MANILA, Philippines – If you’re an aspiring artist, fanboy/girl, or just someone who happens to be new to the world of comic books who has nothing to do this summer, attending Summer Komikon should have been on your to-do list.
Summer Komikon 2013 was held at the at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig City last April 13. It was my first comic book convention and, boy, was it a blast.
For those who don’t know, Summer Komikon (with “komik” being the Filipino word for comic) is an annual comic book convention (one of many) held in the Philippines. The first Summer Komikon was held in 2009.
“The whole point of Komikon is to promote Pinoy comics and have a place where comic-book creators, exibitors, and fans can gather,” Lyndon Gregorio, creator of popular comic strip “Beerkada” and one of Komikon’s founders, told Rappler.
He expressed his happiness at how “Komikon has grown over the years.” He added that with the rise of social media, geeks from all over are connecting and sharing their interests.
Gregorio also noted that Komikon has changed in the sense that it doesn’t just feature comic books anymore. “Geeks now have cross-interests and we’ve changed to accommodate it,” he said.
If these weren’t enough to psych you up, here are more reasons why I think Summer Komikon 2013 was awesome: (Take heed, fellow geeks, so you can get ready for the next Summer Komikon in 2014!)
1. You find thousands of comic books for sale
That copy of “Scott Pilgrim” that you’ve been eyeing for months? It was 20% off at Summer Komikon. Stores like Comic Odyssey and National Bookstore offer huge discounts during Komikon. It’s a great chance to stock up on your favorite local and international titles.
Even if comic books aren’t your thing, you can find a couple of Japanese Manga for as cheap as P100 per volume. Some stalls also sell rare collectibles and comic books — They may be a little pricey, but if you’re a die-hard fan, it’ll be worth every peso.
2. You get to meet and greet local comic book creators
Do you happen to be a fan of “Trese”? “Bakemono High”? “Skyworld”? If you answered those questions with a resounding “YES!” then this is definitely the convention for you.
Among the participants in Summer Komikon were Gerry Alanguilan (“Elmer”), Budjette Tan (“Trese”), Leinil Yu (“Avengers”), and Paolo Fabregas (“Filipino Heroes League”). Aside from meeting them, you get to have your comic books and other memorabilia signed by the creators themselves.
3. It’s child-friendly!
The theme for this year’s Summer Komikon was “Never Too Young to Love Komiks,” which meant that kids of all ages got to join in on the fun! The event allowed those under 12 years old to enter for free, which gave it a wholesome, family-friendly vibe.
Children’s book illustrator and author Robert Magnuson believes that comic books are a good way to encourage children to start reading.
“Even though young children cannot read the words, they become familiar with the form of a book — the pages, the way they turn, the sequence of artwork. These are things that they can learn even at a young age,” he said.
He added: “It can give them an appreciation of and love for books, and develop a fascination with it as they get older.”
Magnuson was one of the special guests during the event. He is the artist of “Shirley’s Pets” (Junior Inquirer) and author of “The Great Duck and Crocodile Race,” 2012 Best Reads for Children awardee.
4. You can join contests
Whether you’re joining them for fun or because you’ve got a competitive streak in you, the number of contests available during the event ensure that you’ll have plenty to do.
If you love to draw, Komikon 2013 had it’s annual comic-creation and character making contest. If you’re the crafty type, there was the create-your-own-foldabots contest and the Titus Pens create-your-own Seven Notes cover contest. If you watch George RR Martin’s “Game of Thrones” series on HBO, there was the create-your-own-family arms contest.
5. You learn from the pros
Singaporean artists Otto Fong and CT Lim were present during the event to talk about what it’s like to work in comics. Otto Fong’s “Successful Comic Self-Publishing in Singapore” and CT Lim’s “Current Trends in Southeast Asian Comics” gave attendees a glimpse into how the comic book industry is in other countries.
6. Free stuff
Who doesn’t love free stuff? You’ll leave Komikon with a bag of posters, comic book samples, and other merchandise. While there, I was given free slurpees and a mug with Bilbo Baggins’s face on it — which was pretty cool, if you ask me.
7. You’ll meet new people
Aside from getting sweet merchandise and getting your favorite comic books signed, one of the best things you take home from cons is the friendships you make. At Summer Komikon, you’re surrounded by cool, like-minded people who share your interests; it’s an opportunity ripe for bonding and making new friends.
8. It supports indie comics!
Indie (short for “independent”) comic books are unique in the sense that they aren’t supported by any big-name publishing houses. Purely creator-owned, indie comics give an interesting glimpse into the vast range of stories that people have in their minds. You never know, perhaps someday that indie comic book you picked up could become one of the hottest comic books around in the future!
“Making your own comics is pretty easy,” said Noel Pascual, writer of “Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents,” an indie comic which tells the stories of 4 friends who work in a call center and solve crimes.
“All the things you need are paper, pencil, and your imagination,” he said. He advises aspiring comic book creators to just “go ahead and do it,” adding that with the advent of the Internet, advertising your work just needs a few clicks. – Rappler.com
Mariella Bustamante likes fantasy novels, flaming hot Cheetos, and Star Wars. She is currently an intern at Rappler, and will graduate from Silliman University in May 2013.