If you follow this blog, then I’m sure you’ve seen Maddy’s perspective on Indonesia Comic Con. Here, I’ll be weighing in on this inaugural Indonesia Comic Con as a sort of a second opinion and one for the international audience.
While Reed Panorama has done a similar event named Indonesia Toy Game and Comic Convention last year, Indonesia Comic Con (ICC), held at Jakarta Convention Center on 14-15 November is the first event of its name and bears the tagline “We are pop culture”. Having attended almost the entirety of both days, I can safely say that the event lived up to its tagline.
ICC boasts a guest list from all avenues of pop culture, both East and West. From Marvel superstar artist David Mack, Japanese Metal Hero actor and an idol to a lot of Indonesian kids growing up in the 1980’s Kenji Ohba, toy designer Simone Legno, international cosplayers Nicole Marie Jean, to musicians like DJ Yuyoyuppe, there really is something for everyone here.
The panels and events held at the con is nothing to sneeze at either. I’ve only had the pleasure of attending several of them, but they all shined. Nearing the end of the first day, the “Fight Club of art” event Secret Walls dazzled the audience with their amazing art battle featuring local graffiti artists collaborating and duking it out with great artwork.
The second day, David Mack was joined by Setan Jalanan creator Franki Indrasmoro and local comics superstar Sweta Kartika on a comics panel, where they shared stories of their comics experiences, tips for creators just starting out, and why they fell in love with comics in the first place. The panel ended with a little sketch battle between Mack and Franki.
What’s a con without its Artist Alley? Here is where the event shines. With about 68 spaces filled in the artist alley, that’s a lot of concentrated awesome in one place. I spent a few hours going around the artist alley, and I’m pretty sure I missed a lot of great stuff still.
The official exhibitor booths are equally as impressive. From fan communities like the 501st Legion, Gotham Citizen Club, and Komunitas Marvel Indonesia, the dedicated hunting ground for toy collectors, Glitch Network, a comics corner run by Books Kinokuniya, and the always dangerous for collectors’ wallets Funko, we’re spoiled by choice.
As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, an event is only as good as its fans and visitors. This is what firmly puts this event into one of my list of best events this year. The cosplayers are amazing as always, I managed to meet some new people there and went nuts with old friends much like we did at a previous event.
However, that’s not saying this event isn’t without its faults. The high density of booths and exhibitors crammed into a relatively limited floor space does cause some problems. I’ve seen lines for (what I assume is) the Walk of Fame that snaked almost all the way to the stage and practically halved the walking space along that line. Proper seating in the stage area for panels are at times somewhat lacking too, forcing some of the audience to stand or sit on the floor during panels. To sum up, I think most of ICC’s problems is with the space. For what they had to work with, it works well enough, but I’m hoping that the next ICC will have a little more extra breathing room. Maybe Reed Panorama can take a page out of their other event’s STGCC playbook and dedicate almost an entire hall for the stage and Walk of Fame areas. This might prove a popular decisions with the cosplayers as well, so they have a huge open area to take photos or just to lounge around, rather than having to contend with the throng of people on the con floor or loiter around near the entrance area.
All in all, this is an amazing first year for Indonesia Comic Con. There’s a lot of fun to be had whether alone or in a group, although I do recommend to bring friends. Some people might initially be turned off by the price of admission, but after seeing what the event had to offer, it’s practically a bargain. Besides, 90 thousand is nothing compared to what you’ll potentially spend at the event. With books, toys, artwork, and whatever else the exhibitors have to offer, why wouldn’t you? I have faith that ICC will be better next year, and I hope they’ll invite more people from comics. Warren Ellis or Stuart Immonen, maybe?
It’s been a great con, a pleasure to visit, and an honor to report, here’s hoping next year it will be, in the immortal words of Daft Punk, harder, better, faster, and stronger. But mainly better. Bigger, too.