If you didn’t know Oz Comic Con was on over the weekend, you may have thought your favourite fictional characters were coming to life. I stood next to Batman as I caught the train to Elizabeth Quay Station, Dragon Ball Z’s Goku sat to my right.
With a guest line up of Supernatural’s Jim Beaver, Xena: Warrior Princess actress Lucy Lawless, and Arrow’s Christie Laing, thousands of Perth residents flocked to Perth Convention Centre on 2-3 April for Oz Comic Con.
As I walked to the convention centre, I was surrounded by the Mario brothers’, Deadpool and Hogwarts students. Upon arrival, an army of Stormtroopers stood chatting in the foyer waiting in line to buy tickets.
Everywhere you turned there were men, women and children dressed up in various comic, superhero, anime or fantasy characters. You were visually bombarded with Despicable Me Minions, Vikings’ Ragnar Lodbrok, and Cinderella all having a conversation together.
Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow, and White Walkers, Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf and Hobbits, Pokemon and Disney’s Emperor Kuzco were just some of the characters Perth residents were dressed up as.
The show floors were filled with exhibitors selling all kinds of fantasy and sci-fi related merchandise including; tattoos, comics, books, swords, posters, jewellery and toys.
Perth based graphic novel publishing company exhibited on the show floor, presented workshops and panels over the weekend to provide expertise on visual storytelling and pitching stories.
Gestalt Publishing co-founder and editor-in-chief Wolfgang Bylsma said Oz Comic Con had been a great way to connect with fans, the panels and workshops especially allowing a lot of two-way engagement.
“There’s a very similar feeling on the floor as last year but we’ve noticed a lot of people are here for professional development and a particular interest in comics.
“With movies and TV series based on comics coming out people are more aware of the fact that they can find more of the pop-culture style they enjoy but from a multitude of different publishers,” Bylsma said.
Cassie Girvan, dressed as Cinderella, has attended every Perth Oz Comic Con since the convention started in 2011, and dressed up every year.
“I’ve come as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Princess Sofia from Sofia the First, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, this year I’m Cinderella.
“I’m here with a charity group, so I dress up quite regularly at events like Telethon,” Girvan said.
Collaborative costume group Perth’s Allied Costumers, participate in charity and community events by dressing in cosplay as characters from popular movies, comics and television series.
Perth’s Allied Costumers co-founder Brian Dennison, dressed as Game of Thrones’ Little Finger, created the group after, meeting people dressed as Superman and Spiderman at a convention then meeting them again the following year at the same convention but dressed in entirely new characters.
“We got talking and decided to collaborate for another upcoming event and when we got together to discuss it, we realised we wanted to do something more with it. Which was giving our time to charity, raising money and helping kids in need.
“Until we became a legitimate organisation no one took us seriously, and we were just strange men in costumes who wanted to hang out with children in hospitals,” Dennison said.
“So, we decided to form group and become a not-for-profit organisation. Over time we’ve brought in new members and there’s always new people interested in joining our organisation.”
James and Katrina Darnborough attended Oz Comic Con for the first time on Sunday and came dressed as Alice from the video game Alice: the Madness Returns and Mario.
“The attraction to see Lucy Lawless was there but mostly we just wanted to check out Comic Con since we’d been to the smaller conventions.
“We’re having a really good time,” Katrina said.
Oz Comic Con is an annual convention and will return to Perth roughly the same time next April.