FanCon 2016 afterglow

Hey everyone!

We’ve been scrambling to catch up with admin and freelance work while fighting off con crud, so this post is a bit overdue.

But here we are!

The TL;DR version: FanCon 2016 was really, really good, and we plan on attending future ones! We’re also very proud of Readers Den and the local comics community.



Behold! Our little booth… with the last ever appearance of the Wedding Fund jar! It had a good run.


The longer version:

The inaugural FanCon was really good. The organisers mentioned beforehand that they were expecting around 3000 people, but just over 4000 people ended up attending. Although these numbers might not seem that impressive when compared to overseas cons – trust me when I say that this is a healthy amount for South Africa. This is the first successful official comic con we’ve ever had as far as I am aware. Other well-attended nerdy events here are mainly generalised geek cons, focusing mostly on video games, electronics, audiovisual entertainment and other multimedia related things. FanCon is 100% focused on comics and although there is a gaming and media element, it is by far outweighed by comics culture.

What we really loved was the strong focus on local IP and self published works. Local creators have long been encouraged by Readers Den to sell their own art and publications, and the market response to this has been great. In turn, we are seeing a rise in the quality as well as the quantity of local IP/publication. It’s very validating to have someone invest their money in your work. Any content creator will be able to tell you as much. It’s one thing to have tons of people tell you they like your work, and another thing entirely to have the same amount of people do the talking with their wallets! It’s a great feeling.

We saw a lot of new faces at the show, and there was a healthy amount of new stuff being launched. We were able to get the new issues of Sector and grabbed the first instalment in Milo Wildcat and Rowan Govender‘s new Kowa Kawaii series. We didn’t manage to buy a whole lot of stuff as we were trying to save money, and our booth was swamped with people most of the time, which was great, except when we needed to pee or eat! There was so much stuff we wanted. Fortunately/unfortunately a lot of it sold out before we even got to it, which is great for the vendors, and we are very proud of/happy for them! 😀 We also got a FanCon mug because there’s no way we were going to NOT get some inaugural FanCon merch. We couldn’t afford to buy a shirt each so we decided to get a mug and take turns using it. (Spoiler: I take a lot more turns than Ben because it stays here at home when he goes to work. hue hue hue)


Heyyy buddy! Let's Earl Grey it up in here!

Heyyy buddy! Let’s Earl Grey it up in here!


The cosplay was also amazing – we saw a whole lot of insanely good cosplays by both newbies and veterans alike. We saw a Dipper and Mabel, who were so perfect because they were twins in real life too! We also saw a few Undertale cosplays, a really great Bravestar, a tiny adorable Rey who was really into her character… the list goes on! We tried to get pics but honestly there was so little time to just walk around and document. Plus I was trying to save my phone battery for our wireless card reader. We’ve got links to loads of photo albums at the end of this post. Go check those out.


How awesome is this?!

How awesome is this kiddo?!


Mabel and Dipper cosplayed actual twins! One of the highlights of the day!

Mabel and Dipper cosplayed actual twins! One of the highlights of the day!


We also heard that the international guests had a positive experience with their panels, signings, etc. and will be vouching for the show should others ask them about it. This is excellent news as guest speakers and interesting panels are such an integral part of what makes cons work. We have our own wishlist of who we’d love to have over but since Readers Den funds all guests out of their own pocket, we’ll be patient and hope for the best. It was also really lovely to finally meet Jason Masters in person! We’ve been chatting on twitter for a long time and he is just a great human. You can follow him on Twitter here and on tumblr here.  I felt like a dingus though because I said hi to him not knowing it was him. Only later on did I click that the familiar looking bearded guy I greeted earlier at the door was actually Jason. Fail.


Sneaky shot of Sean Izaakse and Jason Masters being interviewed... which earned me a glare from the crew. Sorry crew!

I snuck a shot of Sean Izaakse and Jason Masters being interviewed… which earned me a glare from the crew. Sorry crew!


Of course, the con was not without hiccups. The huge attendance was a pleasant surprise with a few unpleasant side effects. We were very fortunate with weather, it was sunny but cool and pleasant on the first day, because otherwise I doubt people would have waited out the 45mins-2hr INSANE MOFO OF A QUEUE that had formed… seriously, it stretched for about a block! I think even Readers Den were surprised at the turnout. There was some confusion in the queue too – people who already had tickets were queueing along with people who wanted to buy tickets at the door. This resulted in said insane mofo queue, and at one point I think they ran out of arm bands and then the queue was told they ran out of tickets, and a whole bunch of people just ended up leaving. The problem was resolved later and the next day, however, as they set up marshals to deal with the ticket confusion and queues. I chatted with one of the organisers, and he mentioned that they will definitely be better prepared for the huge influx of people next time. After all is said and done, we were all extremely pleased that there were so many people. It’s a sign of a healthy local industry, and a community excited about where things are headed. Most of all, they prove it by financially supporting the event and vendors.



Seriously. This queue was nuts. I took these shots panning left from the entrance. The queue extended around that building, and turned a corner and continued along the street.


Our profit margin wasn’t huge, but it was decent, and the fact that we had one at all was great. Our expenses for this con were quite high as we had to print Chapter 5, order mugs, do poster prints, as well as purchase a wireless card reader to take card payments. We were really nervous about that purchase, because it was a lot of money to put into something which we weren’t sure would pay for itself. We ended up just pinching our eyes shut and going through with it. And we are so glad that we did! The card reader was responsible for about a third of all our takings. We wrote a little info thing about the reader at the bottom of this post. You can check it out down below.



Thank you, you beautiful little gadget!


We really needed this show to work in our favour because we have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of deposits due this month for the wedding. We essentially put a big chunk of our wedding deposit money into FanCon, because of our faith in Readers Den and our experiences with their extreme competency in the past. It was like 80% faith and 20% blind hope that the crowd would not disappoint. And both delivered! We are so grateful to everyone involved. Really we are. You are all wonderful.

We do have a bunch of stock left, including lots of Chapter 5, posters, and a very limited number of mugs. You will be able to purchase these from Indiecomics soon. We are delivering stock to them tomorrow so it should become available within the next few days. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter account for announcements.

And now, links!

Photo albums: Official Readers Den/FanCon albums can be found on their Facebook page.

Videos: Grant Hinds did two videos; and we quite liked this one from Flip Side Vlog.

And More: Zombiegamer did quite a thorough job of rounding up all the articles, videos and  photos of FanCon. You can check all that out here. You just have to scroll down a little bit until you get to the FanCon section.

That’s all from us about FanCon 2016. We have some more stuff to talk about, but we’ll make a separate blog post for that as this one is already super long!

Once again, a huge thank you to all involved! FanCon was awesome, and so are you.


Danelle & Ben

CARD READER INFO: To fellow vendors: It’s called a Yoco and we cannot recommend it enough. It’s a once-off purchase, no rental fees. The app is straightforward and quick and easy to use. The rates are good at only 3.5% per transaction or R3.50 for transactions under R100 (This makes it not ideal for smaller amounts, so we might refuse to swipe for purchases under R50 from now on). You only need a phone with Android, or an iPhone (we use the Android version), bluetooth and wireless internet access. We used 3G because there was no WiFi at the venue. If you want to get one, you can use our referral link! It will get us a discount on transaction fees. To check Yoco out, click here! The only thing we were unprepared for is that if you leave the bluetooth on your phone on, it drains your battery like crazy. We ended up having to borrow The Modern Dragon‘s mobile power bank on Saturday. They were lifesavers. Thank you Lynton and Lizelle!)

Come see us at FanCon 2016! Also please donate!

FanCon 2016 is a go!

Hey guys!

As you may have seen on our social media, we will be at FanCon 2016 this weekend! The hype is real and we are amped.

FanCon evolved from the popular Free Comic Book Day event, hosted in Cape Town by Readers Den. Readers Den are good people. They’ve been working tirelessly for years to grow the South African comic culture, and to grow the market for South African comics. They’ve put in an enormous amount of resources and hours to make this event happen and we are so proud to be part of what is essentially South Africa’s first proper comic con. Good job guys! We’re behind you all the way.

FanCon 2016 will be held at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront. It will run from Saturday the 7th to Sunday the 8th. Doors open to the public at 10am on both days, and close at 7pm on Saturday, and 6pm on Sunday.

Here are the price deets:

Day pass – R100  per day

Weekend 2 day pass – R160

Children 12 years and under FREE with an accompanying paying adult.

Tickets are available through Computicket.

Weekend tickets will only be available through Computicket until Friday 6 May. Thereafter one day tickets will be available at the door each day.

More detailed ticket info is available on the official FanCon website.

We will be at stand A25 (click the thumbnail for full size version, click here to see the map and full listings on the FanCon website):

FanCon 2016 Floorplan

What you can expect from us:

We still have limited stock of Chapters 1-4 of Cottonstar. Grab those early on because we get the feeling we’re going to run out. No reprints of those will be made again unless we get a bulk order of 100+. We want to focus our finances on putting together a big run of Volume 1 of Cottonstar, which will be a collection of Chapters 1-5, plus some extra content! More on that at a later stage.

Next, Chapter 5 is complete and will be available for purchase! You still have two more pages to go before you get to see the end, but if you come to FanCon this weekend, you can see the epilogue plus new cover a week early! Plus you get a physical comic to hold in your very hands, wowee! 😀

Did someone say mugs? We got mugs! Here they are:



We have very limited stock of these for FanCon, but if they do run out, we will take orders for another run. We will also stock them online at Indiecomics once FanCon is over!

We will also have the usual selection of posters, sketch edition comics, buttons, stickers, magnets and more. We also have special discounts on bundles and sets of items.

Lastly, some awesome news: We now have card facilities! We’ve invested in a Yoco wireless card reader, and can now accept paymenst via Visa and Mastercard. We also still have Snapscan if you prefer using that. Bring cash in any case though, because many of the other stands don’t have card facilities.

The hashtag people will be using to post pics and things is #FanCon2016. Give that a follow if you are keen on seeing live tweets and instagram pics!

That’s about it for now! See you guys there! 😀


Danelle & Ben

Come see us at FanCon 2016! Also please donate!

Life update!

Hey everyone!

We hope you’re doing well. The year is really flying by. For us this is in no small part because we are planning our wedding… Everything suddenly seems terrifyingly close, with terrifyingly large amounts yet to be arranged… not to mention paid. *sweats* >_>’

BUT enough about that (for now).

We have a couple of things to touch on. Firstly, the Animation Festival artists alley was really small and not very well attended, so we did not really make a lot of money. I was sick for most of it as well so Ben had to run the booth alone (sorry Ben!). As a result we didn’t really end up taking photos, sorry. 🙁 Regardless, it was the first of its kind for Animation Fest, and we’re looking forward to seeing it grow and will likely remain involved in future events. We have high hopes for its future development.

Secondly, we know we’ve been skipping updates again. This is due to several things, including but not limited to Ben’s wisdom tooth surgery. He’s going in for another round later this month to do the other side, but that will hopefully be the last of it and he can go back to eating whatever he likes soon. We also had some freelance things to attend to, and I have been adjusting to new medication, and the doctor found a lump in my breast for which I had to get ultrasound (I went for that on Monday and am very relieved to report that it is nothing serious!). So my headspace at the moment has been oscillating between “no,” “ugh” and “make it stop.” I’m sure things will normalise soon but at the moment things are a little bumpy. People have mostly been very understanding at least, so thank you for that! It really is appreciated!

Thirdly, I am featured in Marie Claire SA this month! The feature is called “The New Guard” and is all about women shaking up the status quo in their respective fields. They reached out to me because of my involvement in Cottonstar and the South African indie comics scene. I still can’t quite believe that they included me along with such prominent SA women. I’m really honoured and extremely flattered. Thank you to Sarah Koopman for involving me in this! Sadly the magazine is not available for purchase overseas, but I did scan the pages and put them up on my facebook art page. You can check it out here.


Aww, baby’s first magazine feature! ^3^

Fourthly… FANCON. Guys, we are so excited. Things are coming together. There is now an official facebook event page and tickets are available via Computicket. Also remember that you can follow them on twitter! We RT things from them on our own twitter too. If you’re not following us yet, why not?? We aim to have Chapter 5 done before FanCon so that we can sell it there. This will mean some knuckling down and late nights, but we are looking forward to seeing it in print! We also have the next cover artist lined up and we are SO EXCITED. We can’t wait to show you. But that will only happen after FanCon… unless you are AT FanCon, then you can get a sneak peek. >:)

Lastly, Ben has written quite a nifty blog post for Indie Comics SA about the process that goes into creating our comic. You can check that out here!

That’s about it from us for now. Until next time!


Ben & Danelle

Cottonstar on Patreon

Cape Town International Animation Festival

Hey everyone! Short notice, but time has seriously crept up on us with this one. We will be at the Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF) starting tomorrow! It runs from Friday to Sunday and we will be there selling mostly prints and other merch, as we are saving our comic stock for Fancon (We can’t afford to reprint, unfortunately).

You can go to the site ( ) for more info, or join the Facebook event!

The Artist Alley is free to attend, unlike the ticketed events for the rest of the weekend (though those are worth checking out, too). There will be food and drinks available to buy, and it will run from 15h-20h on Friday, 09h-19h on Saturday, and 09h-16:30 on Sunday.

Here is the floor plan (click to enlarge):


Ben will have four new prints on sale, but we won’t have a lot of comics as we are saving them for Fancon.

Of course, this means a skipped page. Sorry all!

We’ll report back after the event with some photos and a roundup.


Ben & Danelle

Cottonstar on Patreon

December update schedule

Hi all!

This is just a note to tell you that we are taking a break from the comic until the 8th of January.

Unfortunately Ben’s dayjob contract was cut short by three months, so we are scrambling to earn money. Any freelancer can tell you that December is a really difficult month for work – no one is hiring, and projects are all being wrapped up for the year. Other than that we have a lot of family commitments and admin to sort out, and after UCON we are rather burnt out. My carpal tunnel is still causing trouble, so I can’t take any commissions. Ben has been working really hard to keep us afloat. He is finishing up a freelance project and then we need to focus on other things for a while.

We still have plenty of Inktober pieces for sale, which you can see here and here. If you want to support the comic, you can contribute via Patreon here. Or if you just want to leave us a tip, we have a tip jar here! You can also buy our comics from Indiecomics.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who has been donating and buying art from us. You are all amazing and we couldn’t keep doing what we do without your help.

See you guys next year!

Much love

Ben & Danelle


Cottonstar on Patreon

UCON 2015: done and dusted!

UCON 2015 has come and gone! Here are our impressions trading at the show for the first time:

The event was held in December this year, at the start of our long, hot summer. The hall was sweltering! According to the weather forecast, outside temperatures ranged into the 30s ºC, with all of us inside a hall with very little ventilation, no aircon, and tons of skylights. The result was akin to sitting inside a hothouse. A few of our fellow traders foresaw this, and requested plug points to plug in their electric fans. We really wish we’d done that, because the heat was unbearable! There was a stand selling fans, and I am pretty sure they sold out on the first day.


Milo Wildcat

Our friend Milo was smart enough to bring her own fan!

Heat aside, we were very pleased with how our new display and pricing turned out. It looked great! Could do with some more streamlining though, but that can be refined over time. We were lucky to have a good spot on the end of one of the rows, which allowed us to make full use of our second table. We could prop up our new display grid there to get some height. We were very happy with the results.


Display at UCON

Our rollup banner and display grid looked really nice together!


Display at UCON

We made new price tags attached to tiny clothespins. It worked really well!


Display at UCON

Our rotating original art stand was eye catching and practical.


Display at UCON

Our sticker stand is a rotating jewellery display, and the perspex container is from a shopfitting place.


Sales wise, unfortunately we didn’t make any money. We barely broke even on printing, but considering what we spent on new display things, we actually ran at a loss. However, the display stuff was a good business investment for us, so hopefully we’ll make that back at the next show.

We think the heat drove a lot of customers away. When you’re baking in your own skin, the last thing you want to do is stand in a crowd and deliberate over purchases. You want to get out as soon as you can, and sadly we saw a lot of that happening. The heat also sapped our energy and made it difficult to be upbeat when customers came by. It was also a quiet time of year, with most international students already gone home, and others on vacation. The organisers seem to agree with us, and have mentioned their intentions to move UCON to a more suitable time of year.

But, all that aside, UCON was a good learning experience. We got to test out new display items and layouts, and tested the market on some new products. Our best selling items by far were the posters. There are still plenty left, by the way! We will be taking orders online now. They’re not listed on Indiecomics, but you can message us to order. They are $10 excluding shipping. No promises to deliver on time for Christmas though, the postal system is already overstuffed by this time of year.

Despite the heat, there were some really good cosplays! We felt extremely sorry for the ones in full suits and/or covered in paint, but they are champs for sticking it out. Hopefully none of them got heatstroke.

Ok, enough talk, here are some more photos!


Valentina Phillips

Valentina Phillips aka Veelocity Art had some amazing work on dispaly. We own one of her Geralt of Rivia prints!


Valentina Phillips

Valentina also had the most beautiful originals at a complete steal. We would have bought them all if we could.



We just loved these cute reindeer cards by Lorraine Alvarez Posen.


So cute

Lorraine also had these adorable chameleon magnets which ended up being our sole purchase from UCON!


Fridge chaos

Here they are, living on our chaotic fridge!


Missy Mad Hatter

Our lovely neighbour from EGE, Juley, was also at UCON!


Faun Cosplay

This faun cosplay was impressive but looked a bit difficult to walk in!


Oh hai Ben!

A high angle shot of our stand!


That’s it from us about UCON 2015!

Have a great December, all.


Ben & Danelle

Cottonstar on Patreon

UCON 2015

Cottonstar will be at UCON 2015! :3

Firstly, an important note about – the shop will not be closed for December, as previously stated! However, the shipping deadline for Christmas is over.  Apologies if you were hoping to order something in time for Christmas! Thank you for your understanding, and a special thank you to those who have been buying our stuff from the site. You guys are great! 🙂

Yes, it’s almost time for UCON! If you are in Cape Town on the 5th and 6th of December, make your way to the UCT Sport Centre to get in on the action. Ticket prices are R35 (1 day) and R55 (2 days) for students, and R55 (1 day) and R80 (2 days) for non-students. If you want to skip the queues over the weekend, members of the Genshiken team will be at UCT Sport Centre between 1pm-5pm on Friday the 4th to presell tickets.

We will be here:

UCON floor plan

We have never been involved with UCON as merchants. Since its inception in 2013, UCON has seen exponential growth, which has convinced us to give it a chance this year! Of course, since it is not strictly a comics event, we have a whole lot of other merchandise that we will be selling alongside Cottonstar. Some of it is merchandise we’ve had for a while, but much of it is brand new. Here are some things you can expect:

Original art in a range of sizes

This includes a range of work by myself and Ben, everything from sketches to paintings, and a large chunk of our Inktober work, too!


Our usual stock of A3 prints, as well as two new designs!

We can only show you one of the new designs because we are still working on the others, but trust us, they’re going to be great! Other prints that will be on sale include: The Great Wave off Cape Town, Chat Noah, Reka With a Pearl Earring, Cottonstarry Night, Punk Rock Pokémon (as featured on Pixalry), SMB vs The World, Mulleted Fury, The Armoury and the Chapter 2 cover, done by Lynton Levengood from The Modern Dragon. One of our brand new prints will be… Future Finn!



Stickers, including a few best sellers and several all-new designs!

We’re pretty excited about these! We’ve revamped our collection, taking out some of the designs that were less popular, and adding a bunch of cool new ones! The sphynx kitties are now available in: Yellow/pink, Blue, Dark, Turquoise, Calico and Galaxy! We have three new winged weenie designs and we have made our cast portraits into stickers. Lastly, we now have stickers of the Cottonstar logo! All stickers are printed digitally on vinyl, and are UV coated so you can use them outdoors. That makes them perfect for your car!

Our usual buttons & magnets

We still have plenty of Party Starter and Keep Calm and Let Me Cook magnets left!


Hand-made greeting cards

I’ve had these cute little cards for quite a while! I made them for a craft market a few years back and never got around to selling the remaining stock, so it went into storage. They will be for sale once more at UCON, at a special discount! They are available in an assortment of designs and are about 74 x 105 mm in size.


All stock left over from UCON will be made available for purchase online.

What else can you expect from the expo? Besides lots of vendors with interesting wares, there will also be a Maid Café, cosplay contests, belly dancing and martial arts demonstrations, raffles, and lots more. Our friends Readers Den will also be there. Many of the vendors will have Snapscan available, but there will be no card facilities, so be sure to bring lots of cash. There are ATMs from all major banks on campus, too.

You can find a complete list of vendors and activities/contests on the UCON Facebook event page. You can also follow the UCON on twitter.

We hope to see you there! Swing by, support local creators, buy original creations, nerd out, stay hydrated, have fun!


Danelle & Ben

Cottonstar on Patreon

The birth of Cottonstar

This is just a quick note to let you guys know that we’ve recently written a blog post for (You know, the place where you can now buy our comics and prints *ahem* *ahem*) about the story of how Cottonstar came about! We’ve touched on it before in some of our older blog posts, but this time it’s a more thorough explanation. Read it here!


Cottonstar on Patreon

Exciting news: Our comics and prints are now for sale online!


Deon de Lange  is spearheading something really exciting, that Ben and I are really happy to be a part of! Finally we have a central place to sell/distribute curated, self-published content from! Not only books, but also limited edition art prints, original art and posters.

This is great news for our overseas readers, too! At last you can order comics and prints from us without worrying about emailing first, and all that currency conversion and scaling shipping pricing stuff.

Hopefully this will grow into something far bigger. We will be focusing on quality vs. quantity for now and see how it goes.

Check it out, share it, hype!

Cottonstar on Patreon

Cottonstar at Open Book Comics Fest 2015

Open Book Comics Fest is upon us yet again!

We know we’ve been rather quiet lately. That’s largely because Ben has started a new job working longer hours, and we have both been working hard to get things organised for our wedding. I did not realise that we would have practically no weekends off until this wedding thing is done and dusted. I guess it makes sense but I never considered that this might happen!

So, onto business:

Cottonstar will be at Open Book Comics Fest again this year. If you don’t know what that is: Open Book Comics Fest forms of the Open Book Festival, which is a Cape Town based literary festival which is held each year in September. You check out our posts from previous years here, here and here.

We don’t have anything new printed for this event, unfortunately – but we still have stock of Chapter 1-4, as well as posters, magnets, buttons and stickers. We will also be selling a few original art pieces, and a little birdie told me that Ben might be taking one or two on-the-spot commissions.

I will also be on a panel discussion chaired by Mandy J Watson, along with Kay Carmichael and Tauriq Moosa, discussing gender and race in comics. It’s from 12pm-1pm on Sunday the 13th of September, at the District Six Homecoming Centre workshop. Entrance is free, but you need to RSVP on the Open Book Fest website here.

If you’re planning to come along, here’s a map of who will be stationed where:


As you can see, this year there will be a kid-friendly zone! Both of us have contributed art to be used as colouring pictures for the kidlets (or actually just anyone who feels like colouring them). Look out for Ben’s Brolloks & Bittergal, and my Jakkals en Wolf pictures. They’ll be floating around there.

See you guys at Comics Fest!


Danelle & Ben

Cottonstar on Patreon