This weekend sees the hosting of Cyprus Comic Con which will take place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September. This is the fourth such annual event, but the first to be held at the Nicosia State Fair, having already outgrown the venue for the past 2 years, the Philoxenia Centre (which, in turn, had been an upgrade on the site for the first convention, the European University).
From humble beginnings – organisers expected to attract only a small crowd of dedicated gamers, cosplayers and comic book aficiandos to the first Comic Con – the event has expanded to become one of the most anticipated and well-attended gatherings on the Cypriot calendar, with last year’s two day festival attracting more than 15,000 visitors, including people who travelled from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to attend. And while Cyprus Comic Con may be dwarfed by the conventions held in places like San Diego and London, the numbers it attracts are still hugely impressive given the size of Cyprus and its location.
What is even more remarkable is that the whole event is run as a non-profit organisation by a core team of nine people (assisted by some 50 volunteers who help set-up and dismantle everything) who dedicate hundreds of hours of their free time planning, coordinating and organising it, for no reward other than the satisfaction they get from seeing the pleasure Cyprus Comic Con gives to thousands. And, as soon as this year’s event is over, they will start planning for 2018.
Despite its modest size, Cyprus Comic Con has managed to attract some big stars to headline the event. Last year these included Julian Glover, star of Game of Thrones, Indiana Jones and Bond villain to boot, comic book legend Neil Gibson, and Cypriot born Miltos Yerolemou (GoT), fencer extraordinaire. This year is no different – stars don’t come much bigger than Hafƥór Júlíus Björnsson, who plays The Mountain in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Björnsson is joined on the guest list by Star Wars’ actor Gerald Home, Bulgarian animator and comic book creator Rumen Petkov, and local painter and illustrator Chris Achilleos, who, among other things, has designed posters for movies like Blade Runner and Supergirl.
However, if you have never been to Cyprus Comic Con before, the guest stars are just a small element of the attractions in store. There are the gaming events, the vendor stalls offering a range of handicrafts, models and memorabilia, a film festival and the centrepiece cosplay competition, where participants dress-up as a variety of comic book characters and super heroes. The standard of cosplay is always incredibly high, reflecting the hours, weeks, and, in some cases, months spent by some competitors preparing their costumes and make-up (try to guess in advance how many Darnerys’s, Queen of Dragons, Negans (The Walking Dead) or Wonderwomen we will see this year!).
If all that is still not enough for you, there is a wide range of musical entertainment on offer, from local bands like Winter’s Verge, The Xiles and The Reveries, to DJs playing the decks and an after-show party on Saturday which will go on until the small hours. And, if you get hungry or thirsty, there will be a wide range of food, drinks and other refreshments available in the open-air Food Court.
There is literally something for everyone at Cyprus Comic Con, and, even if gaming, comic book characters, cosplaying or video games are not up your street, chances are that there is someone in your family who will enjoy it. Even if you are sceptical, once you get through the doors you will be surprised at what is on offer.
Tickets for Cyprus Comic Con are available through their website(http://cypruscomiccon.org/) or can be bought on the day at the Nicosia State Fair.
AJD Consultants provide financial and accounting support to Cyprus Comic Con.