Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24, 2019- Last night the doors of Comic Con Africa 2019 closed for the final time, but the buzz and excitement generated by four days of the greatest celebration of pop-culture that South Africa has ever seen shows no signs of abating. The sheer magnitude of this Con was something to behold –Reed Exhibitions and Reedpop promised that Comic Con Africa would be bigger and better, and on that promise they delivered. With an astounding 71,000 visitors, seven halls packed with 300 exhibitors, four international film, TV series, and gaming celebrities, 12 international comic artists and writers, 12 local comic creators, one international cos player, two international DJs, competitions ,specials, and giveaways, an esports prize pool of R1.3 million, 26,000 square meters of event space, 120 hours of content, and one incredible Wingman in the form of KFC, Comic Con Africa 2019 exceeded all expectations.
This year the guests in Artist Alley tripled in numbers and the incredible line-up left fans spoilt for choice. In the feature area artists and illustrators engaged in live drawings and sketch offs, sharing anecdotes and artistic tips as they did so. Ecstatic fans watched their favourite characters drawn in real time on large screens mounted above the easels. Under the grading organisation CGC’s watchful eye, comic books were signed and sent for evaluation and protective casing to preserve investment pieces. Alongside in the Writers Block, local novelists and authors signed their books and spoke on educational panels to encourage local writers to pick up their pens. The Block was filled with handmade creativity including pop-culture inspired clothing, décor, and jewelry.
The Cosplay of Comic Con Africa 2019 was a visual feast. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d bumped into Iron Man or Wonder Woman walking straight off a Marvel film set, such was the level of detail and skill evidenced in these pieces of walking art. Cosplay Central was buzzing all weekend long with skits and well-known local and international Cosplayers signing prints. Fascinating panels for newbies and pros alike gave insight into crafting the perfect wig, applying make-up, or how to cosplay with confidence. The Cosplay Karaoke Café was a real hit with Cosplayers belting out magnificent renditions of well-known songs. Casual Cosplay competitions took place every day on the main stage, and on Tuesday the highly anticipated Championships of Cosplay winners were announced. The overall Cosplay winner Jinxkitty, who wowed with her Priestess Bathory cosplay, will be representing Africa at the Championships of Cosplay Quest for the Crown at C2E2in America. Leon de Bruin of GES, Comic Con Africa’s Cosplay partner, was blown away by the level of this year’s Cosplay and called on any interested Cosplayers to sign up for 2020’s competition.
Hall 5 housed Pop-Culturere tailers and exhibitors, many of whom had special deals that were snapped up by happy visitors. Comics, figurines, collectibles, clothing and other merchandise absolutely flew off the shelves and into the hands of thrilled collectors. Radio partner to the Con, 5fm provided the musical vibes with live broadcasts from their DJs who were happy to chat with fans. TikTok’s WoahTikTok competition on the main stage was a fun addition from the Con’s digital media partner. Television Media partner Viacom celebrated 25 years of the series Friends and brought THE show’s couch where fans queued up to have their picture taken. There was one particularly special exhibitor in this hall. The presenting sponsor of Comic Con Africa 2019, The Ultimate Wingman, the makers of finger lickin’ goodness KFC, made their home here with a gigantic KFC bucket housing a greenscreen set up where visitors could photograph themselves in a setting of their imagination. Also on their stand was a caricaturist and a special edition of local arcade game Boetfighter, along with cosplayers in the costumes of the especially commissioned Comic Con Africa KFC Captain Colonel.
Hall 5 was also the location of the KFC main stage where panels, Q&As, competitions, and interviews were held with international film and TV series celebrities like StarTrek’s William Shatner, The Originals’ Daniel Gillies, and video game voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker. Audiences were awed in the presence of these pop-culture giants. The stars themselves were charmed by our South African audiences– in the words of Daniel Gillies, we are “the most polite people I ever met…the fans are so warm, and kind, and polite.” Just off the main stage, Hall 6was the scene of photo ops and autographs with the celebrities, and fans came out ecstatically gripping these souvenirs and treasuring their experiences.
Comic Con Africa’s 2019 gaming offering was nothing short of a paradise for both casual and avid gamers. The absolutely enormous esports set up of the Con’s gaming and connectivity partner Telkom VS Gaming filled an entire wall, giving Con goers a panoramic-like view of the action. Featuring nail-biting finals of the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota2, local esports teams kept their cool playing for their share of a R1,3 million prize pool – the largest prize poolat any esports event in South Africa. The spectators were captivated, their eyes glued to the live action. Freeplay areas had gamers trying their skills on the latest titles such as Mortal Kombat, PUBG, and Fortnite, while Xbox exhibited exclusively at the Con. Playstation gave away a highly sought-after limited edition 20th Anniversary PS4, and ATK had state of the art equipment on display for players to test run. Red Bull’s Hit the Streets, a nationwide contest of the best Street Fighter V players from across the country, hosted their finals on last day of the Con. In line with Comic Con Africa’s aim to uplift and develop local talent, Project Springbok provided a platform for up-and-coming developers to showcase their work.
Comic Con Africa’s newest addition, the first kid-focused convention in South Africa, was KidsCon. But don’t be fooled – KidsCon delighted adults too. The African continent’s largest LEGO® activation saw visitors swallowed up in pools of LEGO® bricks surrounded by LEGO® characters come to life. Kids could meet the My Little Ponies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Nintendo brought Mario and Luigi along with the opportunity to play Splatoon, Mario Kart, and Supersmash Bros Ultimate. BICand Exclusive Books were there to encourage creativity among other edutainment offerings from Hasbro and ToyZone. Sponsored by Jaguar Landrover, KidsCon was masterminded by our Little Board of Experts, 11 kids who shared their ideas and made KidsCon an event for kids, by kids. Those little experts were very much apart of the Con and strutted their stuff on the KidsCon main stage in the Cotton On fashion shows.
The Ballroom of Gallagher Convention Centre was the scene of a tabletop gaming extravaganza. With bottomless coffee supplied by KFC, tabletop gamers met and engaged in epic battles with cards, dice, and miniature figurines. As the organising partner of this impressive battlefield, Solarpop encouraged players to engage in the connection and creativity of Tabletop Gaming with their Unplug Yourself arena. Next door in the auditorium were exclusive screenings of Abominable, along with The Angry Birds, films by Black Sands, and many more exciting showings. LARPing took place in the trees of Gallagher Estate, with players battling each other with safe play swords, giant shields, maces, and jousting lances.
The Business of Gaming Forum, now in its second year, was held on Monday. Fascinating keynote addresses, panel discussions, and shared ideas from the gaming industry were the order of the event. Speakers from South Africa, the African continent, and international thought leaders flew in for the day, sharing fascinating content on maximising the value of gaming as a marketing tool or a commercial product, and the direction of the modern gaming ecosystem.
There truly was something for every fandom at Comic Con Africa 2019. As positive feedback comes flying in from visitors and exhibitors alike, Reed Exhibitions and Reedpop are thrilled to have hosted a second successful Comic Con Africa that remained true to our driving force: always put our fans FIRST! And what comes next? Comic Con Cape Town of course. Put 1 – 3 May 2020 in your diaries to experience the inaugural Comic Con Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium.
Find images and press materials here:
Championships of Cosplay
Youth: Jordan as Ayumi
Skills: Mittel Elf Cat Cosplay as Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s
Representation: Chaotic Good Cosplay as Moze from Bonderlands 3
Construction: Bites Cosplay as Rathalos Armour from Monster Hunter
Armour: Gammablast Cosply as Arthus from Warcraft 3
Needlework: BlueCat Cosply as Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet
Master Champion: Fredwolf Cosplay as Spawn from Spawn Universe
Champion of Cosplay: Jinxkitty Cosplay as Priestess Bathory
Telkom VS Gaming Tournaments
o First place: Energy Esports
o Second place: Big 5
o First place: Goliath Gaming
o Second place: Sinister 5
Red Bull’s Hit The Streets Street Fighter V
Jesse "GXJes” Shabangu will proceed to the Grand Finale in CapeTown
Film and Series
o William Shatner
o Daniel Gillies
Gaming voice over actors
o Nolan North
o Troy Baker
International Comic Artists
o Will Sliney
o Donny Cates
o James C Mulligan
o Aleksi Briclot
o Jesus Merino
o Paco Diaz
o Tomeu Morey
o David Angelo Roman
o Patric Reynolds
o Black Sands Entertainment
o David Mack
o Zu Orzu
o Ilya Kushinov
Local Artists and Authors
o Lauren Beukes
o Ray Whitcher
o Simangaliso Sibaya
o Terence Maluleke
o Warren Louw
o Jason Masters
o Sean Izaakse
o Mohale Mashigo
o Loyiso Mkize
o Clyde Beech
o Bill Masuku
o Moray Rhoda
o Leanna Vamp
Reed Exhibitions Africa and ReedPOP, the world's largest producer of pop culture events, are the proud hosts of the annual Comic Con Africa. The inaugural 2018 event welcomed over 42 000 ABC audited visitors. Comic Con Africa focuses on all elements of pop culture, including cosplay, comic books, anime, manga, other creatives, film and series, games (including video and esports) and books and authors. The festival also features a large range of pop culture and entertainment elements in animation, toys, gadgets, clothing, collectible card games, video games, web comics, and fantasy novels and the ever-popular Artists' Alley. In 2019 KidsCon is joining Comic Con Africa, the most fun a kid can have in one hall and a perfect family day out with loads of activities to enjoy. A single Comic Con Africa ticket gets you access to both Cons at Gallagher Convention Centre on 21 – 24 September 2019.Comic Con Africa 2019 is the must-attend pop culture festival of the year.(www.comicconafrica.co.za)
About Reed Exhibitions Africa
Reed Exhibitions is Southern Africa’s top exhibition organiser and venue management company.With access to global trade and consumer event organising expertise serving 44 industry sectors, Reed Exhibitions Africa provide the best platform to showcase all industry sectors. (www.reedexpoafrica.co.za)
ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions –the world’s leading events organizer. Launched in 2006, the group has become the number one producer of pop culture events across the globe as well as a full service digital content provider and media company. Delivering once-in-a-lifetime fan experiences curated specifically for localized audiences, ReedPOP currently features events in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, India, Africa and Australia, including: New York Comic Con(NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), PAX West, East, South and Australia, Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC), MCM Comic Con, BookCon, Oz Comic Con, Eurogamer Expo (EGX), Comic Con India, Comic Con Paris, Comic Con Seoul, Comic Con Africa, Star Wars Celebration, and ComplexCon. In addition to organizing and managing events, ReedPOP also runs and operates the Gamer Network and its portfolio of leading gaming websites including Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun and GamesIndustry.Biz. The staff at ReedPOP are a fan-based, globally focused group of professionals that are uniquely qualified to build and serve the communities with whom they share a common passion. (www.reedpop.com)