When it comes to comics, I don't claim to be the biggest or most knowledgeable chap on the subject. I've only just got into the medium recently, and while I certainly do enjoy they, my main reason to attend the very first Oz Comic-Con was to hopefully learn a little more about them.
I went in with the lowest expectations; my previous experience with the E-Games expo in Melbourne taught me that when it comes to cultural conventions, Melbourne never gets things right. That festival died just two years into its lifespan, which was sad to say the least.
That's why I was so surprised when I arrived on the Saturday morning to see a MASSIVE line outside the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. It spanned all throughout the centre of the building, out the doors, around the corner, and right back onto the grass at the end of the building. From the get go it seemed Oz Comic-Con was going to be a success.
We patiently waited in line for a good 40 minutes before we finally reached the ticket booth. We purchased two weekend passes and about ten minutes later we were in. Inside was a world of stall, cosplayers and magic to be explored.
There was a good selection of classic comic stalls along with swords, gun props, zombie parties, goth, steampunk and general anime collectibles. Other highlights included the amazing 501st Legion who dress up as Star Wars characters for charity, and of course the special guests.
While I refused to pay the daylight robbery fee of $40 to get an autograph from Patrick Stewart, I did get to meet a very talented bunch of writers from Gestalt Publishing. The guys are based in WA, and have some truly amazing books that are receiving national and worldwide recognition. Look them up and get reading!
I also managed to catch a few panels which included Chris Sabat, Eric Vale and Todd Habberkorn, the entire Gestalt Publishing team, Patrick and Daniel Stewart and I'll admit, we watched the Cosplay parade which was a lot of fun.
The worst part of the event was definitely the queues. Despite purchasing weekend passes months in advance, MMGN members M4cr0bat and Kiah couldn't get in for almost two hours on the first day, as the organisers had sold to capacity and pre-ordered tickets were forced to wait outside until people left the building.
I was a little sneaky on the second day however. There was at least a 2 hour wait in the line to gain access to the convention, but through some sneak detective work we were able to slip right through when the security guards were distracted. That was definitely a highlight of the event.
All in all it was an AWESOME first Oz Comic-Con and I really hope they pull out all the stops next year. There was a great turn out, and if they manage to get some high-profile celebrities like they did this year, and organise the queue systems a little better, we could have a great annual festival on our hands.