Closing on a high note, Comic Con Cape Town saw thousands of elated fans streaming into the CTICC to take in the final day of the festival. Having hosted a dynamic programme which has whet fans’ appetites across the four days, Comic Con Cape Town, in partnership with the Cape Town International Animation Festival, and FanCon, and hosted by the City of Cape Town, has blown fans away by cultivating an inclusive community through this exhilarating experience, which has all fans looking forward to their next Pop Culture adventure in the mother city.
Spirits have been high all weekend long as some fans have discovered a love they may have never known they had, and others have entrenched themselves even deeper into their favourite fandoms by participating in activities and Q&A sessions on the main stage, adding to their collections from local vendors, connecting with likeminded fans and learning from experts on the panels, and meeting international talent they’ve only ever dreamt of seeing.
Guests, professional cosplayers, and enthusiasts showed up and showed off with their costumes, dressing up as their favourite fictional, Marvel, DC Comics, anime, TV, video game or movie characters. The Daily Cosplay Competition saw an array of amateur and professional cosplayers go head-to-head to showcase their skills and win prizes across all four days.
As the eagerly anticipated Cosplay Regional Championship neared closer, avid cosplay enthusiasts shook off their nerves and confidently stepped onto the Main Stage to compete for the title of Comic Con Cape Town Regional Champion of Cosplay on Sunday. Draped in cosplays that took anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months to construct, with one costume taking up to a year to perfect, contestants assumed their character’s psychical traits to give a performance that brought their cosplay to life. Star Wars, Fallout: New Vegas, Dragon Slayer, and Pokémon were a few of the pop culture references that contestants embodied, to get one step closer to the winning title.
In a costume impersonating Nadja from What We Do in the Shadows, Nicola Andalis went on to become the winner of the coveted title with the opportunity to compete in continental championships held at Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg later this year. Moments after the previous champion, Ludus Cosplay, handed over his title, the new champion had the following to say on her win: “It feels unbelievable that I’ve been crowned as the Regional Champion of Cosplay. I’ve spent many years perfecting my craft and working towards an achievement like this, this moment feels surreal, if not magical in a way. I’m honoured to be competing in the African championships later this year”.
At Artist Alley, the heartbeat of the festival, international and local illustrators came together for various panel discussions aimed at sharing their expertise, empowering the community, and engaging fans and collectors. One of the highlights was looking at the importance of telling ethnically diverse stories. Illustrator Sean Izaakse spoke to fans about his latest project, DC’s Green Arrows where he redesigned the costumes of the iconic characters and added his spin onto its look and feel, and satirical cartoonist Zapiro discussed the impact of cartooning and how it connects people around the world.
“Initially, I was quite nervous coming back to Comic Con because of the sheer amount of people that attend each festival, but it has been nothing but amazing to be amongst my peers in the industry. I adore meeting and engaging with fans who share the same love of illustration that I have. The exposure that Comic Con gives an illustrator like me is incredible because the more the public sees my work, the more likely it is for an editor to see it too,” said artist and illustrator Jason Masters, best known for his work on James Bond, Batman and Avengers comics.
On Saturday DJ Fresh featured on the Main Stage to produce a recording of his brand-new podcast, “WAW!!” (What A Week). Chatting to a mixture of local and international celebs, the radio veteran sat down with the likes of Tati Gabrielle, Kat Graham, Jason Moore and Ross Marquand who gave fans his best impersonations of household names like Morgan Freeman. Along with spotlighting Hollywood faves, he welcomed local illustrators, the stage was the hub of talks, workshops, panel discussions, announcements and much more.
In the gaming hall, Telkom VS Gaming brought a competitive air to the gaming floor with their 32-player FIFA tournament, adopting a single elimination format. Each day, players went head-to-head to win daily prizes, including a cash vouchers, and Zaheer Hoosain, Reatile Thakholi and John Walenga were victorious on the days they took part. With a need for speed, Toyota treated guests to a challenge where they took to the racing simulator to beat each other’s fastest time in completing the game. Across the hall, Doritos brought the heat with their daily competitions, inviting Call of Duty (COD), Fortnite, Tekken and FIFA players to take part in the action to win daily cash prizes and every gamer’s dream console, an Xbox.
With several opportunities to win big on Sunday, playing against 120 competitors in the Doritos Crunch Cup, Zaid April took home the first-place title walking away with a R4000 cash prize. ”I feel like I’m on top of the world! It’s always great to play FIFA in person with other gamers who share the same love for e-sports that I do. At the end of the day, competitions like this are cut-throat because we all want to win. Today, I brought my A-game, and it paid off”, says April.
The Cape Town International Animation Festival hosted a number of workshops and screenings. Part of the offering included a Physical Theatre Masterclass, delegates learnt from multi-award-winning actor, writer, comedian and director Rob van Vuuren, who boasts a 25-year-long career founded in training as a physical performer. The Story Battle workshop offered a crash course to 50 participants in the art of visual storytelling with Triggerfish Academy in a 3-hour session where attendees worked in small teams, receiving guidance on turning a script into storyboards ready to pitch.
As a special treat to delegates, in a Comic Con Cape Town Exclusive, the Cape Town International Animation Festival offered a sneak preview of locally produced Aau’s Song, a film featured in Star Wars Visions Volume 2, an anthology of films, which will premiere on Disney+ on May 4, 2023. The directors Nadia Darries & Daniel Clarke were joined by the film’s producer Dianne Makings for an in-depth Q&A and the viewing of never-before-seen footage.
“Being part of Comic Con has given us a chance to speak to people who consume a lot of animation and show them the behind the scenes of creating the work. We hope the delegates are walking away with a sense of pride about their country and about the industry”, says Dianne Makings, CTIAF Director.
The Pop Culture Content Zone presented a dynamic programme which thrilled fans with various offerings including various screenings of animation films hosted by the Cape Town International Animation Festival, an Introduction to Painting a 3D Printed Miniature by using Beginner techniques and processes to achieve quick results, a discussion on the importance secret identities play in the universes (Marvel and DC), Where to Start navigating content Creation in the South African Geek Space, and so much more.
Also, at Comic Con Cape Town it’s evident that we are living in a golden age of board games, and this is largely driven by the sheer number of people spending the time and effort to turn their great ideas into action. Over and above the interactive Tabletop Gaming offering, in a panel discussion, experts shared their observations of the state of the board game industry, before delving into a number of the challenges, and share tips with creators who might face when looking to make a board game.
Adding to the overall engagement, StreetCon hosted a sneaker customisation competition powered by Palldium. Six contestants battled it out from Thursday to Saturday on a selection of pop culture themes ranging from Wonder Woman, Captain America, Ironman and Titan Empire. Judged by Comic Con Cape Twon Show Director, Carla Massman; artist and illustrator, Loyiso Mkhize; and renowned shoe customizer Emjaywhy, the title of Comic Con Cape Town’s first ever Custom Wars was taken home by Liezel Bason. Walking away with R5000 in cash, Bason achieved an almost perfect score of 45/50, outperforming some industry heavyweights.
With an exciting new offering on the horizon, MSC Cruises left guests in a celebratory mood with a competition boasting an all-expenses paid trip over three nights and four days from Durban to Cape Town on the highly anticipated Comic Con Cruise. Valued at R35 000 per night, festivalgoer, Ryan Varga took home the prize which will see him go on the cruise which sets sail from 15th – 18th March 2024.
As the home of content creators, StreamerCon gave content creators days filled with hacks on how to elevate their content. In and amongst activities like the TikTok Collab Challenge and Meet Your Match, games like Whose Channel is it Anyway and Streamers Got Talent, StreamerCon hosted panel discussions to share industry secrets and support up-and-coming creators on their journey. Creators aimed to equip budding creators with the knowledge to gain followers and increase engagement – one of the hardest aspects of building an online community as a streamer. The discussion Community driven content – how to get it right, explored how all content should be community driven, and more importantly, how to create that content.