A Venture into Oz Comic-Con Perth – The Ultimate Event for Pop Culture Fans

When it comes to pop-culture conventions in Australia, we have two main ones: Supanova and Oz Comic-Con. Supanova is cool if you’re into anime and sci-fi, but Oz Comic-Con was a bit more well-rounded if you liked anything else… such as horror.

Back in 2015, they brought over Robert Englund and getting to meet Freddy Krueger himself has been the highlight of my life. Oz Comic-Con hasn’t visited Perth since 2017 so when they announced last year they were finally returning, plenty of us were happy to hear the news.

For anyone that’s never ventured to a con, it’s the geek version of a music festival. You can find movies, comic book artists, art, games, authors, toys, collectibles, cosplay competitions and whatever celebrities/identities they’ve flown over for the event.

The first thing I noticed today was the total lack of cosplayers. Normally these events are brimming with people dressed up in elaborate costumes they’ve made themselves and there just weren’t that many – so I got a tad excited when I saw someone dressed up as Pinhead. I think I saw three horror cosplays all day but only managed to get the one photo.

Artist Alley is normally where I lose all of my money but even that felt lacklustre. Nothing at all against the artists because they all produced incredible work, it’s just that they all had very similar styles, so unless anime/kawaii is your thing you’re not going to be interested. Every stand started to blur together to the point where I was convinced we had already walked down an aisle when we hadn’t.

One artist worth mentioning was Rose Demon. She had some magnificent pop culture pieces but the one that grabbed my eye was a Beetlejuice print that needed to come home with me. To be honest, the best part of today was probably just chatting with some of the stallholders. I spoke with two authors – who have stories in the ‘Killer Creatures Down Under’ book – about horror, KISS and how I love to tell Americans about Drop Bears because they’ll believe anything you tell them. We also stopped by Alex Crowley’s table who has created artwork and designs for the American McGee’s Alice games just so I could let him know that game single-handedly proved I have anger management issues.

On that note, mental health is an important matter for the Wall of Sound team so we followed this up with a panel hosted by two specialists on gaming and mental health. Despite popular belief, gaming isn’t hazardous to your health unless done in excess. Dr Megan Pusey and Michael Keady (aka The Nerd Therapist) discussed how gaming can be good for grounding you; you stop stressing about everything around you and focus only on the game itself. I could connect with that personally because I go through periods where I am hyper-fixated on whatever phone game I have at the time. Right now it’s Marvel Strike Force. Games can also teach you how to deal with failure and learn problem-solving that can be used in real life – this made us laugh after I just told a guy I had hissy fits over a game and didn’t play it again for six months.

I never even got far in the SAW game. One character pissed me off so much because he would yell “Help!” but if you went near him he’d start yelling “go away!” I never got out of that level.

But back to the talk, games like Dungeons and Dragons can help you with social anxiety but can also be tailored around your personal needs to avoid triggers and research has been done to show how games can be used to help identify dementia, which is pretty cool.

This year the con spiced things up with the announcement of a Dr Pickles Tattoo stand. You could either treat yourself to something on their flash sheets or sit at the tattoo version of a Glory Hole and let a tattooist surprise you with something. When we walked past the stand we realized there wasn’t going to be much of a surprise, the hole was so large the person attached to the arm had a perfect view of what was going on. The concept though was a cool idea. That hole definitely needed to be smaller or have a curtain attached.

Overall I think I hyped today up a bit too much over the past year while waiting because it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. It was a good day and I met some rad people but when you consider the average person is spending $40 to enter the event, there’s not a lot to do that doesn’t involve spending money. Even just buying a drink or food was going to break your wallet, so unless you wanted to sit at a computer screen playing a game or watch all of the Q&A sessions, you probably weren’t going to get much for your money.

A lot of the shops were selling the same kind of products so I’m hoping this is just a small hurdle since it’s the first time Oz Comic-Con has come back to Perth in years, and next year is bigger and better. Some more variety is definitely needed!

Words and Photos by Katie Torrance @idpreferyoudead

For all details on all 2023 Oz Comic-Cons head here

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Oz Comic-Con – 2023 

June 3-4 @ Showgrounds, Adelaide

June 10-11 @ Convention & Exhibition Centre, Melb

August 5-6 @ Exhibition Park, Canberra

September 16-17 @ Convention & Exhibition Centre, Bris

September 23-24 @ Sydney Showground, Syd

Tickets Here

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Horror snob