Over the weekend, Sydney played host to one of Australia’s most respected pop culture festivals –
Oz Comic Con. Touting an all-star guest line-up, large venue hall (the Sydney Exhibition Centre), and
hundreds of exhibitors, Oz Comic Con is always a good time, and this year was no exception.
It’s always a bit of a trek getting to the Sydney Exhibition Centre, but I don’t mind it. There are plenty
of worse ways to spend ten minutes than on a Sydney ferry in spring, especially if said ferry is playing
Disney tunes. The Exhibition Centre’s vast industrial floorspace itself feels both expansive and
cramped, a deep meandering hoard of shiny, loud, occasionally fluffy treasure filling the wide walls
and polished concrete slab floors. Picking through the goodies took the better part of a day, and I
enjoyed myself the most when browsing the stalls aimlessly for random ephemera.
On hand were geek gadgets, comic books, Pop Vinyls, t-shirts, leather goods, cosplay weapons,
buttons, badges, signed posters, anime, statuettes, contact lenses… you name it. Especially hot items
this year – anything relating to Pokemon Go, especially badges and pendants that show your team.
It’s so easy to lose vast swathes of wealth to the vendors, who cater to the many facets of pop
culture. I myself may have spent a good amount of disposable income on Sailor Moon DVDs. No
Along with larger companies and distributors, smaller artists also had a strong presence. The artist’s
alley was more like an artist’s encirclement, their rows of stalls flanking the entire show floor.
Gorgeous sci-fi, kawaii manga, classic comic book, alternative portraiture – the large stalls that
crenelated the interior market hung their goods for all to see, making a mosaic of fantastic imagery
that whetted the nerd appetite and provided a really creative atmosphere. For the more tactilely-
inclined, hand-made goods like postcards, badges, nekomimi, wool cloaks, and jewellery rounded
out the artist’s alley.
While I mostly avoided the panels in favour for stall-browsing, there something for all tastes on
display. QA sessions with Stargate Atlantis actors Joe Flanigan and Rainbow Sun Francks, panels with
Saturn award-winning Katee Sackhoff, or even a crash-course in how to be financially successful on
the internet with prominent Youtubers like Jayden Rodriguez and Meri Amber covered many of the
bases you’d expect, leaving few wanting.
There were opportunities to get a photo and an autograph with some of the famous guests, which
you were required to line up and pay for the privilege. It’s not my favourite part of the convention,
but it seemed well-organised and smooth enough. More accessible were the authors and comic
artists smattered around the middle of the con floor. Among them was Isobelle Carmody – a
personal favourite of mine – famous for the Obernewtyn Chronicles. Approaching their stalls and
desks and having a chat was a relaxed affair, with the creators always keen to have a chat with their
© Mattvayne Photography
Cosplayers held a commanding presence within the show, with many fantastic costumes from all
aspects of pop culture representing. There were (unsurprisingly) many Harley Quinns, a number of
Overwatch characters, the requisite Generic Army Dude, Star Trek uniforms, a number of Reys,
anime characters, and (surprisingly) few Deadpools. Topping off the informal showing was the
formal cosplay competitions and parade, where some truly stunning costumes were on show.
Special shout out to the guy who spent a small fortune 3D printing Batman armour from the Batman
vs Superman film, and the adorable family of Crayola crayons.
A surprising highlight that not many cons can boast is the universally dreaded experience known as
“con food”. Far from the immediately-regretted, pre-toilet- explosion fare of stodgy nachos or limp
fries traditionally associated with conventions, Oz Comic Con had perhaps the best con food I’ve
ever had. Props to whoever was cooking the butter chicken. It was still far from cheap, but at the
very least it was tasty and not an emetic.
© Mattvayne Photography
Oz Comic Con is always a good bet, and this year was not a letdown. While the star line-up may have
been a slightly lacklustre compared to previous years, it more than made up for it with some of the
best artist alley showings I’ve seen in a while. A good vibe, some good art, and polite people having a
fun time together makes an enjoyable event, and Oz Comic Con delivered in spades. There’s still a
chance to attend Oz Comic Con – if you live in Brisbane, it’s happening at the Brisbane Convention
and Exhibition Centre on the 17th and 18th of September. And, of course, there’s always next year.
© Blackbulb Imagery
All photography taken by & © Copyright of Matt Bartolo of Mattvayne Photography, Kurt Reid of Blackbulb Imagery & Andrew Evans of The Design Monsters, exclusively for Rogue Inc.
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Oz Comic-Con Sydney - Out and About
Oz Comic-Con Sydney - The Stars