Ross Troy, dressed up like a zombie, was a major attraction at the second instalment of Cape Town’s FanCon Comic Con at the CTICC on Saturday. Picture: Bhekizizwe Radebe
Cape Town - Geeks, nerds and comic-book enthusiasts were disappointed at the opening of FanCon Comic Con on Saturday after the three-day festival’s big draws were no-shows.

The visas of Nigerian animators Somto Ajuluchukwu and Mike Kayode of comic and animation company Vortex Inc were not ready on time, organisers said.

The pair were scheduled to present on the topic “Promoting African culture through comics and animation” at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. FanCon focuses on the comic-book industry and related pop culture and interests.

Ajuluchukwu is at the forefront of Vortex Inc, a Nigerian company which aims to export African culture through visual and sonic artistry. It is known for the brand Vortex comics.

But South African comic-book hero Kwezi saved the day. Loyiso Mkize, renowned Cape Town visual artist and creator of the country’s first black superhero series, Kwezi, is set to present on Sunday on “Where are the African superheros?”

“Kwezi came as a need to have a South African superhero. I always wanted or expected someone to do it, because we were already importing so much stuff as far as comic books went from the West,” Mkize said.

Spider-Man and Deadpool also made a special appearance at FanCon. Picture: Bhekizizwe Radebe

Kwezi launched in 2014, and has fast gained local fame. It tackles topical social issues in South Africa in an exciting and entertaining way.

On the future of the South African comic hero, Mkize said: “We have very talented people in South Africa who can churn out quality comic books; these are people who deserve to occupy big platforms and they can produce the same quality as Western comics.

“We need to develop and activate the market in South Africa and make sure that it is not niche, underground and sub-culture.”

He added that the only way African comics can survive is if big retailers stock and make local comics accessible.

Meanwhile, FanCon organisers said its second instalment has had a more diverse crowd thus far, highlighting that “geek culture” is on the rise in Cape Town.

“It’s really about getting the mix of the crowd. We have played a really fast catch-up, and it’s purely because of social media on your side,” said co-organiser Nizar Abrahams.

“We might have been lagging behind 10 years ago, but the way Comic Con has exploded overseas we are not really behind anymore.

“A show like this proves crowds and ‘fandoms’ are there and being supported right down in places in Cape Town.”

Cosplayers of all ages sported costumes of their favourite comic book and pop culture icons.

Mai le Roux, who painted herself green, dressed as Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy, and her partner Devon Green as Star-Lord.

Jamie Cahi came as Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, with Ross Troy turning heads as a zombie with his “intestines” spilling out.

FanCon runs until Monday, with attendees able to attend panel talks, presentations, interviews and workshops, as well as the general programme of activities.

Weekend Argus