No matter who you are or what part of pop culture you're into, Supanova celebrated it all

Community is at Supanova's core, and it's impossible not to feel that surge of positivity once you stepped through the gates of the Melbourne Showgrounds. A bustling fellowship of the eager and exhilarated awaited you, leaving snippets of excited conversation in their wake as both friends and the newly-acquainted swarmed from venue to venue.
A colourful cavalcade of costumed aficionados mingled with each other, bringing to life a thousand imaginative worlds and gloriously shuffling them together. From fantasy to sci-fi, anime to comic book, there was not one crevice of the beloved uncovered by the dedicated cosplayers (personal highlights included The Crow, Jasper from Steven Universe, a super-buff Master Roshi from Dragon Ball Z and an ecstatic kid as Eleven from Stranger Things – complete with a ‘permanently-bleeding’ nose). The beautiful thing about the display wasn't in recognising or even enjoying the franchises they drew from, but simply in admiring the sheer effort and time taken to make such elaborate designs a reality. Cosplayers live and breathe for these brief moments a year, and it's nothing short of impressive.
The first thing that strikes you about Supanova is the sheer scale of the event. Although initially large when it began, the years have only accumulated enthusiastic punters, seeing pop culture goodness now expand into every spare sliver and crevice of the Showgrounds. The Main Exhibition Hall exploded with activity. Stallholders shared stories and sold an array of sweet loot, including comics, figurines, merchandise, classic video games and swordcraft. The contrast of a gigantic playing arena for card game Magic: The Gathering looming side-by-side next to a thundering wrestling ring truly represented the diversity of interests at play. There we video game tournaments, live Twitch streaming and you could even find the likes of John Jarratt casually hanging out at a booth, chatting and signing autographs for beaming fans.
On the other end of this galaxy – with a thick sandwich of anime theatres and panel halls between – sat a stadium packed to the brim with artists and special guests. Aspiring and established alike shared the joy for their craft, with a palpable energy. More creatives than ever before lined the massive halls with tapestries of paintings, prints, accessories and badges. Years of enthusiasm and inspiration generated further enthusiasm and inspiration, it would seem. Fans formed massive queues in the hundreds to get an autograph or photo with some of their favourite actors or creators. In the far corner, hordes of Star Wars devotees tried their hand at Jedi Combat in a mesmerising ballet of whirring lightsabers.
As the evening beckoned closer, I was lucky enough to chat with the truly talented and genuine voice actor Nolan North (whose work in the video game industry, including Nathan Drake from Uncharted, is legendary). Swept up in the whirlwind of the day's events, I asked him his thoughts on what Supanova's appeal was.
"Any time you get to meet up-close and personal people who you watch in a show, or movie, or something, it's pretty cool," North said. "It doesn't happen all the time. For me personally, especially with the people in gaming, they get to meet the person who's done the voice or the motion capture that they are the character of. Now, I do those things, but they're the player. They're the person with the controller. I play Nathan Drake, but you are Nathan Drake. You are Desmond Miles."
His understanding of the connection between fan and creator summarised the day perfectly – that no matter who you are, or what you're into, you are part of an amazing, imaginative world. It wass good to celebrate that.
Words by Jacob Colliver
Image by Anna Madden