Excited fans lined up from 05:30 am on Thursday 22 September in anticipation of the first day of Comic Con Africa. Expecting a full day of fun and excitement across the Pop-Culture Hall, the Gaming Hall, and KidsCon, fans were adorned in their cosplay itching to immerse themselves in all the various activations, find the latest collectible items, and interact with their favourite content creators.
Starting the day off with A-list celebrities, Teen Wolf’s stars, Dylan Sprayberry and Khylin Rhambo, lit the Main Stage alight with their spotlight session where fans received the once-in-lifetime opportunity to engage with them personally. Hosted by our resident Main Stage host, DJ Elliott, fans also received the opportunity to take a surprise group photo with the stars. If that’s not enough star-studded excitement for Day 1 alone, festival-goers had a one-on-one meet and greet session with Sprayberry and Rhambo at the Black Eagle Conference Room, connecting our stars with our fans on a personal level!
Over at the Gaming Hall, gaming enthusiasts were thrilled to join in on the fun all day long at the Doritos Crunch Cup Stage where fans got to go up against local E-sports heavyweights, in the highly anticipated Fortnite 1-v-1 tournament, and win a cash prize of R4000, which will be up for grabs on all days of the long-awaited Con.
Our official connectivity partner, Telkom VS Gaming, brought out the competitive side of players and their supporters with their jam-packed tournament schedule featuring popular games Rocket League, FIFA and Counter-Strike.
Røde Microphones, the official partner for StreamerCon this year, provided enthusiasts with the opportunity to experience the highest performance streaming equipment in the game and top-tier YouTube audio solutions too, creating a home-away-from-home for all content creators.
Streaming enthusiasts went live with exhibiting brands located at the StreamerCon section of the festival to showcase the growing popularity of streaming in Mzansi. At the StreamerCon stage, fans immersed themselves in streaming-related workshops to expand their knowledge on content creation – namely, how to produce quality video content assets, the opportunities and technicalities of streaming as a musician, and the impact of social media on the space.
Little fans were definitely not left out of all the Comic Con Africa excitement. Kids cosplay competitions allowed them to explore their creativity freely, they enjoyed an exhilarating appearance by iconic Mario Kart characters Mario and Luigi, and friendly competition led to tons of prizes and smiles. Kids took part in an interactive karaoke sessions and the Just Dance competition kept little movers and shakers active towards the end of the day.
Back in the Pop-Culture Hall (Hall 6), esteemed US-based illustrators Daniel Govar and Tony Moy attracted comic book lovers to the Main Stage to watch a live comic illustration. Watching in awe of Govar and Tony’s artistry, comic book lovers got to learn the process of what goes into an illustration, from the shading, the colour palette, and even the creative freedom an artist possesses. Bringing the element of mystery to our Main Hall, Crypto Investment Partner Luno, brought fans the Marvel multiverse with a Doctor Strange inspired mirror dimension with the opportunity to win big. After much exploring and immersing themselves in the culture of Comic Con, festival-goers flocked to the Luno lounge to have a much-needed breather amidst the hustle and bustle of the opening day. “Even if you don’t have knowledge of how to invest with BitCoin, Luno is the investing platform for everyone and we’re beyond excited to have partnered with Comic Con Africa as the festival welcomes everyone to join the Comic Con community”, says Luno’s Marketing Manager Rameez Dockrat.
Bringing the ambiance to the Pop-Culture Hall, DJ Elliott returned to the Main Stage to bring fans the first daily cosplay competition of the four day Con. Judged by local cosplay enthusiasts Princess Maggie, Eleven Swan, and Just Plain Chris, cosplay lovers walked the stage to showcase their cosplay skills and share their love for the art form.
“It’s great to see the community back together and express themselves in whichever way they want. It might only be day 1 but being able to talk to like-minded people has been so refreshing, especially after COVID kept us in our homes. I think what’s special about the cosplay element is that people get to be whoever they want, and be celebrated for it at Comic Con Africa“, said Ethan Watts in the audience, dressed as a Hufflepuff Wizard from the hit movie franchise Harry Potter.
Cosplayers were amped to be in the presence of Internationally acclaimed cosplayer, Leon Chiro, who joined the Main Stage to engage with his South African supporters and answer their burning questions on how he rose to fame in the cosplay space.
Media partner, Joburg’s premiere radio station 947, hosted an exhilarating activation in the heart of pop culture at the festival where event-goers had the chance to draw the superhero that they believe 947 embodies, offering fans a chance to showcase their artistic skills. Amongst the exciting offerings of the pop culture hall, the newest addition to the festival StreetCon saw immense success on the first day of the Ultimate Pop Culture and Gaming festival. With three live draws at this section of the Hall, fans got to watch first-hand how street art is produced by Mzansi’s best graffiti artists: Bushy Wopp, Damnvandal, and Samurai Farai.
At the Artist Alley Spotlight Stage powered by Cricut, local artists Leigh Le Roux, Ryan Van Eyk, Michael Way, Shaylin Singh, and Naledi Ramphele teamed together to give comic fanatics a powerful panel discussion on the craft of illustration. This discussion explored different types of illustration styles, techniques, their personal experience in the local scene, and how aspiring illustrators can monetize their craft – another way Comic Con Africa is supporting the local animation industry. Without forgetting the engaging element that Comic Con Africa boasts, the audience joined in on the discussion to find out how their favorite local illustrators successfully established themselves in the space, and how they can follow in their footsteps.
At his exhibitor stand, internationally acclaimed Thunderbolts illustrator Sean Izaakse, said the following: “It is so awesome to be back at the Con after a few years! I’ve honestly missed Comic Con Africa so much, and it’s so great to see my peers and fans alike. Comic Con Africa and the fans that I get to interact with at the festival are the injection of inspiration that keeps me going. I think everyone should join us at Artist Alley and see what the comic space is all about”. Izaakse along with this year’s line-up of esteemed illustrators will be exhibiting at the Con this year, giving fans another opportunity to interact one-on-one with their favorite artists as well as purchase their art.
Netflix promised fans an immersive experience into the world of teen hit-show Stranger Things and the streaming service certainly did not disappoint. Within this Upside Down World that kicked off on the opening day, fans immersed themselves in the show with the activation featuring a progressive showcase of seasons 1 – 4.
Keeping festival-goers fueled throughout the day was official partner KFC with their much-loved Kentucky Town. Boasting a menu that appeals to the geek community, Kentucky Town saw the likes of the ‘Hero Combo’, ‘The Doom Burger’, and ‘May The Sauce Be With You’ amongst other exciting food offerings. “Con fans have not disappointed on day one of the festival. We’ve seen such incredible excitement for our limited-edition KFC Comic Con menu and Kentucky Town activities,” said KFC’s Marketing Director Grant Macpherson, “At our various KFC zones we’ve been blown away by the wonderful passion, creativity, and energy of fans and cannot wait to enjoy the ‘finger lickin’ good’ fun across the rest of the weekend.”