By LAURA PIETROBON.
In a stroke of good fortune for local comic book and pop culture fans, Adelaide has been chosen to host the Australian debut of Oz Comic – Con.
The event will be held from March 31 to April 1 at the Adelaide Showgrounds.
Event Director Carissa Avenhouse was enthusiastic about this new pop culture event, which is launching in Adelaide before a stint in Melbourne.
“There are different events in Australia, but sometimes the guests that the fans want to see aren’t brought out, so we definitely felt there was room for one that was a good quality event that is a lot of fun,” she said.
Ms Avenhouse said the convention wasn’t just for hardcore comic book fans – it will also feature TV and film stars, animators and representatives from the world of gaming.
“That’s the great thing about an expo, it’s not specific to one sort of area, so there is a great variety of things,” she said.
“We tried to get a lot of actors and special guest we know are fun and enjoy interacting with the fans as well, so that makes a big difference.”
Ms Avenhouse explained that the decision to bring the convention to Adelaide first, was largely due to the lack of similar events held here.
The growing popularity of AVCon, the yearly anime and video game convention held in July, signalled to Ms Avenhouse the importance of bringing more pop culture events and conventions to Adelaide.
“Adelaide does have a large fan base, just undiscovered. A lot of people don’t even know about these events,” Ms Avenhouse said.
Vanessa Cianfaglione, a student and burgeoning comic book fan, is of the same opinion.
“I think having a Comic Con of our own is very important,” said Ms Cianfaglione.
“Adelaide has a massive geek underground if AVCon attendance numbers are anything to go by, and we shouldn’t have had to miss out to the old ‘bigger population equals better attendance’ equation that persuades events like these to stick to the eastern states.”
Fellow student Natasha Filippi agreed with her.
“A lot of the time these events become exclusive to eastern states, and as a student I wouldn’t be able to afford to travel for the event,” Ms Filippi said.
Ms Filippi said that another positive to holding more Adelaide events is that people who aren’t familiar with conventions have the chance to experience them.
“I’m attending this year mostly out of curiosity,” she said.
“I have seen the large American conventions used on sit-coms such as Big Bang Theory and heard general talk about how much fun they are.”
Miss Cianfaglione also counts the atmosphere of conventions as one of their biggest drawing cards.
This year’s Adelaide convention will play host to names like Norman Reedus from hit Walking Dead, Australian comic book artists Nicola Scott, who Ms Avenhouse describes as “a shining light at DC Comics”, as well as Jewel Staite, who starred in Joss Whedon’s cult hit ‘Firefly’ and Bill Farmer (better know as the voice of Goofy).
Fans can take part in competitions held throughout the weekend and check out stalls from a variety of fan clubs and local retailers.
Ms Avenhouse said that local retailers benefit from events like Oz Comic-Con
A thriving pop culture “really does help the local retailers”, according to Ms Avenhouse.
“It brings attention to their store, highlights that you don’t have to buy off the internet and interstate to get what you want,” she said.
According to Ms Avenhouse, some local businesses have been hesitant to jump on board, preferring to hold back and see how the event turns out. Those that have offered to join in are “really excited about the events.”
Although Oz Comic – Con is still a week away, Ms Avenhouse is sure it will be a sure hit with local audiences.
For more information, visit: http://ozcomiccon.com/