Free Comic Book Day 2015

This year I was contacted and asked if I would be interested in covering one of the coolest annual events in Cape Town: Free Comic Book day. Obviously, I said yes.

Locally loved comic book store, Readers Den, has made it their personal responsibility to assure that Cape Tonians have a chance to partake in this awesome international day of cosplay, comic books, graphic art and general all-round geek culture. For the last 8 years, they have organised and hosted a full day of celebration; including various local crafters and artists as well as K-pop and J-pop dance routines, live bands and cosplay fashion shows.

After arriving shortly after 8am with my co-photographer for the day (Carl Jacobs), I discovered an already buzzing venue space with queues running through the mall and out the door; people had been waiting since around 4am, just to be the first in line! I ran around all the stalls as they set up, eyeing out what was on sale and taking photos of literally everything. There was a smorgasbord of exceptional local talent to see, ranging from prints, to jewellery and indie comics. The spectrum of creativity that was on display was something that was fully inspiring and rather pride inducing as well. Not only is Cape Town partaking in an event that has global reach, but the local productions were at the highest quality and standard.

Talking of quality and standard, the cosplay outfits were mindblowing – and for once this is not just me being hyperbolic. The costumes represented almost every corner of gamer, anime and comic platforms and one could see just how many hours were put into these amazing garments (some over 100 hours to make, some just under 3 years!).

The thing that really made my day though – that epitomised the spirit of the event in my mind – is the variety of people that were there. It wasn’t just eccentric teens who were acting out. It wasn’t just a weird cult like event with only the select few cool kids attending. There were grandmothers in batman masks, full families with newborns and toddlers dressed up in themed attire and many many figures from all walks of life inbetween. It was thrilling to be part of a crowd who were all out in the name of enjoying and supporting comic art and partaking in the day with a sense of true joy and community.

Despite being exhausting, it was one of the best days of the year so far. The photos, the faces, the smiles and the people have left their mark and I will definitely be returning for some more fangirling next year.

Thanks, Readers Den. You guys have outdone yourself once again, and thousands of people in Cape Town love you for it.

Free Comic Book Day 2015
Photographs: Jamie Dimitra Ashton
Video: Desmond Bowles (footage provided by the Reader’s Den, Cape Town)

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