celebrities.

comiccon2016au-0654

Near the back of the exhibition centre they had set up a family friendly activity area with spring free trampolines, giant rubber lego pieces to build forts, or an oversize chessboard or connect four board game. All of these are great ways to entertain or distract the young ones for a little while and give parents an opportunity to sit down and have a rest. And in an OzCC first, they debuted a “Chill Out Room” specifically designed for the under 25’s who may need a little breather from all the festivities. The space was set up with bean bags, relaxation activities and friendly volunteers from youth mental health organisations ReachOut and Checkpoint to provide information on mental health and wellbeing.

024

But when you’re ready to head back out onto the crazy convention floor, you’ll be certain to bump into a fair share of cosplayers. Each convention and each year there are more and more people coming in cosplay. It’s now become a popular way for fans to express their love of a particular character, tv show, film, or video game franchise. This weekend OzCC also hosted its very first Fashion Show which enables budding young clothing and fashion designers to showcase their outfits that are inspired by pop culture. Unlike your traditional cosplay, this puts a new spin on it by enabling designers to incorporate themes and colours into a practical outfit that could be worn rather than a replica costume.

But for those who love their cosplay, there was both a Cosplay Parade held on the Saturday afternoon and the Championships Of Cosplay held on the Sunday afternoon. The winner for New South Wales was a Sydney cosplayer known as HenchWench, dressed as an Orc Death Knight from the video game World Of Warcraft: Legion (second from right in image below). The national winner of the Championships of Cosplay, to be decided at this weekend’s Oz Comic Con Brisbane, will then go on to the C2E2 Chicago convention to represent Australia in the Crown Championships of Cosplay. Last year’s national winner Major Sam ended up going on to win the Crown Championships in March of this year!

Image courtesy of Dark Age Photography & Oz Comic Con
Image courtesy of Dark Age Photography & Oz Comic Con

So whether you’re into cosplay or collecting memorabilia and merchandise, meeting celebrities or need a fun family event to go along to, Oz Comic Con once again delivers on all counts. For Sydney fans though they’ll have to wait until next year for the next one, but Brisbane your turn is coming up this weekend on 17th and 18th September at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, so make sure you head down for your dose of pop culture fun!

Oz Comic Con Brisbane will be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September. Tickets available from the official Oz Comic Con website.