Greetings ladies and gentlemen, AussieDidge here with another round-up of what's making news, and tonight, I present to you a full-blown, rock-your-socks, SupaNova extravaganza, based on my personal experience attending for the first time at the Melbourne Showgrounds. So how did it all go? Both personally and event-wise, it went pretty damn awesome.
Fair warning to all those who come across this entry though, this is gonna be a long one, perhaps longer than I've ever written. So if you're one of those TL;DR types, you can kindly leave. I'm not gonna cut details just to please you impatient sorts. If you want to stick around, grab some drinks, snacks and whatever else, and buckle up.
We're gonna see some serious shit...
Although that wasn't to say the day began without a hitch either. I woke much earlier than planned, being too excited to sleep, and had some nervous gastric problems, but thankfully it settled down and we were on our way. Camera in hand, waters and other equipment at the ready, I headed out (taking my folks along the way) to the train station to catch the 9:41 off to Flinders Street, then onward to Southern Cross Station.
It was a pretty uneventful trip at first, but I knew we were headed in the right direction when I noticed some Attack on Titan cosplayers wandering around near the validators. From platform 9 we got to platform 8 (Which took much longer than you'd think) and boarded a special train bound for the Showgrounds, and it was there we were assaulted with a sea of colourful characters in one carriage.
In fact, we broke into a bit of conversation with a young lady, who was dressed as a squire from Dragon Age: Inquisition, complete with shield and replica battle armour. From there, we landed at the grounds and were able to get into line, which, considering the crowd levels, we got through in an impressive amount of time. From there, it was just about free reign as to what to do.
My parents were quick to grab some coffee, as I fiddled with my camera for a bit... Perhaps one confession I should make at this point was the fact I still had nerves, and it was quite overwhelming on the senses. It was perhaps half an hour in when I captured my first photo, my mum posing with Optimus Prime beside an exotic yellow-and-black limousine for hire called Bumblebee, appropriately enough.
That turned out to be an exhibition speciality, which soon led me to an exquisitely designed ute with Batman-themed decals all over the vehicle. The level of artwork was insane, and looked beautiful all over. It must've cost a fortune personally, but luckily, the guy providing it was sponsored, and would be taking it to events across Australia in the near-future. I snapped photos all around, took shots of the limousine, then met my first cosplayer.
I think we met while Optimus Prime did his thing, but I remember clearly that she was dressed as Harley Quinn by way of the Arkham City game. It seemed to have this punk vibe to it, and complete with a metal-like baseball bat and pinkish red hair, you knew this was one lady not to cross. I snapped a picture of her with her "new ride", and then it was off into the exhibition hall.
Admittedly, it felt easy to get lost in here, but eventually I settled on a 12pm session of the Australasian Wrestling Federation, which featured a couple of bouts that I snapped here and there. Some photos didn't turn out too great, and I really regretted the fact I couldn't snap a Spear that cleaved some poor bastard in half, but overall, it was pretty enjoyable. It was no WWE but then again, what is, and why should it be?
There was a Hulkbuster model on display that I snapped along with Iron Man together (makes one good optical illusion, I reckon) and then after some more exploring and a drinks break, I found myself back on the other side of the hall. One person who grabbed my attention was a classic Harley Quinn carrying a giant FREAKIN' mallet, who really nailed the look. Suffice to say, I was nervous asking her for a photo.
But she said yes, thankfully, and then I came across a top-notch Zelda from, well, do you really need to guess? Hyrule's Royal Highness looked wonderful in her outfit, and then after a couple snaps elsewhere in the hall, I came across a dead-on selection of DC and Marvel's finest, namely Batman and Batgirl. Their costumes were in one word, incredible, and they were certainly into their characters.
Which kinda felt like some strange contradiction... Riddle me this, but how did I NOT get my camera smashed to pieces by this guy who clearly was The Dark Knight, a man who a good few of us know is quite aggressive about getting his picture taken?
Speaking of them, I got into conversation with a guy named Larry, whose company was responsible for creating the moulds, costumes and other things that were part and parcel. I really regret not taking notes on the business, but hopefully I'll come across it soon.
Anyway, I snapped another shot of my mum with this strange robotic creature, and then met quite an elegant character from the anime Kill la Kill (first time for everything). She portrayed Satsuki, a main antagonist of the series, complete with deadly katana, regal dress and serious attitude.
After more photos with a mix of eastern and western characters, I eventually came across two ladies dressed as one of my favourites, Supergirl, and Artemis, a deadly archer. It took a lot from me to ask, but I did, they happily agreed, and it went almost without a hitch. By that I mean, as I was prepping focus Supergirl stuck her tongue out in fun and I happened to snap. Talk about perfect timing, and I think I could really spin that into something funny.
Photos of Wolverine, a genderbent Wonder Woman and others surfaced, but two more really caught my eye in the form of Odin from Final Fantasy 13, and I think a genderbent Sugata from the anime Star Driver. Though please, correct me if I am wrong once I put the shots up.
In fact, the guy who played Odin, AmenoKitarou
, won a cosplay tournament for the work. And as for Empress Sugata, well I'll let the photo speak for itself. Needless to say, if she enters that in a competition, I sincerely hope to Hell she wins.
More drinks, a bite to eat and before I knew it, the cosplay competition (speak of the devil) was on. Unfortunately I took some badly motion blurred shots at the beginning owing to slow shutter speed, but I learned and quickly nailed the rest, at least by comparison. There were several highlights of the competition and I couldn't capture them all, but safe to say, everyone deserves full credit for getting out there and performing.
For me, there were a troupe of people dressed as Robins (both Hood and comic) who performed a Men In Tights routine, Mortal Kombat by way of Disney (the worst photos, I'm afraid
), two ladies who spent a combined 160+ hours on their costumes, soldiers carrying destructive, well-made weapons and especially a genderbent Joker who nailed the persona by quoting The Killing Joke (a part about memories) and laughing that sent chills up my spine. I didn't stick around to see the winners, but I really hope she did.
Oh and separately, I gotta give some props as well to the lady dressed as Black Swan... A+ for being unique and standing out in that crowd.
That was the end of the day, and the end of my attendance. Meanwhile, my parents sat in on seminars with the original Star Trek cast (Uhura, Sulu and Chekov, it turned out), saw a few exhibitions and generally enjoyed the atmosphere. By the end, our feet were killing us, we were exhausted, and I felt pretty sure we might've grabbed some sunburn, but we had a wonderful day.
To top it all off, we stopped off at Grill'd to enjoy a burger and some fries for dinner. Grabbing Mighty Melbournes (makes sense to me!) we tore into it, although we did make a fair mess in the end. Still, the burger went down beautifully, and one uneventful train ride later, we were home. It was 7pm I reckon, so it meant we spent a good 9 hours or so out of the house. I don't think we've ever done that before.
By the end of the day, as well as today I s'pose, the photos were on my computer, adjusted for glare and other stuff, and ready for sharing. Some won't turn out too great I'm afraid, but as a photographer, you live and learn. For starters, it certainly won't hurt to carry a small pile of Sticky Notes in your pocket, and also, just perhaps, I could consider advertising free photos with a sign on my head or something.
Personally, I'm a guy who'd rather that someone else make the first move, if only because I don't know what I'd really do, or what I'll say. That being said, a lot had changed for me on a personal level, and it's thanks to Supanova and the wonderful attendees that helped me feel at ease. I certainly reckon I'll head there next year. Speaking of conventions, I believe there's Armageddon 2015 at the same place sometime in October... May think about heading there too.
So much for wanting to make a name writing poetry, huh...
1,600 words? Good lord, that's a sermon if ever there was one! But there was no way I could skim on anything here... It was just fun for the most part, and that's even forgetting to mention all the stalls, shops and cafes to ogle just bursting with a fandom's dream or two. As a first-time attendee, let me give my thanks to the organisers for the event as well as all the attendees for being so damn super that day.
Unfortunately, it's back to reality starting from tomorrow, as university holidays are over and mid-semester exams begin to loom over our heads. *sigh*
But for now, this is AussieDidge wishing you well and hoping you've had a stellar weekend!