Readers Den Comic Book Shop will reach new heights when it hosts their second annual Comics Convention, aptly named FanCon.
The convention replaced the already famous Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) event, which the comics shop has hosted for 14 years. FCBD is an American initiative that started in 2002, where each person attending could receive one free comic to promote the medium to new readers.
A successful two-day FanCon convention last year promised that Readers Den could once again expand the event, which meant more preparation would be needed. Last year, the event was held at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront and “moving the event to the Cape Town International Convention Centre meant more admin and red tape,” said co-founder, Mahdi Abrahams.
This year’s three-day convention will have six international guests. The increased guest count proved to be the biggest challenge in preparation for the event. “These people are incredibly busy and their schedules make it difficult for them to attend a convention so far away. The more popular they are, the harder it is to book them,” said Abrahams.
Fans will be delighted to know that a FCBD event will also be hosted at the Readers Den shops a week later this year. The international day to host this event is on the first Saturday in May.
“We launched FanCon in 2016 as a deliberate move to build on the FCBD event, hence the exact date, and therefore we could not hold it as a separate event,” said Abrahams.
Genevieve Lesch, a cosplay enthusiast since 2011, expressed her excitement at this year’s hosting of SA Comic Con’s first international cosplay guest, Calssara from Germany. Costume play (cosplay) is a performance art in which a person embodies a certain character using makeup and other fashion accessories.
Kevin Waters from Mini Me Memorables, a first-time vendor in 2017, said that this event could be great for business, because “it brings all things geeky together under one roof – local and international alike.”
Abrahams believes that they can keep the momentum going. “We aim to grow the convention steadily over the next few years, the more funding and sponsorship we acquire, the faster the show can grow.”
The event takes place at the CTICC from 29 April to 1 May and tickets are available on Computicket and at the door. – Franco Havenga