Unsure What Comic Con Is? Get On The Hype Train

Originating in America as a modest assembly of comic aficionados back in the 1970s, Comic Con has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, drawing millions of attendees annually. These events serve as an important community connection point for devoted fans and inquisitive enthusiasts alike, offering a vibrant celebration of pop culture and gaming that continues to expand its reach.

Anyone who’s seen the series The Big Bang Theory – will know exactly what to expect from Comic Con! But in the same breath, casual fans of superhero movies will also enjoy attending the festival.

Comic Con is renowned for its celebration of creative expression, inviting attendees to immerse themselves in the realms of comics, gaming, animation and all facets of pop culture. This spirit of celebration is often realised through cosplay – where participants buy, rent, or even create the outfits of their beloved characters and wear it to the festival – creating a massive crossover of characters from an array of genres or media.

The event provides fans the rare opportunity to interact with iconic figures from the world of comics, international film and television stars, content creators, and industry icons who might otherwise remain beyond reach. Comic Cons offer fans photograph and autograph opportunities, as well as Q&A sessions with these famous figures which are available to all attendees.

Fans of the show can also explore a wide range of pop culture and gaming merch, from apparel and literature to collectibles and original artworks, and even obtain personalised memorabilia from the Artist Alley – an area on Comic Con’s floor that highlights both local and international artists.

Comic Con offers a diverse array of attractions, including gaming competitions, exclusive merchandise, informative talks, creative showcases, and on-theme refreshments to keep fans going while they dive into the world of pop culture and gaming.

Calvin van den Berg, Marketing Manager for Comic Con Cape Town, remarks, “Comic Con’s appeal transcends demographics, fostering a sense of unity across age groups, gender, class, and all other social constructs. Witnessing individuals of all identities embrace the opportunity to embody their favourite characters is truly inspiring.”

The surge in popularity of superhero films, coupled with the emergence of African narratives in global pop culture, has further broadened Comic Con’s local appeal. The African pop culture market, underpinned by successes of African characters rising to the mainstream (like Black Panther) has experienced significant growth, with projections indicating continued expansion in the coming years. Looking forward, researchers IMARC Group says the market is expected to grow to US$ 17.8 Billion by 2032, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 7.78% during 2024-2032.

Having debuted in Johannesburg in 2018, Comic Con has since expanded to Cape Town, despite facing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2023 editions of Comic Con Africa and Comic Con Cape Town attracted roughly 100 000 attendees, demonstrating the events’ economic significance to their respective host cities. Recently, the City of Cape Town – who has committed to supporting Comic Con Cape Town for the next three years – reported that Comic Con Cape Town alone injected over R24 million into the local economy.

The inaugural Comic Con Africa in 2018 reported roughly 45 000 visitors, based off this, Comic Cons in South Africa have seen growth in attendance of 117% between 2018 and 2023 (including visitor numbers for both Comic Con Africa and Comic Con Cape Town).

This month (March 2024) Comic Con’s South African organisers took home a clutch of awards at the Association of Exhibition Organisers Awards, including Best Social Media Campaign, Best Launch Event for Comic Con Cape Town and Best Consumer Exhibition for a space over 6000m2. 

Looking ahead to the 2024 Comic Con Cape Town, organisers express excitement at the prospect of welcoming families, friends, and enthusiasts. Collaborations with partners – such as the City of Cape Town, Telkom, and Toyota – aim to enhance the event experience and exceed the expectations of a committed fan base.

Comic Con Cape Town will also feature the Cape Town International Animation Festival, providing a platform for animation and gaming industry professionals and newcomers alike.

Comic Con Cape Town is taking place from 27 April to 1 May 2024 at CTICC, while Comic Con Africa is taking place at Nasrec from 26 to 29 September 2024. Tickets for both shows are available here: comiccon.howler.co.za/organisers/5036

What began as a modest gathering of comic enthusiasts has blossomed into a global movement, with South Africa emerging as a vibrant hub within this ever-expanding cultural phenomenon.

About Comic Con Cape Town 

The five-day festival focuses on all elements of pop culture and brings international and local comic artists, film and TV celebrities, and Cosplayers to South African shores where they meet fans, sign autographs, and have photo ops. Packed with championships, competitions, super show specials, product launches, workshops, panels, Q&A sessions, screenings, activations, and interactive experiences, there is something for everyone to enjoy whether you are a casual fan or a bona fide geek.


By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB | Actor | Armourer | Tech Enthusiast With over two decades in the film industry, I'm a seasoned actor and skilled armourer. I hold numerous certifications in acting and filmmaking, complemented by degrees and diplomas in IT and technology, giving me a unique blend of creative and technical expertise. When I'm not on set or in the workshop, you'll find me immersed in the world of gaming and VR, fuelling my passion for cutting-edge technology. Connect with me: X / Twitter Facebook Instagram Mastodon Threads Explore my work on SAMDB IMDb