On Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July 2012, Melbourne had the honour of hosting its very first Oz Comic-Con, and what a way to start the franchise, with Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee coming to bless the event with his presence.
Hundreds soon became thousands of fans lining up to witness the event. With a star lineup of well-known comic artists and actors such as Sir Patrick Stewart, (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Jason Mamoa (Conan, Game of Thrones), it was no surprise the event was raking in this many people.
As day one commenced, I arrived to see the Exhibition Centre bursting with a crowd that literally wrapped itself around the building. It was estimated that by midday the event had tipped the attendance to over a thousand and still counting with every minute that went by.
All This And Stan Lee Too!
Throughout the venue a range of stores sold comic, anime and game related items. I found myself getting broker by the minute, as the stalls had a lot to offer.
Comic artists from well-known companies such as DC, Marvel, Gestalt, Dark Horse, Bongo, Image and more also attended. You could take their photos, pay them to draw up an original sketch and ask them to review your own comic work.
After wandering aimlessly, unable to shake off my shopaholic addiction, I broke away and attended Stan Lee’s panel, which was just marvellous and interesting. He explained the creation and original ideas behind his comic book characters and where the idea for The Avengers came from, as well as the origins of the company name Marvel. Stan also cleared up that there has never been any hatred between DC and Marvel, and that both companies are actually good friends.
Day One had come to a close, but I had a feeling day two was going to be the same only with minor alterations.
Meeting Mister Stewart
On day two of Oz Comic-Con I arrived at 7.30am, because I so badly wanted to meet Patrick Stewart and Stan Lee, and I needed to score a token to be able to do so. I was surprised to see that the place was packed so early in the morning. By 8.30am the venue had already developed a line that once again led out of the building.
Sunday followed the same schedule as the previous day, with talks from Stan Lee and Patrick Stewart and all the other major talents that were at the event. Most of my day was spent lining up with the rest of the fans, waiting to meet the various talents that attended the event.
Waiting to meet the talent got ridiculous. Long lines began to develop to ridiculous lengths, causing fans to miss out on meeting their favourite stars. Even the lines to purchase the tokens that you needed to be able to meet the stars were extremely long. For some fans it took three hours to get their tokens, while others missed out due to sell-outs.
After meeting with and having my photo taken with Patrick Stewart, Stan Lee and Jason Mamoa - which I’m still finding hard to believe happened - I once again found my self strolling around the complex, and soon found myself broke once more, as I bought more things from the stalls before heading to Patrick Stewart's panel, which was absolutely hilarious and entertaining.
Patrick, joined on stage by his son Daniel, talked about his experiences on Star Trek as well as his acting career and other experiences, while Daniel would often butt in and brighten the mood by adding in humorous lines. It was an amazing experience and a good laugh.
As the clock wound down the last two hours of the show, the event I was most curious about started up. I had always wanted to see what a cosplay competition was like, and what they actually did in it.
For the uninitiated, a cosplay competition is for fans who dress up as characters from comics, games and movies, sort of like a fancy dress comp. There were different categories, from best musical to best comic, and all contestants either had to perform or pose while a panel of judges made their decision.
It was a tough decision, but eventually all the awards were handed out all winners, who received a gift voucher for buying material and fabric with, to help them further develop their costumes, and a complimentary toy replica gun. Runners up also scored a replica gun.
I was lucky enough to interview Luke, one of the cosplay competitors, who dressed as Iron Man, made famous by Robert Downey Jr, which won him the Best Movie or TV Cosplayer Award.
"When I first started building this it was out of enjoyment," Luke said, "and when I heard CC was coming, I thought, 'Sweet!'"
Luke worked on his costume in his spare time between work and university exams. "Honestly, I didn’t come expecting to win anything," he said. "I just came to have a good time. I didn’t exactly know that they had competitions for costumes until I signed up and was called to participate."
Luke went on to explain that he chose to dress as Iron Man because "he’s just a real person". He said he admired the character because he was a normal person taking advantage of what he has.
An Unforgttable Memory
After interviewing Luke the event began to wind down and soon what turned to be an amazing experience also turned into an unforgettable memory.
I had met my most treasured stars, scored heaps of cool stuff (and gone broke at the same time), met artists and comic writers from over the globe and - last but not least - had met the famous Stan Lee.
What an incredible experience it was. It surely won’t be my last comic convention.
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Articles Written by Anthony G
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