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OZ Comic Con – Melbourne’s Premium Pop Culture Event

It’s the weekend after OZ Comic Con, and I want to go back.

For me, Oz Comic Con is a time when the Melbourne comes alive and embraces all things nerdy.  It brings together people from all walks of life together to celebrate their love, passion and sometime even just their curiosity for all things Pop Culture.

This year felt different… it seemed bigger and more relevant. The team at Reed Pop had put together some of the biggest stars from some of the most popular hit series like Preacher, Lucifer, Arrow and Supernatural. Add in some of the biggest international and domestic comic book artists and sprinkling in a few bestselling Authors and you have Oz Comic Con Melbourne.

As I walked over to Melbourne Convention centre from Crown Casino, the food court was a sea of nerdy t-shirts and cosplayers. I wasn’t even at the event yet and the energy was electric with excitement and this feeling is why I love Pop Culture events.

After grabbing my passes, and heading into the convention, I was a little shocked with how quiet it was. I was easily able to walk around the vendors and down through artist alley and back. I thought it was a little weird and then, the doors open and the sea of people and excitement hit Oz Comic Con like a tsunami.

Cosplayers

Artist Alley

Over the years of coming to Oz Comic Con the growth of Artist Alley has excited me most. If you have never been to one of these events, Artist Alley showcases the talent of local artists. For me, it is a must go when visiting these events. It has a mixture of Fan and Original Art, Independent comics, pins, books, homewares and all kinds of amazing things I spent way too much money on.

And this year was something special, not just because of the size and depth of Artists. But cleverly Reed Pop situated Artist Alley right by the main entrance, which funnelled all attendees through it. This is amazing to see, as these creatives are the next generation of Comic Artists, Best Selling Authors and vendors that will continue to grow and make these events continue to grow into the future.

Some of my highlights from this year’s Artist Alley were:

  • Catching up with incredible artist, boardgame designer, graphic novelist and old friend Anotonios Christou. Having reviewed both his graphic novel and board game, it was great to catch up with him and checking out his recent award winning canvas.
  • Getting a new pin for my collect, it was an amazing pink llama by Adele K Thomas. I saw the pin and waited to buy it. When Adele came out from behind her display, I was met by a woman with an 80’s perm, green overall and a flamethrow. I’ll post a picture of her book below, but when you see her stunning childlike art and are meet by Ellen Ripley with a flamethrow, it’s hard to believe it is one and the same!
  • The jewellery. There were so many amazing earrings and rings. They were made from all kinds of things, acrylic, aluminium, wood and 3d printed. Featuring retro to more modern games and pop culture. Part of me is disappointed I don’t have my ear pierced.
  • Fan art was amazing, the different styles and takes on some of our most loved. I wish I could of taken but I have to respect the artists.

Artist Alley

Vendors and stalls

Over the years, I feel like in the past that vendors and stalls have been a bit generic. Seeing the same vendors, selling the same things with little to no variety. And though I saw I couple of them, I loved how vibrate the floor seemed.

I felt like the stalls and vendors have been lack luster. Offering convention goers heaps of things to buy and nothing to actually do. Because of this, I normally only get a 1 day pass. I like up get my signatures, then check out Artist Alley for a while and just before I leave swing by the Vendors and see if there is anything I want.

Oz Comic Con this year was anything but lack luster, with interactive VR shooters to tattoo parole to boardgame and a Honda Type R made of Lego. There was so much to do and see and through I still spent way too much money, I had a ball doing it.Honda Type R made of Lego

Some of my highlights from this year’s Vendors were:

  • Pop Vinyls! OMG they were everywhere. I’m not a collector and only own a few, but they just make me so happy. They are too adorable not to just smile at
  • 1967 Chevrolet Impala. I came around the corner and saw this black beauty in all her glory. I love old school American Muscle….. then heard several people get excited it was the Supernatural car. Oops, my love for muscle cars trumped my nerdiness on this one.
  • There were 2 companies selling these dioramas in pokeballs or vases. The work that were put into these things were stunning.
  • R Entertainment had this amazing VR interactive shooter. You moved around this massive play area, move several steps, stop then shoot everyone and move again. The screams, and squeal made stand was electric and really drew the crowd.

Vendors and stalls

Movie Stars

Taking nothing away from the amazing stars that were at Oz Comic Con. I felt this year wasn’t as strong as previous years. Each event normally has a massive headliner, 2018 they had Joe Manganiello and Australia’s own Julian Dennison (Yes, he is actually a Kiwi, but like all Kiwis that do well, we claim them as our own). Yet this year, there didn’t seem to have that massive name or huge headliner.

I could be being a bit harsh, but this for me, was the weaker area of the convention. Yet this could just be me.

The talented actresses & actors in attendance were:

  • Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters)
  • Alberto Rosende (Shadowhunters)
  • Osric Chau (Supernatural)
  • Alexander Calvert (Supernatural)
  • Colton Haynes (Arrow)
  • Willa Holland (Arrow)
  • Tricia Helfer (Lucifer)
  • B. Woodside (Lucifer)
  • Ricky Whittle (American Gods)
  • Clare Kramer (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
  • Rick Cosnett (The Flash)
  • Julie Ann Emery (Preacher)
  • Sam Witwer (Star Wars Franchise)
  • Carmella (WWE)

Comic Artists and Authors

What can I say about the Comic Artists and Authors line up? WOW, Just wow! We were graced by a number of Internationals and home grown, world renowned artist.

There were so many of the worlds renowned artists at one convention. And thanks to Sunday being a touch quieter than Saturday. I actually got to spend some time chatting and getting to know the people behind the characters. Including someone that helped shape my love for comics as a kid.

W. Chew ‘Chewie’ Chan was the artist of the Phantom when I was growing up. The Phantom was my first foray into comic books. I remember my father coming home with a box of comic from a local garage sale, it had several different comics in the box but that purple badass just seemed to grab me. I remember the name so vividly from my childhood, so it was amazing to meet him. He is an amazing artist but that doesn’t compare to the man. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

W. Chew 'Chewie' Chan

There were so many artists, I would love to talk about all of them. But check out this line up of amazing artists:

  • Nicola Scott (Wonder Woman)
  • Wayne Nichols (The Incredible Hulk)
  • Jorge Molina (Spider-Geddon).
  • Dean Rankine (The Simpsons, Rick and Morty)
  • Stewart McKenny (Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures)
  • Al Barrionuevo (Batman: Gotham Knights)
  • Tom Taylor (Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man)
  • Carla Wyzgala (Hidden Door Comics)
  • Christopher Sequeira (The Phantom: Phantom By Gaslight)
  • W Chew Chan (The Phantom)
  • Cristian Roux (Super Australians)
  • Michel Mulipola (Headlocked)

Last and certainly not least. The man, the myth, the maestro, BossLogic. I sat with him for about 2 or so hours. He was such a great guy and he had this to say to goto.game writer & old FPS revival Michael Sloane.

You, me, best of 5, Supernova Sydney. You’re going down!   –   BossLogic

BossLogic

Overall, I had a ball at Oz Comic Melbourne. Though I missing last year, it seemed like I’ve been gone for a lot longer. As the improvement to the vendors, stalls and Artist alley were a massive move in the right directions and excites me for next year.

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Derek 'Dez' Maggs

Board Game & Tech Reviewer / Podcast Host of Rapid Reviews on the Boomer Radio Network / Assistant Producer of Creaytors Series on YouTube / Coffee & Hug Addict

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