The 2011 Summer Komikon took place yesterday at the Bayanihan Center. I didn’t have enough time to go around as much as I usually do, but here are a few pictures and some thoughts on the event.
The turnout seemed about equal to what it was at the Bahay ng Alumni, which was a pleasant surprise and is a testament to a bang up job that organizers and advocates did getting the word out. I found the Bayanihan Center to be an improvement over the Bahay ng Alumni in most respects: the air condition really helped to make the event more comfortable (and hence more accessible to the more casual fan or newcomer not willing to bathe in sweat – their own and that of assorted strangers’ – in order to browse the wares). It also seemed to me to be easier to secure – the Bahay ng Alumni had a lot of ingress/egress points. I didn’t notice any food/drink concessionaires, however, which could be a downside to those not willing to cross the street to the restaurants around Pioneer supermarket.
I also wish that the hall itself had been made to look a bit more festive – the hall doesn’t have a lot of character, and the wedding reception type music that was playing (at least when I arrived) seemed out of place. I’m not looking for giant Kubori Kikiam blimps – although, hey, that’d be awesome – but few more banners, posters, and standees would have helped give the convention more of a “convention” feel, especially since cosplayers are usually sparse in comparison to other cons.
Jonas Diego’s table, which had artists such as Harvey Tolibao and Heubert Michael Khan helping with a sketch-for-donations event, was the one drawing the most visitors during my time at the con, although I can only assume Manix Abrera (Kikomachine) gave them a run for their money while Manix was there (he was no longer at the Visprint table when I arrived).
Not that the Visprint table was bereft of stars, as Budjette Tan (Trese) and Carlo Vergara (Zsazsa Zaturnnah) were on hand, as well as Paolo Fabregas, creator of the Filipino Heroes League, Visprint’s newest comic book release.
Veteran indie creators such as Macoy Tang and Gio Paredes were also present. While there were new issues being hawked and a few groups/creators that I didn’t recognize, the whole affair felt very familiar – which was both a good and a bad thing. The longevity of the event and many indie creators shows that the grassroots komiks renaissance is more than just a flash in the pan… but at the same time, from the perspective of an attendee, it’s hard to pinpoint/gauge how the local scene has progressed in the past few years.
Some signs of movement away from the standard photocopied texts were evident in the presence of a few webcomic creators (such as Hub Pacheco of Work In Progress and Carlo San Juan of Callous Comics) selling tangible/editions versions of their work, and a booth for what appears to be a digital publish-on-demand type service. I’d honestly expected there to be more of a leveraging of the Internet as a means of distribution at this point, and all the more now that – to gauge by the number of people at the Bayanihan Center – the Internet is already effective as a means of bringing komiks lovers together. One wonders what would happen if the Komikon website were to host or feature webcomics regularly.
I’ll talk about the panel discussion more when I post the videos of the discussion. Not going into the substance of the discussion though, I do hope that next time, they do more with the projector – say, show samples of the works of the panelists, some biodata etc. – a little bit more attention spent on presentation wouldn’t hurt, considering that at this point the organizers have years of experience with the show.
All in all, an improved Komikon, an enjoyable Komikon, a well run Komikon for which the organizers should be commended–but a Komikon which may not have engaged with the “Komiks Moving Onwards” poster tagline as much as I expected it to. However, perhaps those who had the time and funds to buy a lot of the new releases received more of a glimpse into that future.