On Tuesday afternoon, a huge announcement was teased by Telkomâ€™s VS Games, an independent South African gaming brand. This is causing massive anticipation in the gaming and comic book fans community. Along with ReedPOP, an event management company, VS Games would be bringing the first ever Comic Con to the African continent, and to South Africa specifically. Reed Exhibitions, the company behind New York Comic Con are launching the convention through its ReedPop division.
Comic Con is an annual comic book convention that started in San Diego in 1970. What started as a gathering for comic book fans has evolved to include all types of popular art forms, including science fiction books, movies, and fantasy literature. Thousands of people gather for the Comic Con weekends to cosplay as their favourite superheroes, meet the stars of the hottest shows of the year, and soak in the comic book culture.
And now South African fans will have the chance to experience that culture as well.
Comic Con Africa will take place from 14 to 16 September at the Kyalami Grand Prix track. The event promises to have guest appearances from big stars, E-Sport tournaments, comic book collectables, cosplay, and so much more.
Renee Staack, general manager at Reed Exhibitions South Africa gave The Daily Vox an interview on how the company brought the convention to South Africa. She said Reed Exhibitions and ReedPOP, which is in charge of Comic Cons worldwide, Reed Exhibitions Global. Staack said because Reed Exhibitions is based here, they will work with the global company to bring Comic Con to SA.
Bringing Comic Con to South Africa is a test to see whether a concept like it will succeed in Africa, Staack said. â€œBasically the decision was to use South Africa as the springboard. Weâ€™ll launch it here and the in future branch out to the rest of the African countries.â€
She said they decided to bring it here because of the interest from consumers for an event that celebrates pop culture, and being a fan of films and series.
â€œAnd South Africa having such a strong film industry and itâ€™s just growing on a yearly basis especially if you look at Black Panther and the popularity around this African cast, thatâ€™s when we decided itâ€™s finally time to seal the deal and bring it to South Africa,â€ said Staack.
Microsoft Xbox, ASUS, HP, Girl Gamers, and many other companies have already signed on as exhibitors. The organisers have also promised there will be something for everyone. The programme will include comics, anime, manga, gaming, fantasy, and science fiction.
Dr John Kani & @connie_chiume from @TheBlackPanther join us for the big announcement of @ComicConAfrica. Catch our Facebook live video: https://t.co/8GA3HJKB3j . ðŸ˜Ž #YourHeroesAreComing #WakandaForever #BlackPanther #BlackPantherSA #ComicConAfrica pic.twitter.com/3YXWKKdHk6
â€” VS Gaming (@VSGamingWorld) February 20, 2018
The launch of the event was attended by Black Panther stars and South African acting legends, John Kani and Connie Chiume. Kani spoke about the significance of convention coming to South Africa.
Kani said: â€œIâ€™m an elder and in the 50s you lived in an environment that was so tough in your inner self you wished you had super powersâ€¦[B]ack then, for many of us, comic books even taught us how to speak English. Right now the world is celebrating with us that Comic Con is coming to South Africa.â€
Staack said they are going to have a focus on comic book artists that are not getting the attention they need. They are also going to have panel discussions about the South African movie industry and how to take it to the next level. Staack said they are also going to showcase South African graffiti artists which other Comic Cons donâ€™t do.
On a logistical level, Staack said it will be taking place at Kyalami because they want to have track events and showcase some of the cars that appear in movies.
â€œTicket sales start in March. There will be a general admission fee and after that any panel discussions and autograph sessions will be additional packages you add on. And all I can say is wear comfortable shoes and come and spend the whole weekend with us because itâ€™s going to be an action-packed weekend,â€ said Staack.