Jakarta Comic Con – My Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post regarding my doubts about Jakarta Comic Con. Of course, it’d be a shame if I didn’t at least go to at least one day of the event and saw for myself. And I just did. I’m still regretting I didn’t go on Friday and missed the (only) two comic-related panels, but at least I got to experience the event in most of its entirety.

Queuing historic on the Fury Road.

Queuing historic on the Fury Road.

For an event entitled Jakarta Comic Con, I didn’t see a lot of comics going around. What little of an artist alley they have available does sell some great work, and the Superman and Batman fan communities also opened up booths. Other than that, the event is severely lacking of comics. If you squint a bit, The Walking Dead, Fox’s main attraction in the event does come from comics, so there’s that.

What can I say, Orcs have their own charm about them.

What can I say, Orcs have their own charm about them.

Even if you say that the con is a pop culture event, the lion’s share of the exhibitors are movies and TV channels. Toys and comics seem to be pushed aside by movies and TV when they should at least be balanced. The sponsors, while it’s reasonable that they wanted booths of their own, seem to take up too much floor space on an already limited venue. Instead, almost half the event ends up selling things that are unrelated to pop culture in any way, shape, or form.

The empty space of con floor we call home.

The empty space of con floor we call home.

What the exhibitors brought was quite impressive, though. Special props to Fox with the great The Walking Dead booth and HBO for the Iron Throne, less awesome than hyped, but still, decent nonetheless. The Star Wars stuff was also good, though I didn’t take too good of a look at it. Shame on SyFy for not repping Sharknado more, though. A money booth with the money replaced by tiny shark cutouts or shark plushies would be great. Or at least show us a preview for whatever bonkers Giant Monster vs Giant Possible Copyright Infringement Case they’re going for next. I’d happily sit at the booth all damn day.

This is not nearly acceptable levels of Sharknado. I need more.

This is not nearly acceptable levels of Sharknado. I need more.

Amenities-wise, I am honestly not impressed. What passes for toilets in the event are portapotties you usually see flung to the sky with a catapult on Jackass or used by Snake to hide from enemy soldiers while playing sounds of people vacating their bowels to keep the soldiers looking the other way. Did I mention that the closest place to get food is in a shack literally five steps away from the aforementioned toilets? To be fair, there’s a proper canteen of sorts a short walk away, but for the admission price you’d think they would at least give us in-venue toilets and food or at the very least spring for better outdoor toilets and a proper food area.

My name is Taruna-D, and this is Jackass.

My name is Taruna-D, and this is Jackass.

In my books, an event is only as good as its visitors and fans, and this is one area where the event shines. The cosplayers and new people I’ve met are amazing, and I even got to take part in a Deadpool conga line! The other cosplayers I’ve seen going about also look great, and made for the best moments of my otherwise dull day there. You guys rock!

Ain't no stoppin' the D-Train.

Ain’t no stoppin’ the D-Train.

If you’re looking for comics, toys, and an overall balanced pop culture event experience, don’t get your hopes up. If you’re looking for the latest trends in movies and TV, then this might be your thing. I’m not saying the event is bad per se, but it’s not quite my cup of tea, at least not with that price of admission. It’s not unvisitable as some people make it out to be, but I sincerely hope that next year they’ll consider putting some variety in the exhibitors, bring in more guests from various fields, and maybe rent a venue that’ll accommodate the sponsors without sacrificing floor space for other possible exhibitors or a bigger artist alley. Nowhere to go but up from here.

I hope.

PS: There were some complaints regarding the line management for the celebrity photo ops, but as I didn’t experience it first-hand, I’m leaving it out of this writing.

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Tank Goodness – A Tank Girl: Armadillo! Review

  • Title: Tank Girl: Armadillo! and a Bushel of Other Stories
  • Author: Alan C. Martin
  • Publisher: Titan Books (April 8, 2008)
  • Paperback: 240 pages

This book is nuts.

Now that it’s out of the way, for the uninitiated, Tank Girl is a comic created by Alan C. Martin and Jamie Hewlett (of Gorillaz fame) about the titular Tank Girl, who drives (you guessed it) a tank, her mutant kangaroo boyfriend Booga, and her friends, the creatively named Jet Girl, Sub Girl, and Boat Girl. Oh, and Barney. They do crazy shit. There was also a 1995 adaptation movie starring Lori Petty and Naomi Watts. While it was decent, it still doesn’t hold a candle to how bonkers the comics are.

Tank Girl: Armadillo! And a Bushel of Other Stories is Tank Girl’s first foray into the world of prose, still with the crazy-ass stories that I’ve come to expect as a fan of Tank Girl. Almost like the comics, this unholy love child between a novel and a collection of short stories is an eclectic mix of the titular Armadillo main story and the Bushel, containing an assortment of short stories, comic scripts, and poems.

Armadillo, the main story, takes about half the book and has almost the whole gang embarking on a crazy adventure involving Tank Girl’s tank being blown up, Booga being kidnapped, an army of midgets, and Barney settling a score with her parents. As with most other Tank Girl stories, it’s balls-to-the-wall crazy, curse-laden, and endlessly violent. Just the way we like it.

Its second feature, the Bushel, contains several short stories, poems, and comic scripts by Martin that never made it into a comic page. This part reads even more like a typical Tank Girl comic, zipping between short stories, poems, and comics at a breakneck pace without slowing down.

Despite its origins in the comic medium, Tank Girl still thrives in a purely text piece (save for one thing I won’t reveal here that is complete comedy gold), letting us readers imagine the crazy happenings in Tank Girl’s world as we please. The brilliant choice of having Tank narrate most of the prose pieces also gives us more insight into the inner workings of Tank Girl’s mind and the crazy stuff that happens inside it.  I dare say, this is the deepest look we’ve had into Tank Girl and her dynamics with the rest of her motley crew.

The only downside (or is it an upside?) about this book is that 240 pages goes by like it was a drug-fueled roller coaster ride, and it left me wanting more. I wouldn’t recommend this to those new to Tank Girl and would instead direct them to the comics, but if you like Tank Girl and have read the comic, then you’ll be in for a treat. I, for one, would very much like another Tank Girl novel like this.