Joanna Davies previews a comic book expo brought about by a growing interest in manga art.
Books and DVDs line the shelves of the Graphic Novel Cafe. Bright posters of different manga characters are pinned on the walls, and cabinets are filled with different collectibles, from giant Transformer action figures to statuettes of lesser-known names.
It is in this cafe where manga (Japanese-style comic) artists come to draw and grab a coffee. And it's where Jeremiah Wayne has helped design the artwork for Overload, a New Zealand comic and manga convention.
"I used to draw just for fun and I exhibited my work at the festival in 2008," Jeremiah says. "I decided that I wanted to do this for work, too."
His detailed digital art is the basis for the festival's promotional material and website.
Jeremiah studied character animation and is working on a fine arts degree. He says the festival is the place for upcoming artists to show work and meet new people.
"It was fun to get to know people who share the same interests. And it's great when people buy your art - it does make you feel good as an artist."
This year's festival will run over two days instead of just one. Organiser Seong Oh says this is because of growing interest.
"We've broadened the programme to include Western comic-book styles as well as manga, which is Japanese, because we want to grow a community for artists here," he says. "At our first festival in 2006 we had 150 people, but last year 1000 people came. This year we're expecting about 2500 over the two days."
As well as the art exhibition, there will be panel discussions about comics and animation in New Zealand, and a cosplay competition, where participants make costumes of favourite comic book characters.
There will also be digital and traditional art competitions and live drawing.
Seong he started the convention because he wanted to give something back to the artists who visit his cafe.
"I make a living out of manga and a lot of the people who come to the cafe are students who are amateur illustrators, and they have been very good to me.
"I wanted to give them an opportunity to have their work seen."
Overload: New Zealand Comic and Manga Convention
July 23-24, Regatta Rooms, Hotel Pullman, corner Princes St and Waterloo Quadrant. Entry is$5. For a schedule of events visit www.overload.co.nz