Competitions, virtual panels and all things pop-culture as Comic Con Africa goes online

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Cosplay at Comic Con Africa in 2018. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/CityPress
Cosplay at Comic Con Africa in 2018. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/CityPress


Comic Con Africa and Puma have announced a fan art challenge for aspiring (and non-aspiring) South African artists and designers as part of its lead up to the virtual 2020 comic convention, scheduled to be held from September 24 to 27.

The winning artwork, which needs to be “a creative interpretation of fan art incorporating a facet of Comic Con Africa” and must include the words Comic Con Africa in the design, will be printed as a limited edition Puma hoodie that will be sold through Comic Con Africa’s online store.

In a statement the Con said that the “winner will be interviewed on their creative process and work on a panel with Puma, broadcast live on one of the Con’s free-to-access platforms. They will also receive their own hoodie and major bragging rights, plus every fan at the Online Con will be able to see their winning design”.

But it doesn’t seem that the winning artist will share in the proceeds of the hoodie.

Representatives from Puma and Comic Con will judge the designs, and fans will be given a chance to show their love for shortlisted designs on social media.

Closing date for entries is August 28, with shortlisted designs to be revealed by September 3 and winners announced by September 7. For more information click here.

Read: Captain Kirk here, now and forever

More art competitions

That’s not the only art-related competition that the Con is running this year, with the VX Africa Art Tournament for digital artists already in full swing.

Dubbed as the “biggest online art tournament in Africa” and following a stringent process of qualifiers, group stages and knockout stages, 50 artists will be whittled down to five with the winner being announced on the final day of the virtual Con.

The deadline for the qualifier stage is August 20.

More than ever it’s time to celebrate humanity in its purest form. That is to say our capacity to co-create harmoniously and in solidarity
Nilda Brianto

“The winner will receive flights, accommodation and a spot in the Artist Alley in Comic Con Africa 2021’s live event, and all participants from the quarter finals will be given the opportunity to be showcased during Comic Con Africa’s Online Con,” in addition to a $500 (about R8 700) comic book contract, graphic art software, tablet and ArtStation account. There are also cash prizes for second and third with other prizes for positions up to tenth place.

The theme of the competition is humanity – “how we express ourselves through art”.

“More than ever it’s time to celebrate humanity in its purest form. That is to say our capacity to co-create harmoniously and in solidarity. In this time of restriction, art and comics are a chance to move around into fictional worlds and connect with each other. Let’s show humanity through art and enlighten hidden talents,” said Nilda Brianto, project manager at Vortex Corp who are the competition’s sponsors.

Read: The comic book hustle grows in South Africa

The judging panel consists of six well-known artists and illustrators: Loyiso Mkize, Afua Richardson, Bimpe Alliu, Marcus Williams, Rad Sechrist and Stephanie Hayot.

For the VX Africa Art Tournament, the rules and process are a lot more stringent so best you have a look the Comic Con Africa website on what is required. 

Cosplay goes virtual

There’s also the virtual cosplay competition that will take place via video call. Finalists will call in and strut their amazing designs and creations in front of their cameras while judging will take place online during the days of the Con.

Last year, during the in-person Comic Con, Kelsey Atkins won the grand prize – which is a VIP ticket into the internationally renowned Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), with flights and accommodation plus R10 000 cash.

See more: Cosplay at Africa's first Comic Con

Atkins, also known as “JinxKittie” wore an intricate Priestess Bathory Cosplay that reportedly took “600 hours of design, hand stitching, embroidering and 3D printing” to make.

So it was no surprise that she won the crown at the 2019 C2E2 as well.

I mean just take a look at this:

Entrance to this competition is online only and there is a cost attached to each of the six categories, with applications closing on August 31.

For more on the 2020 Virtual Cosplay click here.

How the Con will go on…line

Comic Con Africa has also been getting fans hyped with online quizzes, watch parties, Twitch sessions and interviews with cosplayers, gamers and comic con legends. All of these communications are done through their social media platforms. There is also an exclusive app that is being developed, with details on that to be announced soon.

The headline (virtual) guests this year include Brett “The Hitman” Hart of WWE fame and Jason Frank of Mighty Morphin Power Ranges fame (he’s the green Power Ranger).

The creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kevin Eastman, is also expected to be virtually there, while James C Mulligan, a long-time Disney artist who’s worked for companies like Playboy, Coca-Cola, Fox, Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, Marvel, and DC will also be virtually in attendance.

There is also a host of other international artists and illustrators that have worked (and still work) on comics and superheroes from Spiderman, to the Justice League and The Transformers.


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