‘Tis the season for geeky conventions all around the world and it is keeping our resident Convention Monitor (GeekDad Joey) very busy. Even while we are still filtering through the news from events like SDCC and D23, big announcements continue from more and more conventions—and Australia is no different. With Oz Comic-Con stretched across two weekends in two major cities, there is a lot to cover. And I have a few of my own predictions for Sydney Oz Comic-Con. *wink wink*
Stars of the Screen
Oz Comic-Con (or “OzCC”) is heading back to its roots this year, showing off its strong connection with comic books of all styles. We have film and TV guests from across all the big names: Hayley Atwell (Marvel/Agent Carter), Keiynan Lonsdale (DC/Kid Flash), KJ Apa (Archie), and the English voice actors for FullMetal Alchemist and My Hero Academia Caitlin Glass, Aaron Dismuke, and Sarah Wiedenheft. For the lucky attendees in Brisbane, you also have John Barrowman (Doctor Who/Arrow). Check out the full list of guests here.
Personally, I love the panels with the special guests. While not everyone is as reliably forthcoming with spoilers as Tom Holland, special guest panels can still be a great opportunity to learn more about your favorite shows (both upcoming and classics).
EG Mum Prediction: Hayley Atwell will spill some news about her role in the upcoming Marvel What If…? series, with the return of Peggy Carter as Captain Britain. If she doesn’t carry a shield on to the stage, I’ll cry. Also, keep an eye out for Aisha Tyler and her stories from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Comic Book Creators Create
I’m pretty happy with my favourites coming to town: Nicola Scott, Tom Taylor, Dean Rankine, Andrew Constant, Louis Joyce, Maria Lewis, and Queenie Chan. These creators have all had amazing things happening this year. I don’t know who will have the greatest news to announce! While EG Sinister is looking forward to seeing Tom again, I’m most excited to hear about Maria’s new book coming out in November this year. And if Nicola finishes her Dick Grayson art (to match the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman commemorative pieces)… Well, let’s just say my savings plan is about to take a pretty big hit. But, geez, my wall will look pretty.
EG Mum Prediction: I see a VERY LONG line in front of Boss Logic’s table, with plenty of fans desperate to gain a signed copy of his artwork. Boss Logic (AKA Kode) is the artistic genius behind some of our favorite film posters, such as Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Panel to the People
For me, it’s not just about the guests or the merchandise. I want to meet with like-minded geeks and share some great ideas. Popular choices are cosplay tutorials and comic creations. There are even a few op-ed discussions about Steven Universe, sessions for book clubs, and workshops on making comics—presented by creators themselves!
EG Mum Prediction: Master the Dungeon: How to Design Kickass D&D Adventures on Saturday at 3.30pm on the Workshop Stage. D&D is still growing, helped along by Stranger Things and its popularity amongst big name stars like Dwayne Johnson and Drew Barrymore. It’s also a great exercise for budding writers to stretch their creative legs beyond the standard medium. Get in early to guarantee your seat.
The biggest reason for OzCC’s popularity with our family is the kid-friendly nature for it. Yes, there is still plenty of adult stuff available (including after-dark parties and cosplay panels). However, I love being able to introduce my kids to the geek-world. I love walking around the convention and seeing what catches their eye, thinking about how I can support this interest. Face it: a lot of this wasn’t around when I was their age and I really appreciate how much greater their opportunities are. Having a workshop to show kids how to develop their artistic skills is so important at this age. I often wonder what path my uncle would have taken if he had been encouraged to continue with his artwork rather than being constantly reminded to “get a real job.” We live in very different times right now; not everyone has the chance to follow every dream they think up, but kid-friendly conventions like OzCC provide another opportunity for geeky kids to at least consider all of the options.
EG Mum Prediction: Cosplay Parade is always a hit. Our EG Family first participated in the Kids Cosplay Parade in 2014. That was also when we met cosplay artist 5NOV Creations and his awesome family. It doesn’t seem like a real geek-convention if we don’t run into them at least once! I have no idea if they are entering the Parade again, but I’m always eager to see what they bring!
Support the Real Superheroes at Oz Comic-Con: Cure Cancer
In addition to all the fun of OzCC, the organisers are also teaming up with Cure Cancer. This year, the goal is to raise $100,000—enough to fund one year of crucial cancer research. Donations are currently being taken through the OzCC website with further information and opportunities available throughout each of the Oz Comic-Con events.
CheckPoint Organisation are also looking for volunteers to help at Brisbane OzCC (no word as yet on whether they need helpers for Sydney OzCC). CheckPoint often provides a “chill-out space” at various geek conventions; my first time seeing them was at PAX Aus in 2016. They are super supportive and always have a warm welcome for anyone who needs to step back from the overwhelming sensations of the Convention. If you are Brisbane-based and interested in helping out, sign up here. If not, that’s okay! Keep an eye out for them and remember, they are there if you need them.
Take Me to Oz Comic-Con
The next OzCC event is in Brisbane, 21-22 September at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. The following weekend is Sydney’s turn, 28-29 September at the Sydney Showgrounds. (Yes—new venue!)
The change of venue is a little unexpected. For the previous two years, OzCC was held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. Personally, I like the ICC and thought it provided plenty of opportunity to spread out with both Exhibit Hall and theatres for panels. As a family, I also prefer the ICC for lay-out and the availability of space for kids to take a time-out. The move to the Sydney Showgrounds may provide more layout area for the ever growing event, however, my previous experience with Supanova and other special events has not yielded a great experience. I’m interested to see what OzCC will offer at the Showgrounds. In the meantime, please bring plenty of water and comfy shoes. Food options are neither great nor cheap (see GeekMom Missy’s article about Feeding Your Family on the Cheap at a Con). And for families with young children, bring a pillow or thick towel for them to sit and rest on. There is little seating in the Exhibition Hall and few places for young kids to rest.
It is also worth noting, Oz Comic-Con ticketing has changed this year. Previous visits to OzCC involved purchasing adult tickets with kids 12-and-under receiving free admission with the adult. This year, children aged between 5-years and 12-years must purchase a children’s pass, while children 4-years and younger can enter for free with one paying adult. Ticket prices range from AUD$20 per child for one day (if purchased in advance) up to AUD$70 for a combined weekend pass for one adult and one child. While the change in venue would warrant a change in ticketing for Sydney, other cities may be caught unaware if they haven’t checked the website beforehand. Follow this link for more ticket information: https://ozcomiccon.com/tickets/
Even with the extra considerations for ticketing and venue, I’m still excited to see what OzCC presents to its fans! Oz Comic-Con has traditionally been a more relaxed geek event and enjoyable for the whole family. It’s only a few weeks away and I haven’t even started our family cosplay outfits yet. Only one kid is set for one day (Link from The Legend of Zelda). At least I have time to throw something together, and ready my list of commissions… and save my pennies… and read up on my books…
Nope, I can’t promise to see it all, but anything I do see will be shared on Instagram. Follow @geekmomblog to check if any of my predictions come true!