I used to be an avid otaku in school, using the world of animé and manga to inspire my amateur drawings, paintings, even school assignments for professors who allowed students to inject a bit of creativity in their work.
That I was the only one in the family obsessing about manga comics and popular Japanese animated TV series at the time, including “Rurouni Kenshin” (or “Samurai X”), “Sailor Moon,” “Ranma ½,” “Tosho Daimos,” “Dragon Ball Z,” “Fushigi Yûgi,” exposed me to ridicule by those who thought I had unhealthy interests.
It didn’t help that collecting the books and merchandise required funds, which I saved from my weekly allowance, but people didn’t know that, so they were quick to assume I was a brat who kept asking her mom for money to buy “useless stuff.”
They probably didn’t know either that my dad, who passed away when I was 11, had been the first “artist” to influence and inspire me. He was an amateur, too, but one who knew how to use even the most basic or unsophisticated tools—kids’ crayons, colored pencils, Mongol pencils—well.
I can only imagine now what he could create with the fancy pens and drawing implements that were available at AsiaPOP Comicon.
He helped me with homework that required scale and a big dose of creativity. I still have the solar system diagram he made on a wide illustration board for my science class, the planets now withered but the strokes, the symmetry as well as the coloration clearly made by a deft hand.
If he were alive today, I’m sure he would’ve enjoyed going to the AsiaPOP Comicon with me. Dad would have been very impressed by the work of professional artists and illustrators, not to mention how they have changed the world of comics and animation.
He was laking probinsyano and conservative, so there might be some culture shock as regards mecha (robot) animé and the skimpily clad cosplayers.
I’m glad for the children whose parents went or tagged along with them to the four-day event, held in the country for the first time last weekend at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
I loved seeing the stage parents help their cosplayer kids lug around bits and pieces of costume and prop. I couldn’t stop browsing through social media posts of friends and their kids in photo-ops with Comicon celebrities and special guests. I enjoyed hearing parents reminisce about the classics, like their experience of the “Star Wars” fever when they were younger, but also rave about the latest pop culture phenomena, such as “The Walking Dead” and new film instalments of Marvel’s Avengers.
In one weekend, AsiaPOP Comicon provided a venue for the family, proving that the gap in terms of age and tastes isn’t so big—there’s always room for interaction. Parents engaged in activities and learned about the things their kids enjoyed, and vice versa.
Here’s a rundown of our favorite AsiaPOP Comicon family-friendly activities:
Meeting industry insiders. Yes, there’s a career to be made in the Comicon world. Parents and their children got to attend panel Q&A events and meet of some of the industry’s players and game-changers. There were international and local comic book writers, artists and editors, as well as sculptors and mixed-media artists who create scaled-down heroes and creatures for fans to collect.
Still not convinced your kids can make it in the biz? Well, members of Band of Doodlers from Singapore and the Philippines were around to show that one can have a profitable dayjob while using a creative hobby to de-stress plus make a little money on the side. At AsiaPOP Comicon, their “doodling gig” was to draw on a pair of Mini Coopers—with permission from Mini Cooper execs, of course!
Photo opportunities. Everywhere you turn, there were photo opportunities to be had. There were exhibits of collectibles in varying scale, monster replicas, superhero statues and a number of their life-size “chibi” (cute and small or miniature) versions.
Panel interviews, signing events and photo opportunities were held with celebrities like Paul Bettany, who plays The Vision in Marvel’s Avengers film franchise; Nathalie Emmanuel, aka Missandei in hit HBO series “Game of Thrones”; Colton Haynes, the TV series incarnation of DC Comics’ Roy Harper; and Jeremy Shada, the voiceover actor behind Finn of Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time.” Cosplayers gamely posed and hammed it up for fans, too.
Oh, did we say there was an enormous Hulkbuster armor one can climb into as well as a moving, talking (well, beeping) R2-D2?
Interaction with creatives. An entire section of the venue was dedicated to illustrators and artists. Their works, such as comic books, ink drawings plus tile illustrations, were for sale. Many of them offered on-the-spot sketching services, for portraits or for a comic fan’s favorite character.
Admiring the impressive range of merchandise. What’s a Comicon event without the cool stuff you can take home as souvenirs, right? AsiaPOP Comicon featured many exhibitors and sellers of a whole gamut of products. Custom merchandise was available, too.