By Aponi Kailash
Review from a Fly-On-The-Wall [who likes to occasionally buzz around] [10/10 would recommend]
Where else can you see Darth Vader high-fiving Luke Skywalker, three Jokers having a gossip or Iron Man alive and well… too soon?
The Melbourne Oz Comic-Con has a truly unique atmosphere. It is exhilarating to be around so many people that are energetic and passionate about the creative. Just walking to the venue from a nearby tram stop then down the long hallway at the Exhibition and Convention Centre, I immediately had the urge to smile. This weekend-long annual extravaganza is full of events and sights that make your inner (or outer) nerd wild with glee.
The event was divided into three main locations:
- The Main Floor — tightly squeezed together stands displaying comics, smaller panel stages, assorted fandom paraphernalia, wicked photo opportunities and snack foods
- The Stages — holding larger panels just outside the main floor; noted panels from 2019 were Shadowhunters’ Dominic Sherwood and Alberto Rosende (Jace Herondale and Simon Lewis), Netflix’s Lucifer cast-mates D.B. Woodside and Tricia Helfer (Amenadiel and ‘Mother’) and Supernatural’s Alexander Calvert and Osric Chau (Jack Kline and Kevin Tran).
- The Hallway — the large space between the aforementioned locales where intermingling occurs and cosplayers are in high abundance.
There was never a dull moment. The convention is spread over two days, packed with panels ranging from comic book making and getting your work published, to making a cosplay from leather. Don’t fear if you can only get there for a day — many of the panels are offered on both days and the awesome stands on the main floor are there until close on the Sunday afternoon.
For more specific advice on how to occupy your time that you can’t get from the event break-down on the Oz Comic-Con websites, allow me to outline some ideas:
My Brief and Biased Recommendations on What To Do:
– Walk around and look. Yes an obvious suggestion duh, but as basic as it sounds it is pretty great to just surround yourself with all the crazy (in the best way) that is going on around you.
– Go to a panel (at least one where you recognise the name of the guest!). These panels are always energetic and get you up close to your favourite stars. But like the trains and buses of the PTV some panels are not on time. Waiting is a given and those impatient should find another form of diversion. With that said, the experience is not to be missed!
– Get a photo with a Cosplayer…especially those who really went all out. They look awesome and deserve credit for their effort and you can pretend that it’s really Chris Evans standing beside you.
Another big allure to the convention is the signings and photo opportunities with the guests. Personally I have never taken part (though I have been vastly tempted, my bank balance has other ideas) but I have it on good authority all of the guests are kind, lovely and keen to have a laugh. So order these opportunities in advance on the Melbourne Oz Comic-Con website and rub shoulders with your celebrity crush.
Hot Tips for Survival:
– Wear comfortable shoes (there will be a fair bit of walking involved and it’s always nice to have pain-free!)
– Even though the event takes place in winter you won’t be too cold; it gets plenty steamy!
– Bring some extra $$ to buy a souvenir, snack or sword — (I would highly recommend the cinnamon and sugar donuts)
– Don’t be afraid to ask for photos of cosplayers, just be respectful…so no accosting people in bathrooms
– You are going to have to line up. That’s for certain. Make friends with someone else in the line or just enjoy the people watching experience
– …speaking of lines, at the particularly popular panels (ie. any attractive male/female actor/ actress) brace yourself for long queues going in, so if you want good seats be prepared to join the ‘cattle’ lines
– organise your time effectively (at least for the things you desperately want to see) and then hit the floor in between panels or signings/photos
To Cosplay or Not to Cosplay…
In my personal and humble opinion Cosplaying is fun if you are;
- a) passionate about the character (or at least know of a character you wouldn’t mind playing for a day or two)
- b) fully into it (I don’t mean acting like that character all the time — especially if you’re the Joker — but make sure you put at least a smidgen of effort into your costume)
- c) willing to have people stop you and ask for a photo (accept this for the compliment it is! You must look fabulous — or at least semi-cool)
Having experienced cosplay, I can say I found it to be an inclusive, supportive environment to dress up and to walk around confidently. I (like any reformed drama kid) love the attention and not to brag but last year my cosplay attempts led to being asked by three separate groups of people to have a photo with me **smug hair toss**.
If you are content to don the anonymity that comes from civilian clothes, don’t let my enthusiasm for cosplay coerce or overwhelm. There are many who attend in ‘normal’ clothes (including myself this time around) and I can safely say this won’t hinder the experience or immersion in the slightest. Despite not getting the big names seemingly reserved for San Diego Comic-Con, there is always a familiar (especially after a quick Google search) face that you can boast you were in the same building as.
So for a new experience I would highly recommend buying a ticket. Make a friend. Take a friend. Smile at someone. Enjoy the atmosphere and create memories. There are definitely worse ways to spend a weekend!
Catch a video summary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vz8nsUTUXc