Komikon is the Philippine local comic book convention, truncated and spelled the way ‘comics’ is written in Filipino: Komiks. The convention began in 2005, with the ideals of promoting Filipino comic book artists, local and abroad, and of course to raise awareness and appreciation for comics in general. They invite artists and writers to speak, hold contests, and host a marketplace selling comic books and other comics-related merchandise and paraphernalia. One of the biggest draws to Komikon is the Indie Tiangge, where independent artists can sell their works. Starting 2009, two Komikon events starting being held every year: the Summer Komikon held in the Philippine summer months April or May; and the regular Komikon held later in the year, usually October or November.
This year’s Summer Komikon, held last April 12, commemorated the first ever Komikon by inviting guests from the 2005 convention: Marvel artist Leinil Yu (Secret Invasion, Superior), local comic book genius Arnold Arre (After Eden, The Mythology Class), and indie comic book creator Macoy Tang (Ang Maskot, “The Mascot”). Arre’s animated shorts, Milky Boy and Andong Agimat: Kanya Ang Kalye as well as Macoy’s comic-turned-short film, Ang Maskot were shown during the event at a separate viewing hall. To think this is only a taste of what will happen in the main convention later this year!
Like every Komikon, over a hundred locally-published titles were sold both in the main hall and in the Indie Tiangge. I was able to stop by the Trese booth where I got my friend’s copies of the books autographed by the duo who created the now-popular books: Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. I wanted to get Kikomachine Komix shirts, as well, but the shirts based on Manix Abrera’s famous comics were already all sold out. Sulyap #2, Komikon’s indie anthology, also came out that day featuring amazing(The Hotdog Prince), Nino Balita (Espiritista) and Ronzkie Pacho Vidal (Sulsi).
What I love about Komikon is the sheer number of fans who go there every year. I’ve been out of the comic book side of the local fandom, but it’s always fun meeting new faces who are fans of independent and mainstream comics. Plus, all that awesome merchandise! I saw a booth with Doctor Who merchandise for sale, displayed with some Marvel figures. It’s also as if more and more independent comic book artists are coming out year after year. So many indie comic book publishers with actual booths in the main hall, and that’s not even counting the people at the Indie Tiangge (which I couldn’t find until I went to the ladies’ room—I should explore convention halls more, you keep discovering things that wasn’t there the first time you pass by!).
The venue might look huge, but I was able to make my first round of the whole place and all the booths fairly fast, even with the crowd… although, that might just be me excitedly running around everywhere. Announcements about the short film screenings were made every 30 minutes or so, which helped me remind my friends of the screening they signed up for (you had to sign up for a certain schedule since the screening area can’t accommodate too many people!). At that point, though, I had to leave the convention and head to my favourite Saturday hobby, tabletop RP gaming.
As usual, I was able to get a lot of comics from the convention (thank you, discounts!), but still slowly going through all the titles. As for issues that have sold out that I wasn’t able to get… Well, there’s always the main convention!
main image © Summer Komikon – promotional materials