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The Really Awesome Gaming Expo, or rAge, may be a meeting place of comic book nerds, video game geeks and tabletop trekkies (could not think of another nerdy word to use and trekkies is alliterative in that context so at least I’m being creative, and speaking of creativity) it is also a place for some fantastic fan art.
The artist’s alley was not particularly large this year, but what was on display was more than enough for my measly wallet. Here are the three standout acts in Artist Alley this year:
Extremely intricate and mesmerising fan artwork isn’t exactly an uncommon sight to people (like myself) that spend obscene amounts of time online in search of such things, but the green-haired artist behind this table brought her amazing skills to life with some absolutely gorgeous works of art that sat before her and portrayed a variety of characters, such as Batman (or a far more dementedly appealing Joker) or Stitch (of Lilo and Stitch fame) or storm troopers (of Star Wars and not World War 2 fame).
This talented artist also does custom orders and judging by her explanation that one particular picture took three weeks of work, I’m guessing that she puts the necessary effort in to produce such stunning pieces of art.
Josh Ryba, the illustrator and co-writer of this South African vampire comic can be found sitting behind a stack of high detail fan art comic prints alongside a pile of the comics he co-wrote with Daniel Browde.
This local comic is set in modern Johannesburg, with a collection of vampires suffering from an HIV-type disease, and early colonised Cape Town in which South Africa’s first vampire, Jan van Riebeeck, terrorizes the locals and enacts his own plans for the natives and the people under his settlement’s care.
The story is an interesting and original take on the vampire formula as diseased vampires struggle to find a cure and are willing to do anything to see to it that their efforts yield some kind of result. Alongside the great story is a 180 page full colour set of art that sets the tone and ensures you know it was written and illustrated with care and patience.
Behind a table filled with pin badges, coffee mugs, stickers and an assortment of knitted attire stood a merchant who’d designed the art attached to each and every item he was selling (although he didn’t do the knitting).
The art found on the assorted merchandise was always high quality and each was an original take on an established franchise. Whether the franchise was gaming-related, such as a zombified version of Toad from Mario Bros. to a more traditional take on Studio Ghibli’s Totoro or a punk vibe rendition of a My Little Pony character. There was something for every kind of nerd/geek to be found at this vile stall.
Check out Ronald Leong’s vile artwork over on Facebook.
It’s the fans that give every respective franchise its power, and thanks to the work of the many talented artists around the world we can consume even more of our favourite fictional characters, places and events with all the relish of consuming the original work. The local gaming scene is growing, and along with it the local fan art scene is growing.
Here’s hoping that rAge Cape Town 2017 has an even larger artist’s alley for the fans to peruse and delight in spending some hard earned cash on some deserving local artists.