HOLY dress-ups, Batman! Adelaide has been chosen to host the Down Under debut of Oz Comic-Con next year.
The internationally recognised comic-book convention is expected to draw about 10,000 people, with potential to grow beyond 20,000 in future years.
Organisers expect many of these people to come dressed up as their favourite characters, such as The Phantom, Superman or Wonder Woman. Tourism Minister Gail Gago said original Comic-Con event, in San Diego, was the biggest convention of any type in the US and the fourth largest of its kind in the world.
"The San Diego convention started with 300 people in 1970 and last year attendance exceeded 130,000," Ms Gago said.
"This is a good example of South Australia tapping into a niche market to deliver broad economic benefits."
Oz Comic-Con will be held on Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1, in the Goyder Pavilion at the Adelaide Showgrounds. The aim is to make it an annual event.
Organisers predict more than 100 exhibitors will attend from interstate.
More than 1000 fans will travel here from overseas and interstate, combining with local visitors to deliver a tourism bonanza estimated at more than $2 million.
Oz Comic-Con Adelaide will feature film and TV stars such as Jewel Staite (Firefly, Serenity, Stargate Atlantis), Teryl Rothery (Stargate SGI), Nicola Scott (Teen Titans, Birds of Prey, JSA, Secret Six) and Stewart McKenny (Super Friends, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures), with more expected to be announced.
Aspiring South Australian comic creators will be able to submit their work for professional review. Peter Spandrio of Adelaide Comics Centre in Rundle Mall predicted the convention would be a great success. He co-owns the comic-book store with Michael Baulderstone, who made headlines last year when - while dressed as Spider-Man - foiled a would-be thief in the shop, while other people dressed as Jedi Knights, the Flash and other superheroes looked on during the store's annual free comic-book dress-up day.
"This will be absolutely great for Adelaide," Mr Spandrio said.
"There is huge interest in this sort of thing and people get into the spirit of it by dressing up just like they do for our free comic-book day."