Oz Comic-Con is back for its eighth year in Brisbane, bringing with it a lively assortment of comic authors, actors and cosplayers, as well as a brand new Australian-based comic book series.
The pop culture expo kicks off on Saturday September 21 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Guests will be able to attend panels and presentations on a range of topics including special effects, voice acting and cosplay skits.
There will be meet and greet sessions with famous actors such as Hayley Atwell (who plays Peggy Carter in Marvel’s Agent Carter), Keiynan Lonsdale (who plays Wally West/Kid Flash), John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn (Arrow and The Flash), and Osric Chau (Supernatural’s Kevin Tran).
Oz Comic-Con has been a haven for popular culture lovers here in Australia since 2012, when, in its first year, comic legend and Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee appeared as a guest in Melbourne.
One of the highlights of this year’s event is set to be the launch of the new graphic novel series that features Australian superheros, the Super Australians.
The comic, from Black House Comics, is a group project by 24 artists and writers, and features 12 Australian-inspired superhero characters.
Black House Comics said these characters were made to represent “all ages, all ethnicities and all walks of life, and all arrays of super powers or special abilities in this strange, wide, brown land of ours”.
Artist Cristian Roux is one of the 24 artists and writers involved in the project.
“At Oz Comic-Con what we will be doing is promoting our latest book, which is kind of an anthology series, comprised of the works of a number of different creators,” Mr Roux said.
“Usually they are teams of two, a writer and artist involved in a shared universe of Australian superheroes,” he said.
“For the past couple of years, it’s been in development, and now with the book ready to be launched at Sydney and Brisbane Oz Comic-Con, that’s what we will be doing.”
Mr Roux said there were many different heroes and villains in the series.
“There’s 12 heroes – the character I’ve been working on is a Chinese-Australian, she inherits a legacy artefact that gives her superpowers,” he said.
“There’s a character from Antarctica the Aetheric Man versus Mr Erebus… Lyrebird and Dynamica Tungsten, they’re under the sea… Sunstrike… Denerie versus The Ghoul… Clash of the Pinnacles in Western Australia… and Soldier Legacy battles the Gold Ghost,” Mr Roux said.
He said the artists and writers were all set up with heroes and villains, with a Melbourne hero and villain, and ones for Adelaide and the Blue Mountains.
“My character battles her villain at the Great Barrier Reef.“
Mr Roux also said the characters in the series had a variety of special powers.
“Some have superpowers, some are technological, and some are supernaturally powered.”
Christian Roux said working on the series with other artists was fun.
“It is a lot of fun, I think,” Mr Roux said.
“There’s a lot being explored in the format of… its almost a homage to the silver age of comics,” he said.
Mr Roux said the individual comics were all interlinked, with an ongoing story that gets revealed through each of the chapters.
“That’s what’s really great about it I think, there’s new characters, there’s a bigger story and it’s focused on the Australian [way of life],” he said.
Oz Comic-Con isn’t just about comic books; there is a whole culture of cosplay going on, with visitors to the expo not only dressing in character but acting in character as anything from Stormtroopers converging to march behind a Darth Vader, Disney princesses and villains having standoffs in hallways, and Spidermen and Deadpool doing dance offs.
Sam Gironda is one of the thousands of cosplayers who attend Oz Comic-Con each year.
Mr Gironda said he first started dressing up as Superman in 2016, attending with just a couple of friends.
But since the release of the DC movie, Shazam, Mr Gironda said he had put many hours into making an outfit for one of his all-time favourite characters.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Shazam and the DC characters, and obviously with the movie coming out I was very excited for it,” he said.
“I’m a big kid at heart anyway… so I thought, ‘why not give it a crack’.”
“I’d say from initial planning of what I needed to putting it all together, [the costume] took two and a half months maybe – and that went down to putting the final details on it two days before the Con.”
“[I spent] every time I had a spare minute, just working on it, trying to get it to a point where I was happy with it.”
Mr Gironda said he was really impressed with the effort people went to with their costumes for Comic-Con events.
“I did know that cosplay was a big thing because I’ve been going to conventions in Australia for years, so I had always seen people’s costumes and what they make and it always just blew me away because they looked so good,” he said.
“It’s just something fun to do because you’re walking around a convention hall as one of your favourite characters from a comic, movie, tv show, whatever and you just have a whole heap of fun with you and your friends.”
Mr Gironda said seeing people’s reactions to his costume was particularly rewarding.
“One of the best things is seeing the faces of kids that walk past you – especially for Superman, because every kid knows Superman,” he said.
“They see the cape, they see the red, blue and yellow and think ‘yep, that’s Superman’.”
Mr Gironda said it was common for children to come up to him and ask questions about the character.
“Some kids think you actually are Superman, which is quite fun,” he said.
“It’s great to see these kids come by and maybe get a photo, and just see the smiles on their faces because you are portraying a character you both love.”
The Brisbane Oz Comic-Con event also offers more than 100 stalls and booths, selling everything from comic merchandise and collectables to art supplies, games and literature.
There are also plenty of family-friendly activities, including a kids cosplay parade, comic workshops especially for kids, child-friendly anime screenings and games in the gaming zone.
Oz Comic-Con comes to Brisbane from September 21 to 22 before going to Sydney from September 28 to 29.
Tickets start at $37.50.
For more information about Oz Comic-Con or to buy tickets, visit ozcomiccon.com.