PICS: Getting into character at FanCon
First established in 2016, the comic convention celebrates its fourth year by welcoming cosplayers, vendors, panellists, and more at the Cape Town International Convention Centre this weekend.
Featured guests included legendary comic book artists Brian Stelfreeze and John Higgins, industry veterans who have worked on Batman, Black Panther, and Watchmen; Japanese illustrator Sana Takeda who is behind the Monstress comic series; and Sam Humphries, writer of DC Comics’ Harley Quinn.
Among these guests was South Africa’s top cartoonist Zapiro, the only editorial cartoonist in the room.
“It’s fantastic being at FanCon. There’s so much going on with illustrations and everything related to comics,” he said.
“This world intersects with my world - my world being politics, journalism, and editorial cartooning.”
The exhibition floor also saw a plethora of local artists, such as first-time exhibitors Mpumelelo Bhengu and Brendon Barnard - co-creators of Nomad comic book. After working together at an ad agency for several years and sharing a love of comics, they wanted to make a proper local sci-fi comic with a local South African twist.
“We’re getting older and we had to do something that mattered,” Barnard said.
“This has been a passion project for us for the last three years and now we’re finally able to do it.
“It’s such an awesome energy that keeps growing year on year. Someone coming in here with a story in mind and wanting to do something can be inspired. There are so many stories to tell in this country,” added Bhengu.
A few booths over was artist and first-time exhibitor Ida van S, which featured eye-catching portraits of The Joker and Tyrion Lannister, as well as a stark Rick and Morty painting that has many visitors stop in their tracks.
“It took me five years to work up the courage to be here. I love it, there are no regrets,” she said.
“I just love the fandom community. Everyone’s so loving and works so hard together. It’s the best place in the world to be right now.”
The convention is packed with workshops, panels, board games, live performances, and even a cosplay masquerade - a fashion show for all cosplayers in attendance.
Last year’s convention saw approximately 6000 attendees, according to event co-organiser Nizar Abrahams. He noted that this year’s FanCon was already looking bigger.
From toddlers decked out in Gryffindor’s maroon and gold, to adults brandishing their light sabres, and even elderly women donning Maleficent’s iconic horns, Cape Town’s FanCon appeals to everyone from all fandoms near and far.