Oz Comic Con 2019 is happening in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend. It’s just like its sibling events that take place in San Diego and New York. It’s big. It’s noisy. It’s a vibrant celebration of everything from all corners of Pop Culture.
I came to the event wondering what would be on show from booth holders in the way of ALIEN goodness and sadly, walked away wishing there was more. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, there’s a lot of vibrant atmosphere, large crowds and people showing off their cosplay skills. All of it worth being immersed in.
As far as ALIEN goodies is concerned, there was a marked paucity of official product being promoted or sold. It wasn’t all bad, though. I did find an enormous 1:1 scale Big Chap statue. I think it may have been a Hollywood Collectibles Group item – I’m not 100% certain – everyone knows something different but I’ve seen this guy around before.
I did see a smattering of other items, too. A couple of 7 inch scale NECA ALIEN figures and one of their more recent 18 (22) inch figures. That’s really all I noticed. Well, can recall at the time of this writing anyway. ComicCon is big. Bigger than other conventions I’ve been to, so missing something was too easy amidst the swelling crowds of fans milling around the venue.
It did strike me as a bit odd there wasn’t more ALIEN content being promoted at the booths. I’m not surprised companies like Super7, NECA, Eaglemoss and, well, every other licence holding manufacturer doesn’t have a presence. This is Australia. It’s a long way from anywhere. What’s more, our population is relatively small, a little over 25 million people. Compare that figure to, say, California which has only recently passed the 40 million mark and I can easily appreciated why the market for ALIEN stuff just doesn’t have the appeal for these manufacturers.
That’s not to say it was a total disappointment. Sometimes such disappointment can be a blessing. I did encounter one booth manned by a pair of individuals selling metal art ‘Aliens’. You would have seen sculptures like these things before. Metal figures welded together comprised of bent screws, spark plugs bicycle chains and other scrap metal.
These metal art Aliens were in abundance in his booth. Not just one or two, but literally dozens of them. A lot. There were more Aliens in this one booth than throughout all the event combined. He had a good assortment, too. The shelves were filled with drone Aliens squatting on all fours and standing upright. There was also a good number of Queen Aliens as well. I noticed a fair number of Predators, too, which all suffered from noticeable low levels throughout the event.
I was impressed with his display and wanted to know more about his army of metallic monsters. Joel, his name is and he runs a studio called Room Number One and he came down from Sydney to Melbourne, carting all these fine improvised statuettes with him. He told me he had to leave his hero piece, a 1:1 scale Big Chap scrap metal Alien at home – the cost of bringing an eight tall metal statue to Melbourne was too prohibitive.
I asked him what his sales expectations were, how many did he believe he would sell at ComicCon. He told me, all of them. Joel also provided me with his contact details so if you do live in Australia and would like to purchase some of his handcrafted statues, I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.
It got me thinking. How is it possible the man could be so confident in such a positive outcome of selling all of his stock. He’d clearly done this before at other events and was well aware of how the event would pan out in terms of sales. I had to reason to doubt him. After all, I’d already walked around much of the event floor space and seen very little in the way of ALIEN merchandise. People love ALIEN stuff. This was about the only well stocked booth in this regard with any merchandise that could satisfy any demand. Maybe he was right.
I expect he will sell out of his spark plug drones and bent screw Queens. When a demand exists like this and it is not being fulfilled, someone will step in and reap the benefits. Joel is in an excellent position to do just that.
Of course there are other influences happening as well that dictate this lack of product here. Disney bought Twentieth Century Fox recently and there’s no public talk about anything ALIEN. Fox have made no announcements in this regard. The most recent movie, ALIEN Covenant brought in half the global takings of its predecessor, PROMETHEUS. There’s a tangible lull in interest on the part of the general public and it’s the product licence holders and fans providing content right now, filling in places where Disney and Fox are leaving vast gaps. It’s not enough to drive interest in the series to justify stocking shelves at a convention in Australia.
Of course there may be a simpler answer. Maybe there’s a good reason why official ALIEN product was scarce on the floor at Oz ComicCon 2019.
Maybe this fine individual simply blew them all out the airlock door.