“I’ve been KONned.” There’s just no other way to say it. After more than a year of calling myself a Komikon newbie—worse, an ‘(Almost) Komikon newbie’—I can now claim to be a real Komikon fangirl! Attending last April 13’s event at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig made sure of that.
Some posts ago, I said I would not expect a real comics convention as much different from the comics festival I went to before, but it’s one of those rare occasions I’m thankful to be proven wrong. The Komiks Festival was cool and all, but the real Komikon…ROCKS! For starters, I was early enough at the venue, but what did I find? Already two long qeues to the building entrance. Later on, the place would be swarming with fans to feed their comic-hungry souls. My friend Sherwin was running late so good luck to him.
This just proved that Pinoy Komiks are NOT dead. Rather, quite alive and kicking. It was overwhelming to see a lot of geeks convening in one place (hey, don’t be offended by the geek-label, remember I was there, too, to enhance my geekiness). More overwhelming to know that thousands support the growing, new comics industry.
I almost made another mistake, what I call ‘Gayda Moment.’ Years ago, I absent-mindedly smiled and nodded a hey-there to a very familiar face only to realize it was Toni Rose Gayda, who didn’t really know me, and whom I never really personally met. Poor woman didn’t know how to react, trying to place me. So I almost made a fool of myself once again last Saturday, about to smile and nod a hey-there to Gab Chee Kee of the famous Parokya ni Edgar. Wow, ‘feeling-close’ naman ako. Funny, but I ended up following him in line. I could only hope no eager paparazzi took secret photos of him, a girl at his back looking silly like she was about to go to the beach with her large native bag, not attending the convention.
Once I got my ticket back with the stub removed, received my first set of freebies, and had the Summer Komikon logo stamped at the back of my right wrist, I proceeded to the lobby where I consumed a free Slurpee for breakfast (hey, I was in a hurry!). Shamelessly accepted, too, a The Hobbit Slurpee tumbler give-away (excess from when the movie was shown, but who cared? I love souvenirs). There were some non-comicbook goods being sold already right at the lobby but I didn’t want to splurge on them when I hadn’t even bought comics first.
Facing the actual event area, I found on the right an exhibit of the Character Making Contest entries that had “Bata ang Bida!” (loose translation: “Kids Rule!”) as this year’s theme. Boy, a lot of them actually had promise. I would’ve checked out every one to have my own bets, but I told my friend, Andoyman Komikero, I was going to his table at the Indie Tiangge so I thought I’d just come back later (I forgot, though, but here are the winners: Character Making Contest 2013 winners).
So! Where was the Indie Tiangge section? I knew it was supposed to be separated from the main hall itself, but there didn’t seem to be anywhere else to go, but down a corridor that seemed too serious, I didn’t want to go where it could be off-limits. So I entered the hall.
Wow! Talk about crowded. There were lots of people and there were lots and lots of goodies to choose from. It was hard not to somehow touch shoulders with others or accidentally hit a display or two. Many popular titles and artists to choose from, too! I tell you I didn’t know where to start. So I just went around looking for Andoyman here, there, everywhere and I told myself to check outside again. It was a good thing because somebody, at last, posted a big sign now pointing to the direction of the Indie Tiangge, down the serious corridor. Ugh.
There he was! Finally! It had been more than two years when last Andy and I saw each other. Every communication–editing included–done through Facebook, texts and emails. I was glad to get actual copies of his Ang Sumpa (published under his Andoyman Komiks), especially because in a way, I was a part of it. I never knew I’d be doing anything related to comics. But now, let’s just say I’m thinking bigger things. We’ll see.
After some tête-a-tête and finding out there was no phone signal there, I went out to see any replies from Sherwin. He asked,“Wer n u? Nsa indi komiks tiangge k?” (“Where are you? At the Indie Tiangge?”) , to which I said yes and I would be waiting for him there. Then I spotted the Jonas Diego whom I last saw personally at the Festival; before that was yeeeeaarsss ago. Of course, we got to talk a bit and found we are just practically neighbors in Makati. I asked for issue 2 of his Pocket Comics, unfortunately, it was/is still a negative.
After a while, I went back to the Tiangge. Andoyman introduced me to the peeps next to him, Ikos Komiks‘ Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal and Ray Vidal. Their third member, Anino Karimlan, was not there. Ronzkie got to discuss with me their production and comic outputs. I’ve got to say I was initially attracted to their works visually. Then I got to flip through the pages and, through more explanations from her, I decided I wanted to buy at least two first. Based on what I’ve seen and read later on, I know Ikos Komiks is quite a group to watch out for. I am officially a fan.
As freebie, Ray gave away copies of the poetry book Utterly Woman: Lyric Poems, which, with one look, I immediately knew wasn’t new. Confirmation was when I asked and he said the writer, Lourdes H. Vidal, is his grandma. No problem. I love poems, and I actually considered myself lucky getting such a book for free. There was no other poetry-lover there more thankful.
Moments later, I met up with Sherwin at the lobby, and he was already wearing a Jake the Adventurer hat—to join his Picachu and Stitch hats in the office—that he just purchased from the event area. The Tiangge area was where we first devoted a lot of our time. It was a much smaller place but talent there was just as full and brimming.
I swear, it was somewhat a heartbreaking experience. Imagine, wanting much, much more with much, much less budget. Well, c’est la vie (that’s life). I had to balance between treating myself once in a while and still keeping it practical.
I have to admit, the main reason I bought Macoy Tang‘s Ang Maskot comics was my curiosity about its story, given that according to the woman at the table (I didn’t ask how they are related), it has been translated into film that’s about to be viewed at the coming Cinemalaya. I’m a sucker for indie films so I just had to know what Maskot was all about. The trailer, I just read online a few days ago, was actually shown at the Komikon, and I missed it. But reading the comics first made me agree that it was definitely movie-material.
Fast-forward to us finally moving to the great hall. Yipes! More people! There was a hotdog-eating competition going on onstage and I laughed at how sincere Sherwin sounded when he said he really wanted to join. Just like me, he was hungry already, and he wouldn’t be called ‘The Kraken,’ too, for nothing. He’s got a black hole for a stomach!
Sherwin had a blast catching up, so to speak, with some artists he met at a past Komikon, particularly Pop U band members whose vocalist, Ker Floria, drew comics (Indie) as well and gave away a CD before as freebie (I liked some of the songs).
Sherwin bought copies again, too, of FUM (Filipino Utilized Manga). We got to meet the peeps behind the Filipino Manga mag. I’ve had my clear favorite so far from before, Rui Chan‘s Enguard, plus I was/am waiting for any actual storytelling of Legends of Maya, I think by Doc RaCe.
Meanwhile, I was so thankful for the Komiks Festival for I didn’t have to fall in line anymore (what a line it was and it’s said long lines are always expected with him around) at the Summer Komikon just to have Manix Abrera sign my copy of any of his books.
I saw Johnny Danganan, too, handling the auction table where various artists donated their masterpieces for a good cause. It was for the annual “Lapis at Papel” (“Pencil and Paper”) Project where proceeds were to go to a charitable cause, to help out underprivileged kids and supply school items to them for the coming school year. Artworks donated by artists were auctioned with bids starting at P500. Kudos for the efforts, guys!
I went around and around also looking for Freely Abrigo but I only found him right when we were to go home. My companion had something to do and should’ve left an hour ago, while I was going home to the province, which explains the big bag.
We were so busy checking out the wares, we hardly took notice of the stage where a lot more things did happen, like a Moving-Up Graduation Ceremony (moving up meant graduating from the Indie Tiangge level), Singaporean artists Otto Fong and C. T. Lim gracing the event, actor Ketchup Eusebio promoting the Ang Maskot film where he played the title role, Bogart the Explorer also promoting a yet-untitled film in his supposed hero costume, other fun contests and, aaaww, a surprise marriage proposal.
Meanwhile, Freely wasn’t so free but was busy attending to people. I waited for some minutes but it was not enough. I looked at the table and found I already have copies of his comics, except any Kapitan Tog but, by then, no more moolah…Next time, Freely, next time.
Lots more comicbooks broke my heart. The only thing that got me going was the idea that some of those could be bought some other days from bookstores, and that I’d be seeing them again at the next Komikons. So next time, I’ll be on the lookout for them. I’ll make sure I won’t miss them like I did Elmer Damaso and his Cat’s Trail. Well we saw him there so I figured he was participating.
Between the two of us, Sherwin and I brought home enough loot to satisfy us. We share collections so we get to read each other’s comics anyway. In fact, I’m done reading everything from this batch of loot, as well as the other batch he got from a previous Komikon.
It was really a fun experience, something I won’t mind experiencing again. Till the next time, Komikon!
NOTE: Were you there? Anything you can contribute? A blog post by you about it, maybe? Just let me know and I will link to it 🙂
NOTE 2: Just some nice Summer Komikon-related blogposts — Summer Komikon 2013 Report by the great Mr. Gerry Alanguilan (you have GOT to read this and watch the vids, too!), Komikon 2013: Pinoy Comic Artists and Fans Converge at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig (feast your eyes as well on all the audio-visuals here), The Boys of Summer Komikon, Why Summer Komikon 2013 was a blast (the only thing I disagree with it is the Komikon supposedly being quite child-friendly; friendly enough, yes, but there are lots of comic books that do require parental guidance when being read by kids)
NOTE 3: All photos by Sherwin and myself, except when indicated otherwise.