On Thursday, South African news media and geeks went into a bit of a frenzy. News broke of an official Comic Con heading to South African shores. I expressed my initial reservations about the event, and as it so happens my gut feeling was spot on.
Unfortunately, after some light investigative journalism from sites such as Lazygamer, My Gaming and the popular online radio station Euro Trash Music, we have learnt that the event is nothing more than a despicable ‘get rich quick scheme’.
These are the succinct facts, compiled from the aforementioned reputable news sources, about what is alleged to be Comic Con South Africa:
- The venue can only cater for a maximum of 150 people. After you count event exhibiters and friends, that value drops to around 70 – 80. I have had birthday parties with more people.
- The event is set to occur in three weeks from today, however most distributors only found out about the event when the public did. As a result, distributors have not been able to plan effectively and most will be unable to show. As it stands, one exhibitor has already pulled out.
- Entry costs for the event range from a a scantily clad and highly sexist ‘free’ for women in cosplay to a highly unreasonable R200 per person, with prices influenced by day and cosplay worn. The pricing structure is reminiscent of the local South African club circuit.
- Closer inspection of the alleged companies that are supposedly behind Comic Con South Africa have been revealed to be empty shell corporations, all of which are owned by two people, Tlou Ramatlhodi and Mzingaye Dube.
- The South African geek community is up in arms about the misuse of the Comic Con brand with most of the biggest community leaders in the local landscape for comics, trading cards, video games and cosplay, speaking outright against the event. There is practically no positive media surrounding this event anymore.
- Finally, and this is the big one, Comic-Con in the United States is not affiliated with this event. In fact, Comic-Con had no knowledge of the South African event until Gavin Manion from Lazygamer contacted them for further clarification.
I wanted to attend this event in Cape Town on behalf of Vamers, more so out of curiosity than for any other reason. However, after everything that has transpired, I cannot justify the cost of travelling to and attending this event.
In fact, one of the event organisers and the current public relations person for the event, Tlou Ramatlhodi, conceded to Samantha Wright from Euro Trash Music that he would not recommend people travel from outside of Cape Town to attend Comic Con South Africa. It goes without saying that when an event organiser cannot recommend his/her own event that something is not quite right.
I highly recommend that everyone interested in this Comic Con South Africa event listen to the insightful interview below in which Samantha Wright embraces her inner Deborah Patta:
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Truth be told, I am so very disappointed. Time and time again, great brands, ideas and possibilities fall into the hands of mediocrity within South Africa. This is not from a lack of talent or passion in our country, but simply because there are people who are only interested in making a quick ‘buck’ instead of supplying a quality event/service/product that can be enjoyed by many.
The more I learn about this event, the more I am filled with a bitter notion of ‘what could have been’.
Owner, founder and editor-in-chief at Vamers, Hans has a vested interest in geek culture and the interactive entertainment industry. With a Masters degree in Communications and Ludology, he is well read and versed in matters relating to video games and communication media, among many other topics of interest.