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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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.