“How can you not love this place?” I thought to myself as I awkwardly shuffled my way through the crowded aisle, not 2 metres away from a replica Nimbus 2000 and even closer, to what looked to be a very interesting conversation between Spiderman and a Stormtrooper.
Just as I finished purchasing a replica of Severus Snape’s wand for my beautiful partner, I noticed a Tracer making her way, rather hastily through the crowd out of the corner of my eye.
“Hey Tracer! Can I get a photo?” I beamed
“Sure!” She said and smiled happily, striking a pose straight out of Overwatch.
“Thanks!” I exclaimed as I handed her one of our business cards.
Oz Comic Con is a place where universes collide in a glorious orgy of expensive collectibles, pop culture, comics and cosplay, and the orgy has been getting bigger and better every year. Guests this year included Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger), Devon Murray (Seamus from Harry Potter), Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl and Pet), Mitch Pileggi (X-Files), Maggie Roswell (The Simpsons) and personally my most anticipated guest, Karl Urban who played Judge Dredd in the latest Dredd movie. (For those who haven’t seen it, then that needs to be rectified, quickly)
I was lucky enough to skip the waiting lines and secured the opportunity to interview both Ksenia Solo and Devon Murray before the event (Both interviews will be featured in our weekly podcast, The Mega Cast) but if standing in lines isn’t really your style, then it’s quite possible you were there for the chance to score something rare and collectible.
Replica props, first appearance comics, limited edition statues and signed merchandise. If you live with even the slightest itch to ‘collect’, then OZ Comic Con is like being born again. I actively planned ahead and left my credit card at home because I knew in my heart of hearts, that If I came across that $800 world war hulk statue I have spied once or twice before, that I would have had a lot of explaining to do when I got home to my young family. I did however pick up a really rad denim Jacket for my 1 year old son Seth, with a bunch of Star Wars patches sewed onto it, which he will be able to wear to the Con next year, when we all walk through the doors together as a family.
Cosplay is major part of the convention scene, and there was some incredibly impressive pieces on display at Oz Comic Con. There were Sub Zero’s and Scorpions, Spidermans and Spidergirls, Deadpools, Jokers, Riddlers, Narutos, Stormtroopers, Jedis, Saurons and about 16 million Harley Quinns. Unless you have done it yourself, it’s really hard to explain how cool it feels to walk around amongst spitting images of your childhood heroes and despite not yet taking part in the cosplay scene, it is still one of my favourite parts about going to these things. Everyone is super friendly and the amount of effort and pride they take in the art that is cosplay is really something to admire. My personal standouts for the day were Judge Dredd, Tracer, Alan Parrish (Jumanji) who I previously met at another con earlier in the year and pretty much every single Anime cosplayer who took the time to don their costume. (Click on the gallery directly below this to see all our photos!)
Whether you get visually exhausted from all the intriguing stimulus, or physically exhausted from walking around for hours looking at all the cool shit, an open lounge area is provided, with bean bags, a manga library and anime screenings for anyone who wants to take a load off and rest their tired feet. One of the standout stalls I had the pleasure of browsing specialised in replica weaponry from almost every Anime I could think of, I nearly picked myself up a sword from Attack on Titan, and even briefly considered cosplaying one of the Scout Regiment for my next convention. (maybe after I lose 15-20KG…)
Towards the back of the Convention, a multitude of tables hosted various video games from Smash Bro’s to Guitar Hero. USM’s own home grown hero, Joey, took on 7 challengers in an epic Smash battle, finishing second with his main squeeze, King Dedede. There were people playing Magic, Yugioh, Pokemon and a few other CCG’s I had never seen before. Right at the back of the incredibly large room was a fully playable HTC Vive, showcasing everything that VR has to offer. The line for this experience though was much too large for me ever consider tackling. So I guess my first VR experience will have to wait a little longer.
And then there was the Australian debut of the Death Troopers from the upcoming Star Wars movie, Rogue One. The music was looming and booming, the buildup was almost too much to handle, and when the curtain finally dropped, the Death Troopers stood tall, menacing and larger than life. It was an exhilarating moment for a Star Wars fan, and one that I will remember forever.
Oz Comic Con was everything I hoped for and more. I feel honoured that USM got to be a part of it as official media and thank everyone who helped make that happen, really, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.. Let’s hope that next year continues the trend and gets even bigger and even better. Maybe I’ll even be able to cosplay as one of my favourite Anime characters! And hopefully i’ll be able to dust off the old credit card and spend a few thousand on ridiculous collectables. See you all next year.