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A look at FanCon’s debut event: the stalls, the queues, the excitement

Slowly but surely, Cape Town is getting its own range of geek and technology events for the mass market. This week saw the debut of FanCon, which is an evolution of Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), hosted at V&A’s The Lookout. Memeburn had the opportunity to attend and it was quite an event.

Some fan goers compared it to this year’s debut of rAge Cape Town, but the two events are vastly different. For one, rAge focuses on digital entertainment as its core focus. That said, FanCon did have a much better vibe to it.

Read more: rAge Cape Town promises to inform and entertain

A glimpse of the epic queue.

A glimpse of the epic queue.

FanCon’s purpose is to showcase a range of geek and fun things to the Cape Town audience, such as cosplay, comics, and board games. It’s something Cape Town has had in the past with FCBD, but needed to grow in size. Unfortunately, it may have grown a bit larger than originally thought.

The event wasn’t without its growing pains. When Memeburn reporters arrived at 9am on Saturday, the line of attendees — waiting for the doors to open at 10am — was already out of the Lookout’s parking area. Several hours later it snaked down the road and any which way it could to cater to the growing masses. Some of those waiting took to social media to vent their frustrations about having to wait over an hour to see the event. That, in itself, can be considered a success due to the amount of people wanting to get in.

One of the panel discussions.

One of the panel discussions.

Unfortunately, it was more due to underestimating just how well the event would do. The venue can supposedly hold around 3000 people. Those waiting had to stand in line until people left the venue in order to cater to these numbers. This was really due to fire and safety regulations. Those inside were feeling the heat of just how many people there were.

Saturday’s event also ran out of tickets later in the day, but this wasn’t being communicated correctly. This seemed to have been rectified on Sunday, but the damage may have already been done as the attendances were lower.

Part of the Readers Den stall.

Part of the Readers Den stall.

Those that did make it in seemed to be having a blast. There wasn’t a moment when the board game tables weren’t overflowing with cheers and dice rolls, people weren’t lining up to get all manner of objects signed by artists and authors, or the perusing of different stalls.

Read more: Comic books and Comic-Con: Memeburn interviews Readers Den co-owner Nizar Abrahams

The stores themselves consisted of Wizards Warehouse, Fanaticus, Outer Limits, Readers Den, some stalls selling geek jewelry, collectibles, and just a host of other goodies. It was a geeky smörgåsbord catering to a range of tastes.

The sale are is ready to go.

The sale area is ready to go.

One gripe we did have were the lack of items on sale. During FCBD, Readers Den would pack out table upon table of discounted graphic novels, figures, manga, and more. At FanCon, this wasn’t the same. True, there were a few tables of discounted items, but not the kind of items we’ve seen before and with a distinctly large amount of Marvel compared to DC.

For an event falling on international FCBD, the organisers only gave out copies of Civil War II and Suicide Squad special issues. If you wanted any of the other free comics on offer you needed to check out the Outer Limits stand, which was a fact not advertised to all.

Part of the board gaming section.

Part of the board gaming section.

Aside from the stalls and comics, there was a fantastic turnout of cosplayers in all manner of outfits. There were individuals dressed as The Joker, Constantine, the Winter Soldier, Deadpool, characters from Naruto and Bleach, and so much more. It was a sight to behold, and at FanCon, no one seemed to feel out of place during the merriment and excitement.

Read more: Captain America: Civil War movie review: what Avengers 2 should have been

Even with the gripes and hiccups, this was the very first version of FanCon. We expect to not only see more from the event next year and better planning, but more than likely a larger venue as well.

If you attended FanCon, what did you think about it? Let us know in the comments below.

Author | Graham van der Made: Staff Reporter

Graham van der Made: Staff Reporter
Graham started out as an electronics manager at Take2 Home Entertainment and went on to spend a further ten years in the South African ecommerce industry. During this time, Graham founded and managed an online geek and hobby shop. He has always had a passion for writing and has... More
  • Kinnux

    It was great. I came to support a lot of excellent friends who work hard and produce excellent work, but i have a little squad of five and to pay that much money on free comic book day and come home with ZERO free comic books broke my heart. I spent around R600 without even trying. Please don’t think this whingeing, i come from a different (older, cheaper) comic book appreciation realm, but I love them the same.
    CF

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