The past few years has seen a big growth in the Australian cosplay community, with an increase of competitions, charity events and meet ups surrounding the wonderful art of costume play. During this time, we have seen Oz Comic Con greatly support the community, helping to promote positivity and showcase the art behind it all, as well as helping to organise events within the conventions to bring together like-minded individuals. Now, while cosplay is a fun and amazing art, it also has a competitive side, with many competitions being held throughout the year. Oz Comic Con Sydney has seen the winner of the Australian Championship of Cosplay crowned each year since the competition first began, with the entries becoming bigger and more elaborate each year.
Year after year, Oz Comic Con have added more and more activities and areas targeted towards cosplayers, as well as those who have a keen interest in marvelling in the talent of those who make these remarkable costumes, even if they are not cosplayers themselves. Cosplay Central has become a great hotspot for cosplayers, with a select few being given the opportunity to display their favourite props and costumes for everyone to see. This allows for people, like myself, to get an up close look at some of the amazing craftsmanship that goes into these costumes. From sewing to armour, the display area offers a wide range of costume displays made with an abundance of techniques and materials.
Alongside these displays, con goers also have the opportunity to meet both local and international cosplay stars. This year saw the likes of A.K. Wirru and Yaya Han attend Oz Comic Con, with tables set up so that fans could meet, chat and get selfies with these cosplay stars. This provides cosplayers, both new and veteran ones, the chance to pick the brains of cosplayers who have made a name for themselves with their vast amount of talent. Oz Comic Con also has stages set up for these guests so that they can show hands on some of their techniques when it comes to working with materials such as worbla and foam, or advice on quick crafting, painting and sewing. This allows for a further talent showcase, and provides education and a look into just what cosplayers teach themselves in order to make their costumes stand out.
Photographers have equal opportunity to show off their talents, with the chance to work at the photo wall within Cosplay Central. While allowing them to work with a large amount of cosplayers, it also gives them the opportunity to showcase their work and meet new people. Each year Oz Comic Con gives multiple photographers a couple of hours each to work on this wall, helping to promote both well known and up and coming photographers, and give cosplayers of all ages and skill level the chance to have professional shots taken. I for one have loved the idea since it began, with some of my favourite photos of my own cosplays coming from the photo wall!
The consistent support and positive influence made by Oz Con has been felt throughout the community as it continues to grow. This year saw Oz Con organise for different fandoms to have set meeting times and places for the chance to have group shots taken. Ranging from Marvel to anime, this allows for cosplayers to meet people dressing from their favourite films, shows etc. Just another way that they are helping to bring the community together, making everyone feel included, for cons can be a rather intimidating place for first time con goers and cosplayers.
Throughout the years, not only has the cosplay scene grown, but so has the photography scene. More and more photographers are arming themselves with their cameras and attending conventions, using them as a way to hone their skills and meet new friends. I had the pleasure of meeting a group of them this year, who have kindly allowed me to showcase their work from Oz Comic Con Sydney in this article, as a way to represent their wider community. I chose to focus on featuring photographers this time, to highlight their significance and importance in the cosplay community!
Overall, I think it speaks volumes that Oz Comic Con are always asking both cosplayers and photographers about ways in which they can improve all aspects of a convention. Each year and each convention has seen improvements and changes made, from prop limitations becoming more relaxed, to areas in which cosplayers can tug armour off, sit down and have a relax. The drive behind their team to promote both cosplay and photography and to consistently create a positive environment is one that should definitely be applauded! I can’t wait to see how each convention continues to grow, alongside the community that has become almost like a second family!
I'm a Sydney based cosplayer and gamer who can usually be found drinking cups of coffee while hunched over a new cosplay or game. I work with foam and am an expert procaffeinater (NOTHING gets done until coffee is in my hand!)