A Letter to Jakarta Comic Con.

This past year, Indonesia has been pampered with pop culture events. From the local-centered creative event of the year Pop Con Asia, Reed Expo’s Indonesia Toy, Game, and Comic Convention, Japanese culture mainstay Anime Festival Asia ID, the annual Jakarta Toys and Comics Fair, and smaller events like Real American Heroes-Con, there’s absolutely everything to please the con-going crowd.

In less than a month, Jakarta is about to have another one. From Bangkok Comic Con organizers BEC-Tero True Visions, comes Jakarta Comic Con. Scheduled to be held at Jakarta International Expo alongside AFA ID on the 25-27th of September this year, this event bills itself as “The Ultimate Pop Culture Experience”, promising film, TV, and animation industry guests from Hollywood and across Asia.

At the time of this writing, the event boasts Arrow and X2’s Kelly Hu, movie director Joko Anwar, Glitch Network’s Bryan Lie, KOSMIK’s Sunny Gho and Jho Tan, Si Juki cartoonist Faza Meonk, toy designer Bowo Baghaskara, and Star-Lord & Kitty Pryde art team Alti Firmansyah, Jessica Kholinne, and Yasmine Putri as their special guests.

Now, that lineup might sound impressive, but the fact that all but two of the names mentioned above were at Pop Con Asia earlier this month, coupled with the entry fee of 95.000 rupiahs (per day) compared to the 100.000 rupiahs (regular ticket price, no promotions) that Pop Con Asia charged for three day’s entry, it sounds much less impressive. No disrespect meant to Jakarta Comic Con’s guests, but in my personal opinion, the ticket price is a little bit steep. I’m no cheapskate scrooge, I swear, I’m just voicing a personal concern of mine, shared with several people I know as well. That said, I’m perfectly willing to pay a little bit extra for guests that interest me, having been to Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention for the past three years and enjoying every second of it.

But that isn’t my major gripe about this event. My main issue is that for an event that calls itself Comic Con, there seems to be a lot of television and movie exhibitors, and awfully lacking of comics exhibitors, artist alley (which I’m definitely going to check out) notwithstanding. From the list of exhibitors given on the website, I count around 4-5 comic-related exhibitors, a mere fraction compared to the TV and movie studios opening booths in the event. You’d think there’d be more comics studios or publishers, local or international, opening booths in an event that bills itself a Comic Con. To anyone from the Jakarta Comic Con team, if you’re reading this and if at any point I’m wrong, please point me to a complete list of exhibitors and let me see the light.

I really want this event to succeed, I really do. But so far, it’s not doing much to attract me into coming. Unless you guys have a Sharknado replica at the SyFy booth, in which case I’m going even if I have to paddle my way over there with a life raft. If the event really patterns itself after San Diego Comic-Con or cons like New York Comic-Con and C2E2, then they should know to at least invite more local comics guests and have more comics-related exhibitors. Maybe I’m that cranky old comics man shouting at the movie and TV kids to get off my lawn, but I’m of the opinion that a Comic Con should, at the very least, have a comics presence equal to that of movie and TV’s.

Knowing me, I’d probably come at least one day to see just how it is. Then again, I watched Fantastic Four willingly, so it’s not like my standards are that high. So if any of you good Jakarta Comic Con people are reading this, I want you to please, prove me wrong.

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