Comic-Con Africa brings the mighty Comic-Con to South Africa.
Greetings to all you sexy peoples. This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Comic-Con Africa, so as you would expect here is me being all excited and writing about it. Much like every media institution in the country is probably doing this week. Comic-Con Africa has been brought to our shores by ReedPop, who themselves are no strangers to organizing Comic-Con’s all over the world, in collaboration with Telkom VS Gaming.
Now Geek/Nerd pop culture related conventions are nothing new to South Africa. Geekfest, rAge, and Icon among others come to mind, but a big international event like Comic-Con Africa is a whole new level for us. So how did it go ?
I’ll admit I was initially a little worried when some of the bigger names involved had to pull out for various reasons. Especially while I’m fairly familiar with some comic books from my childhood days, I’m not immediately familiar with the writers and artists who would be out at the event. Thankfully I’m happy to say Comic-Con Africa had so much to do and see that I was not disappointing.
Now as I’m sure anyone who has been regularly to big events will relate, parking can be a special kind of hell. I know more than once I’ve had rAges where I spent almost longer getting in and out the parking than at the event. But Comic-Con Africa came with their A-game. Right from the entrance to Kyalami Race Track, all the way to the parking and the door there were a large contingent of pointsmen on duty. I was very easily and painlessly directed to the right place, and never had to deal with traffic jams. Even when leaving everything was smooth and flowed.
Much like the parking the entrance queues, the people entrance queues constantly flowed, despite the large number of people attending. One of the people directing us to the various entrance lanes did get me slightly lost, but the rest of the organiser staff very quickly got me back on track without too much fuss. Personally I feel Kyalami International Convention Center was a good pick for the venue. Most events we’ve had out here are either outside where you get 3rd degree burns in the first five minutes, or squished into a venue that can’t handle the growth in the local nerd community. Comic-Con Africa Was nicely laid out with the various exhibitors split among four different areas. Three floors in the main building, and a temporary structure next to it. With Food stalls and overflow stalls scattered around the outside of the building.
This made it easy to get to see all the booths without getting squished like a sardine. Although at certain points even some of these areas did get quite congested. It definitely wasn’t the entire day, or the worst I’ve seen. Each area also grouped related content together. Meaning once you got your bearings, you were able to easily decide which set of things you wanted to see next.
The middle floor of the building was all things gaming. Various consoles and PCs were on display. As was the VS gaming eSports tournament. This area also lead out to the main stage area. I would intermittently watch some rounds of CS:GO, Take in a panel on the stage, and then go wandering to see what else Comic-Con Africa had to offer. On the top floor we had various media companies with their products / wares on display. There were also a variety of table top and card games on the go. Ground floor was all things merch, with all kinds of goodies up for sale. In the temporary structures outside you had the celebrity photo and autograph sessions. As well as the Artist Alley, where all manner of artists had their goods on display / sale. No matter what your interests Comic-Con Africa had something for you. Unless your interests are really boring. But then I can’t help you.
All said and done though, I can confidently say the best part of the day was the Netflix / Disenchantment Jumping Castle Death Matches. I honestly spent hours watching these. And the King they chose did a fairly decent go at King Zøg. His commentary was even more entertaining than the fights.
Comic-Con Africa was a three day event, I attended two of these. Impressively all three days, including the Friday when most of us had work were sold out. while there is definitely some room for growth to truly be the biggest con in SA, the support I saw received shows there is the potential to achieve that growth as future editions come. Follow Comic-Con Africa on their Website, Facebook, and Twitter.