The D1DLC gang hit Adelaide OzComiCon over the 1st and 2nd of April and soaked it up. We each have our preferences in what we’re there for, Brad for the panels and local talent, Jake got to introduce his mum to conventions and general geekery, and Jordo for the whole community vibe that comes with these events.
For me, it’s the cosplay. I’ve been attending local (South Australian) conventions since 2005 when I first started attending Adelaide’s own AVCon. The one thing that has continuously blown me away is the phenomenal number of cosplayers, and the amazing quality of both their outfits and their community.
A little history. Back in ’05 Oz Comic-Con wasn’t a thing, neither was SuperNova for that matter. What few conventions that did happen across Australia were usually highly specific and sporadic at best, such as the Star Trek specific Austrek convention. However, AVCon, a small Anime and Video gaming Convention started in 2002 and by 2005 had really picked up some steam, and it definitely got my attention. Even back then, with a relatively small attendance cosplay was alive. There was a certain prestige awarded by attendees to those devoted enough to go the distance.
Fast forward to now, in the twelve years since I started frequenting the growing number of regular conventions I have watched the local community flourish along with the national community. Cosplay is now a generally accepted hobby for people of all ages and genders, with brilliant works of art coming out of the creativity and passion of talented individuals, and it appears the conveners are realising this too. Comic Con alone had four separate cosplay segments across the two major stages, and multiple talks and presentations at the community stage about costume creation, hints and tricks. The dedicated “Cosplay Central” area also allowed for the showcase of costumes and props, as well as some pretty stunning backdrops for photography, one of which you can see in the image of Anthony Chammas as Batman at the end of the article, along with dozens of other brilliant cosplayers that I met over the weekend.
I always strive to see as many costumes as I can, especially at Oz Comic Con due to the greater variety in styles and genre’s that it brings, not to mention my personal love of comics. Unfortunately this year unforeseen circumstances meant that I missed the cosplay parade, an open display for anyone that dons a costume inspired by their favourite game, cartoon, movie, book or possibly more which is held at Comic Con, SupaNova and AVCon. I did however see “Cosplay Active” just prior to the parade, a segment at Oz Comic Con dedicated to those that wanted to display exactly what that character was, and who they were, live on stage. Now I’m not going to lie and say that every entrant blew me away, but I dare anyone that viewed the event to challenge the conviction and love shown by each and every entrant in respect to their chosen costume and source material. For me watching that level of devotion is uplifting. To see obviously nervous people beat down their urge to leave and instead strut their stuff, alongside others so full of confidence, and to hear the words of encouragement from fellow cosplayers to both of these groups of people is fantastic.
I know I’m talking this up as if it is the epitome of acceptance and understanding, but before you correct me, know that I do understand. I understand there is still stigma around the hobby. I understand there are still those within the community with unrealistic expectations and even truly hurtful opinions about fellow cosplayers. However the overall feeling I always get at these large conventions is that while you’re there, you’re accepted. You’re even celebrated, for being unashamedly in love with your inner geek and what it represents.