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Gold Coast Superhero Weekend

Kate Veling | March 2020

Baddies beware! The Gold Coast Superhero Weekend is coming up and evil-doers are going to be seriously outnumbered by beloved icons of pop culture.

Now in its sixth year, the GC Superhero Weekend runs alongside Supanova Comic Con & Gaming at the Convention Centre on March 13th-15th – the two separate events complement each other and fans of comics, superheroes and fantasy characters get the best of both worlds.

One of the major draw cards for attendees is cosplay – a term coined as a combination of ‘costume’ and ‘play’. Dedicated fans get creative, and bring their favourite characters from films, books or video games to life with amazing costumes, often made by hand, dressing up to attend the event. It’s a form of artistic expression that empowers individuals to connect with the traits of the characters they embody.

Matthew Raphael is part of the Queensland Ghostbusters Franchise and will be walking with his fellow Ghostbusters in the Supanova Superhero parade – the main event of the weekend. He’s been participating since 2013 and has only ever heard glowing reviews from those attending.

“Families love watching the parade and children love getting to see their favourite pop culture characters walking the streets, in the flesh,” he says. “It’s a great way to bring the event outside of the confines of the convention so that more people can experience and enjoy it.”

Lou McGregor from Broadbeach Alliance says that the Superhero Weekend all started with a parade for the Comic Con fans. “Since there are people in these incredible costumes they put so much work into, we wanted to enhance that and create a space where they feel ‘normal’ walking around dressed as they are, as well as show off their costumes and enjoy each other’s efforts. We can help them embrace that – it creates such a great atmosphere. I love how it appeals to everyone, no matter their age.”

In 2019, figures of 41,200 people attended the entire weekend including the Supanova Comic Con and 9,000 people attended the actual parade itself.

All the events at the GC Superhero Weekend are free and family friendly and the program is packed with events, displays, parades and workshops for everyone to enjoy including;

For Matthew, the sense of community among the cosplay subculture is one of his favourite things about the event – people come from interstate and outside the country to take part, and there are lots of familiar faces. He also loves that it allows grown ups the chance to play.

“When I was a kid, I always thought adults were so old and boring,” he says. “Now, as an adult I think I’ve realised that most of us never fully grow up. We all have different passions that encourage the child within us. It just so happens that getting to wear a costume and dress up as your favourite hero or heroine for a weekend is one of the strongest expressions of that! I think for most adults, even if they don’t participate themselves, it’s impossible to not derive some joy out of seeing their childhood out on show.”

Matthew’s recommendation for newcomers to Gold Coat Superhero Weekend is to check out the program of events so they don’t miss out on anything. And says that cosplayers should definitely register for the parade. “It’s terribly fun and is a great way to showcase that costume you’ve worked so hard on.”

The event is one of Lou McGregor’s favourite weekends of the year. A cosplayer she spoke to one year gave her a beautiful perspective on the art of cosplay and why it ignites such passion is people.

“A couple of years ago I asked one of the guys on the ground in this amazing cosplay costume that he’d spent months and months creating why he loved it so much, why he did it. He said,

‘There’s so much bad stuff going on the world. Sometimes we don’t believe in ourselves and things can be really hard. It’s nice to have hope that we might be our own superheroes and also a wonderful reminder not to take life so seriously.’“

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