There are some dates on my calendar that are permanently reserved for my favourite events – The Franschhoek Literary Festival, The Open Book Festival and FanCon.
I’m a huge comic book geek. Not only am I a fan and a collector, but I also review comics for Women Write About Comics.
I’ve been involved in FanCon as a moderator since the early days, when the inaugural event was such a hit the queue to get in far exceeded what the venue could handle. The following year it once again exceeded everyone’s expectations at one of the main halls of the CTICC.
This year I was asked to moderate again, but I was also, to my surprise, invited as a guest to promote my comic-book themed new novel, Mine.
FanCon is such a great convention. Its name says it all. It’s a celebration designed by and for fans, run by the great team at Reader’s Den who realized their Free Comic Book Day event was becoming a mini-con in itself. Now FanCon has become even more popular than its predecessor.
The two-day event is always huge fun. The shopping is super rewarding as you always find rare items not available anywhere else – be it a Neko Atsume wallet, Sailor Moon handbag, One Punch Man figurine, deer horns, vintage Hufflepuff scarf or Gravity Falls necklace.
Cosplaying outside of the official competition is hugely encouraged and most people arrive in costume over both days. And it really doesn’t matter if your costume is nothing more than a wig and a lab coat (like my Princess Bubblegum outfit two years ago). Anything goes.
Plus, it’s all about the comics really. This year the festival opened with pro-guests and team members invited to an Avengers Infinity War pre-screening. Going to see a Marvel movie with fellow geeks is like attending a private screening with friends all shouting “Oh!”, “OMG” and “What?” in unison. Without giving any spoilers away Infinity War was incredible. I was so happy to see Steve and Bucky reunited. And that’s all I’m going to say on that.
Back to FanCon. There’s a diverse and interesting programme of panels and live events – including the hugely popular cosplay competition – stalls selling all kinds of pop-culture and geeky merchandise (Funko had a stand this year and the queues to get in were off the charts) and an artist’s alley featuring local artists showcasing their work.
There is also a line-up of pro international guests. Last year it was Ron Marz and the Top Cow team. This year saw Yannick Paquette and artist Laura Braga grace the stage.
I was asked to interview Laura for her event. I’m a huge fan of DC Bombshells and Harley & Ivy meet Betty and Veronica. Laura’s also working on Wonder Woman and Dazzler this year. (I fell in love with Dazzler Thor in the A-Force series, so I’m really, really looking forward to this once-off. Laura hinted that it’s a new take on Dazzler that ultimately ties back to the original character – whatever that means!)
Laura is a true inspiration. She first drew the attention of Top Cow’s Ron Marz on social media and was invited to work on Witchblade. Offers from Marvel and DC soon followed. This is astonishing since she’s based on the island of Sardinia and hardly speaks any English! Her story shows just how important it is for artists to put their work out there. (This goes for writers too.)
I love Laura’s style. Her characters come across as strong, charismatic and sexy without being exploitative. I bought her limited-edition Harley Quinn print drawn exclusively for FanCon and got a stack of comics signed. (You have to take these one-in-a-lifetime opportunities by the horns!)
As a guest, I appeared on a panel with author and comic-book writer Mohale Mashigo. Mohale is funny, captivating and absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait for her upcoming short story anthology from Pan Macmillan. She’s currently writing for the popular Kwezi comic series and gunning for her own spin-off.
I did my panel in cosplay, which was completely normal considering most of the audience were in costume too. This year my character of choice was Lady Rick based on Rick & Morty’s Rick Sanchez. There are infinite Ricks, so theoretically, a Lady Rick must appear somewhere. (Sadly, my Morty couldn’t make it.)
So to sum it all up, FanCon was bigger and better this year and it’s only going to grow. I can’t wait to see what this convention has for us in store next year.
Thanks to everyone who attended my panel and bought a copy of my book. It was such an honour to be there to talk about my work.
Till next year folks.