12 May 2023

From small beginnings, Comic Gong grows into a monster

| Jen White
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Comic Gong is back to entertain fans of all ages. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Back in 2013, new words “twerk” and “selfie” were added to the dictionary, Orange is the New Black was a Netflix favourite and Candy Crush was the year’s most popular Facebook game.

It was also the year that Comic Gong kicked off in the Illawarra and, a decade later, it’s still the favourite time of year for those who love all things pop culture, comics, gaming and cosplay.

The first event at Corrimal Library ran for a few hours and featured trade tables, a few activities, artists and fans dressed as their favourite comic book heroes.

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The following year it moved into Wollongong and, apart from a COVID-enforced break, it has continued to grow in size, attractions and audiences.

Comic Gong has shape-shifted again this year due to construction works at the IPAC, with a smaller program of events but just as much entertainment. Tomorrow (Saturday 13 May) a free Family Cosplay Day will be held at Corrimal Library, featuring craft, face-painting, entertainment and cosplay competition for young fans.

For the big kids, an over 18s Cosplay Ball will be held at Wollongong Town Hall on Friday 19 May.

Figtree artist Marcelo Baez has been on the Comic Gong journey since the beginning and is responsible for the amazing poster art for each event.

Comic Gong

Marcelo Baez is the creative genius behind Comic Gong’s posters. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

“I do all types of shows like Oz Comic-con and Supernova, but I swear Comic Gong is the most fun,” he said. “Considering it’s only a day, I’m worn out like I’ve done two days! The energy is so good.

“I’m grateful that it’s grown because this is my hometown and it’s the best.”

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Marcelo has an impressive list of credits, including illustrating for the likes of Marvel, Time Magazine and National Geographic.

His Comic Gong posters chart the adventures of a young girl, Astrid, and her ape friend, Astro, as they battle intergalactic monsters. His 2023 creation depicts Astrid and Astro sitting back-to-back, a nod to the first edition but with their roles now reversed.

“I really love doing this project. It’s one of the most fun jobs and I have plenty more ideas for Astrid and Astro,” he said.

Comic Gong

Fans are encouraged to dress up for the Cosplay Ball. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

For more information and bookings for the Family Cosplay Day, visit Comic Gong. The Cosplay Ball is for over 18s, and kicks off at 7 pm on Friday 19 May. Tickets are $35 and are available at Wollongong Town Hall.

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