So what exactly is a ‘comic con’? This was the burning question Carmel Khalilian and Derek Carrillo of Sunbow Productions wanted to address when I met up to speak with them about how they came to introduce Gibraltar’s latest cultural outing. As the team at Sunbow can attest to, it takes a lot of work to establish a new entry in Gibraltar’s social calendar, but this must not have phased them too much as they have resolved to go even bigger for their second instalment of the convention, and looking at all the amazing announcements so far, they have certainly done that!
Improving on what was a great introduction to the format with last year’s convention, the team wowed us straight away with the coup of securing Star Trek Voyager’s very own Vulcan, Tim Russ (Tuvok to you trekkies), and it seems like the announcements have not stopped coming since then. This year’s roster of guests has grown drastically and includes impressive talent from pop-culture titans such as Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman, and Harry Potter, to mention just a few. Also set to attend are a plethora of names working behind the scenes in comic book illustration, film and television that will be sure to quell our curiosity to see how our favourites are so expertly put together.
The GiCC is not only about comic books; these days comic cons are a celebration of popular culture with many varied activities available. There is something for everyone to enjoy at this multigenre entertainment and comic convention. The event showcases science fiction/fantasy films, television programs, as well as a larger range of pop culture and entertainment elements across virtually all genres, including horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collecting limited edition pokemon cards, video games, webcomics, fantasy novels and, of course, comic books. Attendees can also join competitions, lectures and workshops, including costume play (cosplay), sword fighting, archery training and animation workshops. This year the GiCC will also introduce Hama workshops, Gymkana, quizzes and even more competitions such as Smonka and even a Kame-Hame-Ha Tournament – suitable for both kids and adults alike! The convention will also feature a large floorspace for exhibitors, including comic-book dealers, collectibles, merchants etc. Attendees will also be able to experience life Manga and other art creation.
The setting has also changed this year, with the convention to be held in the Nuffield pool complex. As if the promise of meeting our exciting guests was not enough, they will also be set against the backdrop of spectacular views of the bay! It is no wonder Sunbow Productions are quick to snap up the most sought-after talent and have received interest for tickets from conventions goers all over the world, who are just now hearing the rumblings of our very own Gibraltar International Comic Con. The introduction of VIP passes will also give attendees the opportunity to hop on a tour of the rock with their visiting heroes and sit down to have lunch with them afterwards.
I can confess to getting pretty nerdy about certain topics, and there is something heart-warming about being able to get together with a tribe of like-minded individuals who reach the same level of enthusiasm about anything on the pop culture spectrum. A convention is the perfect place to tear down social inhibitions and spark up conversations about every one of these; that episode from season 4 you couldn’t get out of your head? That intricate looking cosplay that looks like it must have taken months to create? Did that sequel really just disregard everything established in the original trilogy?! Just ask your fellow convention goer or guest, it is a wonderful atmosphere of debate, conversation and creativity.
In response to that initial question, Sunbow Productions believes that the best thing about a comic-convention is that the experience can really be anything you make of it. Given the amount of guests, genres and workshops that the team have brought together, there is sure to be something that will peak your interest. It doesn’t matter if you are a casual fan, an enthusiastic pop-culture connoisseur, learned cinephile or hardcore geek encyclopaedia, come and get your fill. Extend your knowledge of that favourite character, film or television show lore from primary sources that you just won’t find online or otherwise. Rest assured that you can let your nerd flag fly, shame-free, as one guest who will certainly not be in attendance is that bell-touting nun from King’s Landing.
BY CHRISTOPHER TAVARES
A word from Peter McKay – Liaison & Marketing Manager and one of the organisers of Gibraltar International Comic Con:
“Gibraltar International Comic Con (GiCC) has not only quintupled in size since 2017, but has contributed to the growth and collaboration of various other societies and groups in both Gibraltar and across the border.
The Gibraltar Comic & Anime Convention Society group on Facebook has also almost tripled in size since the introduction to GiCC, as people have come together to show their artwork in forms of cosplay and illustrations, as well sharing their experiences from the event.
GiCC has also inspired the creation of groups such as Cosplay Gibraltar and co-existing societies and events like the Gibraltar Body painting Society and the Gibraltar Tabletop Society. With local talent such as existing and start-up authors and illustrators, Gibraltar International Comic Con is becoming a hub for the sharing and exposure of creative minds across our talent-filled rock.
GiCC also provides a level playing field for exposure of talent of all ages as well as a place of learning and experience for those interested in various pop culture related subjects.
So if you are juggling with the idea of showing up, but not sure if it’s your thing, give it a go, you might find your calling somewhere among the weird and wonderful talent that is Comic Con!”
For more information visit gicc.gi.