Science fiction and fantasy conventions used to be a homespun affair, run by the local clubs, featuring broadcasts of rare episodes and out-takes (before it all got released on DVD) and fan films. If there were guest artists, often they would appear only if they happened to be in the country at the time, and fees for photos and autographs were unheard of.
These days it’s big business. Not that it’s a bad thing. I like that geek culture is no longer a hidden-away, niche enterprise, and those who are interested in it have big events like Oz Comic-Con and Armageddon, and SupaNova, and others to go to every year.
And yet for all the big budget exhibition halls and merchandise stalls and paid guest appearances, it’s still the fans and their costumes that make it what it is.
On the train into OzComiCon on Sunday morning, we were keeping a lookout for others attending — of course it’s sometimes a guess as to whether someone’s in costume, or just dresses eccentrically. I’d had a plan for a costume but wasn’t organised enough to get it all prepared, so went in civvies, but it was just as well as at lunchtime I had to duck out to talk to Channel 9 about the airport rail link.
This year it was at MCEC (along with SpecTex15 — a trade show about specialist textiles… their attendees were a little less outlandishly dressed).
Given the number of Doctor Who fans out and about, it was a shame that there were no related guests or sessions, but I went to an interesting Star Trek: Deep Space 9 session with Terry Farrell (Dax) and Rene Auberjonois (shapeshifter Odo).
Mostly it was light-hearted, but at one point they noted Friday’s marriage equality decision of the US Supreme Court, and Farrell said she was proud of the episode where she kissed another female actress — although the genders of both characters was unclear, she said that it had provided a chance to indirectly have the show stand up for people who then might have been unable to be public about their own relationships.
I’m struggling to paraphrase it well; she expressed it in a much more graceful and passionate way, and got a round of applause from the audience. In any case, it fits in well with the generally progressive vision of future society that has long been the hallmark of the Star Trek franchise — everything from the once-controversial multi-racial cast to the absence of money.
Anyway, here are some photos from OzComicon… as you can see, it was pretty busy, and people in costume were only too pleased to pose for photos.
Who you gonna call?
Whatever you do, don’t cross the franchises!
Lego TARDIS! Lego Pac-Man!
Captain Picard from Star Trek: Next Generation snaps a photo of a Star Wars Storm trooper.
Lots of cosplayers pose for a photo outside… you can see the picture in this News.com.au story: Costume-clad fans flock to Oz Comic-Con Melbourne 2015
(View this photo at full size)
More media coverage:
Speaking of marriage equality, I’m somewhat surprised to see this that this tweet netted over 300 retweets and a similar number of favourites in 24 hours, and got quoted on Buzzfeed. Cool!