The last convention of the year, Supanova Comic-Con & Gaming went off with a bang at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre this past weekend. It is one of Australia’s largest pop culture celebrations with three action-packed days of Supa-star guests, cosplay, gaming and geeky shopping perfectly timed for Christmas.
In over thirteen years of attending Supanova, I got to say this was actually one of the most memorable and had a wonderful variety of guests from film and television to anime and even Youtube. To truly recreate the experience for you, I need to break this down over the days. I’ll also explain some con terms on the way for those who haven’t had the chance to experience a comic con or Supanova yet.
DAY 1- FRIDAY
Friday is traditionally the sneak peek night for most cities that hold the event. Due to Brisnova and Sydnova’s popularity, those particular cities were given the extended weekend with Friday opening at 1 pm. This is especially fantastic for those who might be working weekend shifts. Friday also has most of the celebrities in attendance signing and posing for photos with the fans. I personally was keen to meet my childhood Superman, Dean Cain of Lois & Clark fame who by the way, lived up to the Superman name and didn’t disappoint. Friday being a weekday, is less crowded than the rest of the weekend, so if you’re out to grab photos and autographs with your favourite Supa-Star, that’s your day to do so.
I made it to two panels that afternoon. Panels or Q&A’s are run with the guest and an MC and also give the audience a chance to ask a question. The Friday panels were fantastic, as they grouped up guests who had a common theme. In this case, I made it to the “DC Universe” panel, which featured Dean Cain, Manu Bennett (Arrow) and Ryan Potter (Titans). I managed to get a question in asking since all three had someone (be it voice actor or on-screen actor) play their character previously, if the past performance had any bearing on how they approached their characters. Cain had answered that Christopher Reeve certainly had some bearing, as he often played the Superman part of the role by pretending to be Reeve when he put the suit on, but then would approach the Clark side in his own way. Bennett had spoken about how he was given the official approval by Deathstroke’s creator. Potter (as he had spoken in our interview earlier last month) mentioned how he was trained by Cipes and how much he loved Cipes in the role of Beast Boy.
Later on, I sat in on the “Torchwood” panel featuring the infamous John Barrowman, Gareth David-Lloyd and Carole Barrowman. I didn’t get a chance to ask a question but it was a fun panel, talking about fan theories and trying to work out the how’s of Capt Jack Harkness and the Face of Boe (that’s the simplest I can put it- go watch Russell T. Davies’ era Doctor Who).
Afterward, it was time for autographs, photos, and shopping. It was an absolute breeze to walk around and look at the Ghostbusters 2016 Ecto 1 vehicle and the Terminator hearse. This was the calm before the storm.
DAY 2- SATURDAY
Saturdays are notorious for being the busiest day of Supanova, often by lunchtime the exhibition floor becomes standing room only. This year wasn’t really much different. It was big, loud and busy! The Rock Stars Rock Band 4 Rivals stage gave attendees the opportunity to live out their rock star dreams with a genuine stage set up to play the Rock Band game singing and strumming along to their favourite tracks. It’s a Supanova staple activity that’s been around since the beginning (I know, I was there!) and with the new amazing stage setup, it went next level.
Gaming was also on the menu with ESL hosting the Australia & New Zealand Video Gaming Championship with esports teams duking it out live. This was alongside the PC Gaming Zone and Nintendo Switch Zone, allowing attendees of all gaming skill levels to play along. Speaking of duking it out, the AWF Wrestling Ring another Supanova staple, held wrestling matches throughout the weekend pleasing wrestling fans.
Photos ops don’t just end with the cars and Supa-Stars- Whovians (Doctor Who fans) had the Tardis with Daleks and Bessie. Star Wars fans had the 501st Legion Redback Garrison and The Rebel Legion Tatooine Base with awesome backdrops and accurate costumers to take photos with. Both photo areas were raising money for the Brainchild Foundation, which helps children with brain and spinal tumors.
I made it to Christina Ricci’s panel around lunchtime to hear her speak about her love for working on The Addams Family. She also explained how she got her start as a child actor in commercials with an understandably protective former model mother.
I also got to chat with a few Supa-Star guests that day- Gary Lockwood (2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek), Keir Dulea (2001: A Space Odyssey), Josh Grelle (Attack On Titan, Yuuri On Ice!), Morgan Garrett (Attack On Titan, Tokyo Ghoul) and Zach McGowan (Black Sails, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD).
DAY 3- SUNDAY
Sundays are still busy although slightly less than Saturday. This, however, doesn’t it make it any less important. Being Remembrance Day, it was quite a sight and sound when it got to 11 am. It was announced minutes prior over the PA to give everyone a chance to stop what they were doing and to become silent. The stillness was something to behold. Every person solid in their spot as far as the eye could see whilst the PA played a voiceover of the Lest We Forget poem and the Last Post.
Once life was restored after the minute’s silence, it was back to the fray. Sunday’s are also traditionally the day where stalls will discount their merchandise in order to make it a little easier for the pack up and bump out that follows after the event closes. Even in the world of internet shopping, I guarantee you’ll find products that you didn’t even know existed. Artists Alley is especially unique with often handmade artisan products and fan art that beat your average local markets when it comes to geekery.
On the cosplay (aka costume making role-playing, also costume role-playing) front, the new Supanova national competition, Supanova Cosplay Odyssey held its first Queensland round, with its winner to return next year to compete alongside other state winners for the chance to become the national champion, winning a trip to DragonCon in the US. The first Cosplay Dash was also held, a cosplay parade style competition where cosplayers can walk on stage and pose.
As the day wound down, I went to the most wound up panel- John Barrowman. I mentioned infamous before right? Well, this is what he is infamous for. Barrowman doesn’t just put on a panel, he puts on a spectacular! Sporting a specially designed Peter Alexander rainbow sequinned pajamas set, Barrowman brought his brand of sass, answered outrageous fan questions, played Tim Tam Jenga (hang on- let me explain, he collects Tim Tams from fans over the weekend and gets them stacked in a tower where selected audience members will play Jenga) and sang with great vigor, “I Am What I Am.”
Whew, with great exhaustion at the end of this weekend, I will state as per Supanova’s slogan, I “had a blast!”
Supanova will be returning next year with its first stops at the Gold Coast and Melbourne. The first guest announcement of Tyler Posey (Star of Teen Wolf) was declared over the PA at the show’s closing causing excited chatter over the floor.
Review Contributed by Sarah Minazzo