South Africa cosplayers flock to African comic convention

South Africa cosplayers flock to African comic convention

South Africa cosplayers flock to African comic convention (4)
Cosplayers pose at the second edition of the multi-genre entertainment comic and fan convention Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg on Sep 21, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Michele Spatari)

JOHANNESBURG: Clad in an array of capes, masks, pointy elf ears and spectacular face paint, comics fans gathered in South Africa's biggest city this weekend for the second edition of Comic Con Africa.

Dressed as their favourite superhero, fans of cosplay - a portmanteau for costume play - strolled around Johannesburg's Gallager convention centre, meeting writers, illustrators and fellow enthusiasts.

"It's the first time I've been here. I have heard so much about it so I wanted to experience it," said Nishen Deepchand, peering out from a black Batman mask.

"I've teamed up with Tinkerbell as well. It's a special love affair but nobody knows about it so make sure you don't tell Batgirl."

South Africa cosplayers flock to African comic convention (3)
Cosplayers pose at the second edition of the multi-genre entertainment comic and fan convention Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg on Sep 21, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Michele Spatari)

Sponsors of the four-day event, which opened on Saturday, are expecting 60,000 attendees - a unique opportunity for new creators to showcase their work.

Guests of honour this year included Loyiso Mkize, the artist behind South Africa's first superhero.

South Africa cosplayers flock to African comic convention (1)
Cosplayers dressed as Captain America and Captain Marvel play video games at the second edition of the multi-genre entertainment comic and fan convention Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg on Sep 21, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Michele Spatari)

Mkize's three-volume illustrated story of "Kwezi" - a 19-year old boy in South Africa who discovers he has superpowers - has been a hit in the country.

"The fan base has grown to now in the tens of thousands," Mkize told AFP. "That's an amazing feat, particularly for an industry in South Africa where we thought there was no industry."

South Africa cosplayers flock to African comic convention (2)
A cosplayer poses during the second edition of the multi-genre entertainment comic and fan convention Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg on Sep 21, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Michele Spatari)

Mkize is among a growing movement of African illustrators striving to bring more diversity to the global comic scene.

Since 2013, Nigerian start-up Comic Republic have created a series of superheroes referred to as "Africa's Avengers"by fans.

And in 2015 Nigerian-born Roye Okupe launched the futuristic saga "E.X.O. - The Legend of Wale Williams".

Last year, Marvel studios released the first superhero blockbuster featuring an entirely black cast.

"Creating South Africa's first superhero was the first leg," said Mkize. "But continuing that legacy and continuing the story and the narrative along with our readers has been the journey".

Source: AFP/ic

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