It’s hard to describe Cons to people who haven’t experienced one. On the surface, they’re a place to see celebrities, dress in costumes and buy stuff. But they’re so much more than that.
Cons are crazy and hectic and yet somehow, the great ones create a sense of community and inclusion: an incredible feat given the large crowds that always attend. This year, Oz Comic-Con brought some of the biggest names in fandoms to our capital cities, and Brisbane (17-18 September) had a line-up so great that even the threat of heavy rains couldn’t dim the excitement.
Cons work so well because they’re a diverse gathering of artists, and whether you’re a fan of movies, TV, books, animation or cosplay, Brisbane Comic-Con absolutely nailed the line-up.
Robert Englund - image © Kylie Thompson
This year, Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund was talking life behind the iconic prosthetics and had a lot of fun teasing fans with rumours of a collaboration with DC Comics. But Englund wasn’t the only drawcard for horror lovers: Ken Kirzinger, who played Jason in ‘Freddy Vs. Jason’ thrilled crowds, talking about life as a stuntman in some of the biggest action hits of recent years.
For those with a more literary leaning, comic superstars Doug Holgate and Tristan Jones were helping aspiring horror writers and artists figure out the creative industries. Fans of ‘Supernatural’ had a field day playing ‘spot the guest star’ at this year’s Con. Rachel Miner and Nicki Aycox, who shared the role of Meg, tackled some of the big issues around the beloved TV show in their talk.
Rachel Miner and Nicki Aycox - image © Kylie Thompson
Timothy Omundson, who played Cain, kept crowds in stitches throughout his Q&A sessions, even getting them to serenade his wife for her birthday. Even Mitch Pileggi, best known for his role as Skinner in ‘The X Files’, has done a stint in ‘Supernatural’, and was more than happy to talk to fans about his time playing Sam and Dean’s grandfather.
Timothy Omundson - image © Kylie Thompson
There were stars from ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Hobbit’, and New Zealand’s favourite Trekkie, Karl Urban was a major crowd pleaser this year. Urban (who is currently filming ‘Thor: Ragnarok’), has become a familiar face in some of the biggest, most popular action movies and shows of recent times, even nostalgic '90s icons ‘Hercules’ and ‘Xena’.
Book lovers and aspiring writers had the chance to talk to Australian and international talent, as Isobelle Carmody, C.S. Pacat, Marianne de Pierres and David Farland talked the writing life, and what goes into creating a novel.
Unsurprisingly, cosplayers brought their A-game to Oz Comic-Con, with guests loving the chance to grab photos with their favourite heroes and villains. It was the year of kick-ass women in cosplay, with Harley Quinn and ‘Ghostbusters’ Holtzmann clear favourites for cosplayers. The championship events showed a staggering level of craftsmanship and talent in costuming in both the child and adult competitions, and judges had a hard time choosing the winners.
Oz Comic-Con makes a point of promoting inclusivity and focusing on the wellbeing of their guests. There’s been a lot of talk over the years about how to make sure panel presentations are easily accessible to those with special needs, and this year’s Con saw a shift away from a multi-floor set-up to a more streamlined experience. Rather than having presentations in different spaces, often ones a bit of a hike away from the main hall, this year saw all of the Con held in the one space. With any major structural change, there are a few minor glitches to be resolved, but overall, the new look Con seemed a hit with guests.
This year also saw a quiet space made available for those of us with anxiety around crowds, or those just needing a moment away from the break-neck speeds of the event. It’s little touches like these that make the Con a more accessible, enjoyable event for a wider range of guests, and it’s wonderful to see Oz Comic-Con working to support the differing needs of fandom members.
Image © Kylie Thompson
This year’s Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane was a madcap rollick through the fandoms for event-goers, and a wonderful end to the 2016 Oz Comic-Con series of events. The great news is that the Con will be back in 2017, with organisers hoping to create an even bigger, better Con for guests.