Report: Sydney Oz Comic Con 2017

OZCC

Oz Comic Con wrapped another year of shows in Sydney this year, to which I was privileged enough to attend again. While there were no X-Files stars out here (manly, I guess because the show is currently filming) I am hopeful 2018 will see the likes of William B Davis, Nick Lea or Gillian Anderson on our shores for one of them … hint hint.

The Brisbane/Sydney shows did have the likes of Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Game of Thrones) and Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who), plus my favourite artist Stewart McKenny, so it was hard to be disappointed with the line-up.

There’s no doubt that Oz Comic Con has become my favourite convention over the years, not only for their fabulous guests, for their support to my podcast and now for going that extra mile to make their con inclusive for all. There is one thing in saying your con is a safe space for everyone and diversity is welcome, but its a whole different thing when you follow through with that promise, despite the harassment companies have been receiving over doing such a thing in Australia at the moment. So well done Oz Comic Con – you can read about #OCCEquality here and show your support too.

Now with that political stuff out the way, let’s talk about two days at Sydney OCC.

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Comic Con Bingo

While I hunted for those elusive X-Files fans to have on the show (where were you guys!?), I also passed the time with some Comic Con bingo. The task was harder than I expected. I would see someone on my card, only to lose them five seconds later in the crowd.

The second part of the challenge was asking a cosplayer to pose with action figures and A) not feel like an idiot (I did the first couple of times) B) not have them wonder if I was some weird kid (hey, its possible, I am under 150cms tall). For the most part they were all good sports, some just had no clue what I was asking (I thought, “I have an XFiles podcast, I’m doing cosplay bingo, can I take a photo of you with Mulder and Scully?” seemed clear enough).

Nevertheless, it was loads of fun and I did tick a few off the bingo card!

I did wonder at the end of Sunday if it was actually my problem. Are 20 somethings too young to know the X-Files? Am I naive enough to think that everyone knows our favourite show? Perhaps. But that won’t stop me doing it again at the next convention.

Vendors and Merch.

Since I have a strict “no dust collectors” policy, I always limit my spending to art or creative things like buttons/pins. This isn’t to say you can’t get some amazing stuff at cons; I stared longingly at Pop Vinyls, action figures, statues and so much more. Not to mention a Brother Scan n Cut and Singer embroidery machine have been added to my wish list after watching demos at the Spotlight and Singer stalls.

As I mentioned before, my friend Stewart McKenny was there with his X-Files prints and I did remind him that he needs to create more. You should contact him too and tell him which characters you want to see. Don’t tell him I sent you. lol.

If you ever wanted a retro Mulder and Scully print, be sure to check out Bruce Loves You where you can also get some X-Files pins. Jason Palmer also has a gorgeous Scully print you can add to your collection and Kings Comics are sure to have X-Files comics in stock. Unfortunately, these are the only things you can find at cons these days, unless you’re lucky enough to find someone selling the Pop Vinyls or some old FTF action figures.

If you’re on the hunt for something non-XFiles, I found some gorgeous art in the likes of Welly’s Wonders and Cheeky Bucket. Absolutely gorgeous work by talented humans. Check them out.

I loved the display of Supergirl / Flash /Arrow costumes from FOXTEL. Imagine if we were in the 90s, it would have been the replica of Mulder’s office Fox Studios used to have.

The ICC

Sydney Oz Comic Con has spent its last three years at Glebe Island in the temporary convention centre. It was a great space, maybe a touch out of the way to travel to (which they made up for with good transport – ferries and buses) but a overall a good venue.

This year was the first at the new ICC and feelings are mixed. For me, it felt like the space was much smaller, though overall, I don’t think it was, just the isles were narrower. I felt like Artist Alley had less stalls this year. Maybe it didn’t, without a previous program on hand; it’s really hard to say. But there were lots of stalls and lots of awesome things to see.

My main complaint is with the ICC itself. The toilets in the foyer were blocked off and in the main hall are hidden away in little hallways without signage. They look like ‘staff only’ areas and it wasn’t until I asked an ICC staff member where they were that I realised. Food was also over-priced as expected at these kind of things I’d say the most expensive cafeteria food I’ve had at a con. Still, the chips were delicious, so I’m not totally complaining and I could have made the trek down darling harbour a little but I didn’t.

However, the coffee was awful. And if you know me, you know how I feel about bad coffee…

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Aside from that, it was another fun weekend and I can’t wait to go back again in 2018.

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Oz Comic Con Report & Geek Goodies Haul!

After a terrible experience with the 2012 Melbourne event and stories I had heard from friends about Oz Comic Con in other states recently, I was hesitant to ever attend another one. I was expecting crushing crowds in an over packed venue, ridiculous queues with hours of waiting time and people lined up out into the main floor preventing movement, Q&A panels starting late and guests not getting their fully allotted time.

What I got, I am pleased to say, was quite the opposite, even though I thought the day was going to be as terrible as it started…

First there was a mix up at the bus station due to there being no definite signage as to where the free shuttle to the event was – they said Bay 13 on the website but as I don’t live in Sydney, I had no clue where it was. Then when I arrived, there was a very annoying mix up when a volunteer scanned my ticket multiple times while another volunteer was rudely ushering me down the line. I got told I was already checked in (that will happen if you scan the ticket more than once) and they couldn’t give me a pass. But after that was sorted the rest of the day went fairly smoothly.

One thing that I noticed straight away was what a great layout the con had. The stages were away from each other, so the noise from each Q&A didn’t filter in, making it hard to hear (something that happened in Melb 2012). Although sitting at the back of stage 1 where I was, meant you had to suffer the noise of a TARDIS from a vendor and not hear the guests. Speaking of panels, while they didn’t run overtime (miracle!) I found it annoying the crowds weren’t being moved out at the end of each one. I like this method and feel its a good one to stick with. Yes, it takes time for everyone to move out and others get seated, but at least you get a fair chance to have a good seat. And it’s more fair than letting someone park their butt up the front all day when they’re really only there to maybe see one panel. Perhaps it was because there was no area to line up for panels, so maybe something for them to think about bringing back in the future.

Another thing I appreciated were the autograph tables being well away from the main floor. They appeared to have lots of space to line up and not filter back into the crowds blocking access. I didn’t get any photos or autographs this time, but a friend waited in the token line for about an hour, which is about the standard on a general admission ticket, and certainly not the length we waited at Supanova back in June (three hours even with a priority pass).

The con didn’t seem too over crowded at any stage on Saturday, which I’m not sure was due to a lack of attendees or there really was that much space to spread out. Perhaps it was the caliber of guests this time. While its always great to see Stargate guests and William Shatner, they have all been here multiple times recently.

Overall it was actually a pleasant experience and makes me less cautious about attending future events, so well done Oz Comic Con, you’ve surprised me.

Now on to the goodies!

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