Comic Con Africa, the continent's ultimate pop culture and gaming festival, is set to take over the Johannesburg Expo Centre (Nasrec) with a bang over Heritage Day weekend next month.
Image supplied by the publicist
The highly anticipated festival promises fans an unforgettable experience, packed with a diverse array of entertainment, celebrity appearances, loads of shopping opportunities, and even exclusive merchandise. As Comic Con Africa gears up for its fifth edition, here are 10 things to expect from the event:
One: The KFC Main Stage and the Pop Culture Hall
The KFC main stage of Comic Con Africa is the epicentre of the festival, featuring a lineup of exciting guests set to engage fans in interactive Q&A panels where audience members can learn more about their favourite films, series, and creators. For Comic Con Africa, so far those guests include, with more being announced soon:
- Anthony Daniels – C-3PO from Star Wars
- Veronica Taylor – The original English voice of Ash Ketchum from Pokémon
- Ross Marquand – Aaron from the Walking Dead, as well as Red Skull from Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game
The main stage will also host spot prizes, interactive gaming sessions, winner announcements, as well as cosplay competitions including the ever-exciting Comic Con Africa Championships of Cosplay. Located in Hall 6, this bustling hub of activity, will house various attractions, including kid-friendly activities making it the ultimate family day out.
Attendees can also look forward to opportunities for community building in dedicated pockets of the hall. More than the main stage, Hall 6 will also house a Pop Culture Content Zone for additional workshops, fan meet ups, and activities.
Two: Gaming Galore – Tournaments, free-to-play zones, and accessories
Gaming enthusiasts will be in paradise with a plethora of gaming options in Hall 5. Vendors will offer the latest gaming accessories and merchandise with some show exclusive deals, while the Telkom VS Gaming Village will host tournaments spanning popular titles like FIFA, and Rocket League. This village will also contain South Africa’s largest eSports tournament – The Telkom VS Masters – featuring games such as CS:GO. For mobile gaming enthusiasts, an exciting mobile gaming experience also awaits in this space.
The Toyota Gaming Engine has partnered with Nintendo to bring attendees an immersive Mario Kart experience and a chance to win a trip to Chicago for C2E2.
Comic Con Africa 2023 also sees the return of the fan favourite Doritos Crunch Cup, powered by Comic Con Africa, which will feature daily tournaments, including the "Beat the Pros" challenge, where casual gamers can compete against South Africa’s top contenders for cash prizes in titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Street Fighter 6, Fortnite, and FIFA.
Following Riot Games' announcement of Valorant servers coming to South Africa, The Carry 1st Valorant Tournament also promises thrilling gameplay. Another not-to-be missed feature is the Red Bull Campus Clutch.
Comic Con Africa is also excited to welcome the voice of Mozzie from Rainbow Six: Siege, Martin Copping, who is also the voice of Lucas Riggs from Call of Duty: Vanguard.
Since 2018, Africa has gained recognition in the global cosplay scene, with South African cosplayers Kinpatsu Cosplay, Jinxie Cosplay, and Ludus Cosplay consistently excelling at the prestigious Crown Championships of Cosplay in Chicago. Whether you're a casual or competitive cosplayer, Comic Con Africa has something for everyone, making it a must-attend event on the cosplay calendar.
Comic Con Africa will also host casual cosplay competitions with multiple daily sessions, including a special session for contestants under 13, offering a chance to win spot prizes. The event also features the Nintendo Cosplay Competition, adding a gaming twist to the cosplay scene. For those aspiring to compete professionally, Comic Con Africa hosts the Championships of Cosplay, where hand-crafted character outfits are rigorously judged. The winner earns the honour of representing South Africa at the global C2E2 competition in Chicago.
In addition to these competitions, Comic Con Africa welcomes internationally acclaimed cosplayers Lindsay Elyse (USA), Sakura Flor (Netherlands), and Har_Fie (England). These guest cosplayers offer photo opportunities and prints of their iconic outfits, adding an extra layer of excitement to the event.
Four: Artist Alley
With over 150 artists in Hall 7, The Artist Alley is the heartbeat of any Comic Con event, and Comic Con Africa is no exception. Attendees can explore a wide array of local and international artist stands dedicated to celebrating the art of comic books, original artwork, fan fiction, and more. Here, fans can admire breathtaking artwork, gain inspiration, exchange creative techniques, and even purchase or commission unique pieces from talented vendors.
Notable and iconic artists such as Nooligan (USA) will be attending the show as well as local authors Sam Beckbessinger and Dave Halvorsen (co-authors of Girls of Little Hope) who will be among the many creatives showcasing their work in the Artist Alley.
Five: Shopping and collectables
With an extensive lineup of vendors spanning three halls of the Expo Centre, Comic Con Africa offers fans a shopper's paradise. Attendees can browse their way through a treasure trove of merchandise, including exclusive items available only at the event. Whether you're searching for the latest collectibles, comics, apparel, or unique memorabilia, there's something for every fan to discover.
The Symbiote Showcase and experience is another must-visit attraction for fans of iconic characters from the world of comic books – having collectables on display from XM Studios, Prime 1 Studio, Queen Studios, PureArts, Royal Selangor and Moduspace. More than these life size and breath-taking statues, be sure to stop by the Funko stand to beef up your collection.
Six: Otaku Town
Get ready for an anime extravaganza! As the anime scene continues to skyrocket across South Africa, cementing its status as an unstoppable cultural phenomenon, Comic Con Africa is thrilled to offer a stellar lineup of guests who've shaped the anime and Japanese culture scene.
Step into the heart of the action on the Comic Con Africa festival floor, for the first ever iteration of Otaku Town! This immersive zone is a love letter to all things anime and Japanese culture. Dive into a world of mesmerising exhibits, tantalise your taste buds with authentic Japanese cuisine, and let the vibrant universe of anime sweep you off your feet. Guest that will feature near this area include popular YouTubers Akidearest as well as The Anime Man.
Seven: Tabletop Gaming
Whether you're a seasoned board game connoisseur or a curious novice, the tabletop gaming zone is a realm where imagination knows no bounds. Gather your friends, roll the dice and dive into a world of intricate strategy, cunning tactics, and boundless fun.
In partnership with Solarpop, Comic Con Africa is proud to welcome free play, demos, and learn-to-play sessions for iconic tabletop gaming titles such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, as well as Magic: The Gathering. Comic Con Africa will also host Catan Nationals.
This area in Hall 7 also calls for fans to enjoy a free two-hour Dungeons & Dragons journey into a world of magic and monsters where newcomers can also enjoy 20-minute introductions to start their quest.
Eight: Local Celebrities Spotlight
This year, Comic Con Africa will also be celebrating homegrown talent that's been making waves both locally and on the international stage, welcoming celebrities such as Cameron Scott (Ring of Beasts, The Bachelorette, and more)
Comic Con Africa is also proud to host heavy-hitter local comic book artists such as Karl Mostert, Sean Izaakse, and more to be announced soon on the festival’s social media channels.
Nine: MASSIVE Outdoor entertainment
Comic Con Africa is focused on ensuring that the event has more than enough room for fans to embrace the experience. The outdoor area is set to be loaded with food trucks, as well as activations from the likes of Red Bull.
Comic Con Africa is also excited to welcome a finger lickin’ good experience with KFC with more details to follow soon!
Ten: Autographs and Photo Ops
Hall 7 is your golden chance to rub shoulders with international celebrities up close and personal. Capture the moment with a professionally taken photograph alongside your favourite celebs. Plus – you can snag their autographs too!
You do not need to have a photograph to get an autograph and vice versa. Whether you want to bring your own item for a cherished signature or pick up something special at the show, the stars are ready to make your day.
Given the high demand for these exclusive opportunities, be sure to keep a close watch on Comic Con Africa's social media for pre-order details. Remember, availability during the event itself might be limited, so stay in the loop and secure your spot to meet and greet your heroes!
Be sure to take advantage of the limited Anthony Daniels combo deal which is currently on offer to early bird patrons at R900 for a photograph and an autograph!
Comic Con Africa 2023 is shaping up to be an unforgettable experience with pockets of excellence in each corner. Be sure not to miss out on the ultimate pop culture and gaming festival, from 22 to 25 September 2023, by securing your ticket on Howler from R200.