Comic-Cons, conventions for fans of comic book culture, have been an international phenomenon for many years. This weekend the first ever Czech Comic-Con will take place in Prague, with organisers promising a number of movie and TV stars – and expecting over 20,000 visitors.
The first Comic-Con took place half a century ago in San Diego. Since then the conventions have spread around the globe and become an international pop culture phenomenon, gaining greater traction as comic culture has moved ever more firmly into the mainstream.
Pavel Renčín is co-founder of Prague Comic-Con, and a leading domestic fantasy author himself. He outlines the preparations for the inaugural Czech edition.
“Each Comic-Con is unique – they’re different in every country. We visited other ones, such as in Berlin or Vienna, and the focus there was on exhibiting, with lots of stands with interesting articles. But cons in the Czech Republic have always been more focused on the programme for fans, with talks and meetings with stars, etc. And we’ve tried to combine both of those approaches.”
The chance for fans to interact with the stars of their favourite movies and TV shows, as well as comics creators, is a major draw at Comic-Cons – and the Prague extravaganza will be no different in this regard.
“One of the biggest stars will be Ron Perlman, the American actor, who has been in Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim. We also have Brandon Routh, who played Superman in Superman Returns. Very well known in the Czech Republic is Danny John-Jules, who plays Cat in Red Dwarf. From Game of Thrones we will have, for instance, Ian McElhinney. In total we have 15 international screen guests. But we also have loads of comics writers and artists, novelists and so on.”
Cosplay (dressing up as characters) is a major element of Comic-Cons. However, it is hard to say in advance how many visitors will turn out in costumes in Prague, says Pavel Renčín.
“Cosplay has a lot of fans here and is a fast developing phenomenon. We’re curious how many will come to Comic-Con in cosplay, because you can see in Western states how fast it’s growing – a considerable number of visitors there are dressed up. But maybe as it’s our first year it could be a kind of ‘testing of the water’ for many fans here and it’ll be a stronger phenomenon in future editions.”
The inaugural Prague Comic-Con gets underway at the city’s O2 Universum on Friday and continues until Sunday evening.
The organising team say they expect up to 25,000 sci-fi, fantasy and horror fans to attend.
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