Sunday, September 3, 2017

It's the most Oz Comic-Con Time of the Year! (Giveaway)

It's that time of the year again.

No not spring. (Although it's true that spring has sprung. I even had to stop and drive around a pair of pigeons making out on the middle of the road on the way home from the school run the other morning. #countrylife)

Not flu season. Though my kids have been struck down by #teenflu and Mum's nursing home was in lockdown for ages because of influenza and gastro, which has been raging through our region and most of Australia by all reports.

And not ALMOST school holidays. Though the countdown has begun. And assessments involving severed heads, and anatomically-correct-as-possible hearts are taking up as much of the kitchen table as possible. (Don't ask. Although I am seriously proud of the project in progress.) Even Miss 14 dragged herself from her sickbed to attend school so she could dissect a toad recently. She was not impressed, however, when another high school stole OUR school's order for lungs and hearts out from under them. She had been looking forward to blowing up the lungs (via a tube) as I had done when I was a teen. (I turned veggie after that. Well for as long as you can in the country.) "We were only left with bladders to cut up and they smelled like wee," Miss 14 complained. Who knew there was a black market in animal organs to dissect for school science projects?

Anyway, I digress. It's the time of year, that we start to think about nothing else but 'unleashing our inner geek' * and getting ready to immerse ourselves in all the anime, cosplay, sci-fi, and cartoon fun in the world.

And before you think that Oz Comic-Con is only for people who are into these things, it's actually not. I've lost count of the number of parents, partners and friends, who have been dragged along by their kids (or indeed, vice versa), only to fall in love with the whole concept and not want to leave. (And yes, it is for those who love everything Comic-Con. I'm just always amazed that someone like me could become so addicted that I'm even considering cosplaying this year. In the past, the closest I came was wearing my tee-turtle T-Shirt!)

Here, you can meet your favourite performers from TV and movies from days gone by from those which are in vogue now - to even those which are crowd-funding and in production, so you can get in on games and collectables from the very beginning. Plus, there are art, clothes, jewellery, forums, shows - the lot.

 Even Mums get to fangirl ..

Oooh, you can even buy the necklace!

One must keep up one's sugar intake ...

So tempted. I always wanted a unicorn ...

These shoes!

There are loads of cool competitions. Forget the glamour, vaseline-lens shoots of the past. This is the type of photo shoot I would love to take part in!

One of our favourite spots is Anime Station. It's great to sit and lounge in - and a good place to meet up. But they also play anime classics throughout the event. Of course, my kids have seen them all, but it doesn't mean they don't mind watching special versions with friends while they cool their heels - and minds. 

 And just outside there is a library of books to flick through while you are chilling or waiting for friends.

Says it all

Another place to sit down for a while and add your own masterpiece to a canvas ...

Unlike many big events, there's a really great vibe. You don't get a hard sell to spend money, most participants are polite and patient, and there are a lot of free activities once you get inside the event. Though feel free to spend up extra for those up close and personal meet and greets with your favourite actors, writers and cartoonists. Even more importantly, exhibitors, artists, and cosplayers are usually more than happy to chat and pose for photos.

Here (above) the kids line up to have illustrations signed by one of their favourite artists and illustrators, Austin Mengler. The Perth-based concept artist was so generous with his time, answering ALL the questions about how he got started, what inspired him, did his work give him nightmares,  and more. Because we're budget challenged and we could only afford one piece of art each, Austin even helped the kids pick the illustration which would suit them best. And most of the exhibitors are the same. There was another guy who made really cool jewellery and watches out of recycled materials, which I couldn't afford that weekend. But he talked to Harmonie and I about it for ages, and directed me to his website so I could buy later if I wanted to. Then there were the people selling the clothes, the shoes, the toys, the T-shirts ... I could go on. 

All the Better to Eat You With (Austin Mengler)

Chase came home with this one (above), which takes pride of place on his wall. And the memory of such a talented artist taking time to chat - whether or not we bought some of his art or not, and even though we ended up buying just one - is an example of the spirit of Oz Comic-Con. Austin Mengler didn't have to do that, but he did.

Cosplayers, posing for photos. There is etiquette involved, where you should ask before you take a photo. But we've never been refused. A few of the shops have the same rule, but I've found if I ask first and explain why I'm taking the photo, it's all good. 

The rules are laid out clearly at all the entrances and throughout the event. Harmonie and I always joke that 'no annoying loud things' means that her brother must not be allowed! 

And as I said most cosplayers are usually really happy to oblige and pose for photos...

Even when touching up their make-up in the rest-rooms!

I wanted to get a photo taken with this guy, but no teenager would be my photographer. Apparently that would be 'too embarrassing!'

So I got my own back by photographing Harmonie buying a 'healthy snack' ...

And Chase, who met up with some Brisbane mates!

There are always loads of giveaways. From drink and snack samples, to stickers, newspapers, posters and (this is the best) badges of anime, games, and manga. This one was with uber, but we never got a chance to use it. Sob. One teen said it was 'too embarrassing' to collect the free badges of a game in production, but I notice he quickly grabbed mine as soon as we got home!  

More free entertainment. A chance to watch artists at work!

A close-up of their talent ...I don't know about the kids, but I could have watched for ages.

Throughout the day there are free shows on, throughout the event  It's important to plan ahead so you get to fit in as much as possible.

You can just be wandering around, and come across something awesome like this: A Cosplay dance-off! 

In case the video doesn't work (we know what the internet can be like in some places - cough!) here is an example of what it looked like! 

Now, with all the excitement, the exhibits, shows, artists, and STUFF to buy (and I haven't even touched on the artists, actors, and writers who are appearing this year ... details to follow), Oz Comic-Con can get overwhelming. Last year, there was a Reach Out Room, where people could go to chill out on bean bags, read, mess about on provided iPads, talk to trained counsellors or do whatever. This year, I'm told in Brisbane and Sydney there's a Family Room, which will do much the same. But Anime Station, as I mentioned, has always been great for us. There are Bean Bags/slouch bags there, books, colouring, and movies. There are also places throughout Oz Comic-Con for younger and older kids (and adults) to chill, colour, play the latest games, or just take a break. In Brisbane, the only Oz Comic-Con I've been to, people regularly pop in and out, head to South Bank Parklands, which is basically where the convention is held, hang out on the stairs or in the foyer, or come and go.  

Even the parking station is an adventure at Oz Comic-Con ...

So cool!

I've been a convert of Oz Comic-Con since day one. It's an event which I can attend with my kids - and their friends (and parents) - and we always ALL find so much to love we don't want to leave.

The best thing is that Oz Comic-Con has given me a family pass for four people (two adults, two kids) to attend one of their events at Brisbane or Sydney.

The tickets are valid for the entire weekend. For dates and programs, and details of special guests, go to the official website

To enter, just leave a comment here, saying why you'd like to experience Oz Comic-Con and who you would take along. Don't forget to mention if it's Sydney or Brisbane you're entering for. Brisbane's event runs on September 23-24, while Sydney's is from September 30-October 1.

The giveaway ends at 1 pm AEST on September 15, 2017. NOTE: Because Maid In Australia was down (the blog not myself) for a few periods during the competition, we have extended the competition deadline to give people more time to enter.

And also? This just in. I quote:

'MARVEL is bringing its hottest new experiences to Oz Comic-Con Brisbane (23-24th Sept) and Sydney (30th Sept-1st Oct), and you can be one of the first to see them!  There will even be a number of interactive experiences showcasing the latest MARVEL film on the show floor.

To celebrate the release of the upcoming MARVEL Studios film Thor Ragnarok, MARVEL is giving you the chance to find out. Stop by the MARVEL stand in Brisbane and Sydney and put yourself in the ring as you face off with Thor and The Hulk… and get the photo to prove it.

Thor Ragnarok releases in cinemas October 26th 2017

And here's one for the Star Wars fans:

Fly an X-Wing
To celebrate the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi,  for the first time ever in Australia, challenge your inner Poe Dameron and take to the cockpit of a Resistance X-Wing Fighter with your trusty pal BB-8. Stop by the Star Wars stand to save the galaxy, only at Oz Comic-Con Brisbane and Sydney.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in cinemas December 14th 2017.

So enter now. And good luck!

* I actually don't think the people who attend Oz Comic-Con are geeks. Most of them are pretty cool, really arty and very talented. 

DISCLOSURE: MIA will receive a pass to attend Oz Comic-Con with her family in return for running this giveaway. No payment will be received and all opinions are honest and my own.

The competition has closed and the winner is Anna Gilmore! Congratulations Anna. Please contact me to arrange entry to Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane this weekend!