Comic Con Africa 2018 was definitely something that majority of the fellow geeks, nerds and, surprisingly, a lot of general folks out there were looking forward to.
Walking into a very anticipated and almost unknown event, as all of the fans out there did not know what to expect, was a treat. Seeing people dressed to impress, hours spent on preparing the perfect cosplay outfit, and even getting to see famous comic artists, Comic Con Africa was probably the event of the year.
There were several elements that made this event such a success, not to mention an African first. Day one of the event hosted an unexpected 15,000 people and there was an adventurous spirit walking among the diverse fans there. From PlayStation VR setups to OMEN gaming laptops by HP catering for video gamers at large, OMEN featured a stage that was probably the most popular VR stage at Comic Con Africa. HP's OMEN definitely lived up to their standard of "power that goes the distance" and if fans could brace the fierce queue in order to get a chance at playing the "Beat Saber" game to enter a VR world that was presented on an awesome super-massive laptop, and players could experience a music-infused, action-packed real-time block-slicing game.
Having to explore almost four different levels of 'exclusive areas' which featured artists that showcased fan art, comic books, art prints and tonnes more, fans could indulge in finding amazing merchandise and souvenirs to take home – EVEN autographs from some of their favourite comic illustrators. There was so much to take in until you made your way to the 'fear tunnel' where all your zombie nightmares came true.
After fighting your way through rotten zombies that most probably wanted to devour your flesh, fans had a diverse set of game equipment shops to browse through from Predator, Leigon, BT Games, to other well-known brands. As a first-timer, we got to experience something known as LARPING, for those of you who don't know... Live Action Roleplaying is where the players have to physically act out the actions of their fictional characters, which was set in a fictional world. This often involves combat using buffer swords and/or Nerf guns.
Tabletop wargaming took place straight through the weekend, which seemed to be the ultimate geek hobby and, for someone who's never seen this in action, it was definitely something that caught our attention. The collection of buildings, the way the figures were painted and the demos that were played including features from Warhammer 40K and Infinity, we could understand why its any ultimate geek's dream come true, especially in such a big environment.
The championships for the best cosplayer took place on Saturday afternoon, which featured some of the best craftsmanship and all the entries had to represent a character or element from pop culture including comic books, movies, television, and fantasy. The judges featured some of the best-known cosplay characters out there. The winner of the cosplay championship was Tayla Barter, wearing an incredible Monster Hunter Nergigante outfit. She celebrated on stage, receiving a pretty sweet bundle of cash, confetti and huge applause, and will represent Africa in 2019 at C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay in Chicago.
The VS Gaming Championships also took place at Comic Con Africa this year, which featured all the competitive gamers in South Africa. The VS Gaming championship brought together the top gamers from the VS Gaming online league, which consisted of an outstanding 27, 000 registered users. The two main VS gaming stages represented Counterstrike champions and Dota2 champion players. This was the world's first Comic Con that had such a strong E-sport affiliation, which was driven through the partnership with Telkom's VS Gaming and the Master's finals.
The event saw appearances by international celebrities Ricky Whittle (American Gods, The 100), Yetide Badaki (American Gods), Travis Fimmel (Vikings, Warcraft), Kevin Sussman (Big Bang Theory) and Demore Barnes (12 Monkeys, American Gods). Fan Favourites could've gotten some epic photo ops, with official Comic Con Africa photos and autographs, if they dared to brave the endless lines to not miss the opportunity.
There was also a range of successful panel discussions and Q&As with artists, guests and cosplayers, and the panels covered matters such as the film industry, representation and the future of film and television, especially with the growing popularity of science fiction, comedy and fantasy television series.
It might seem that the organisers thought of every aspect and the only drawback was that Comic Con Africa did not provide enough shade for the 45,000 odd fans that flooded through the gates over the weekend of Comic Con Africa.
Other than that we do hope that Comic Con Africa will take the learnings from this year and make 2019's edition even bigger and better!