Would you believe it has been ten years since what was then a UP Diliman small get-together for Philippine comic fans and creators? The 10th annual local comics convention, also known as Komikon X, was held last November 15 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig City. For veteran attendees, Komikon is THE event to score awesome comic book deals and even stumble on those hard-to-find issues for both local and foreign-published comics. But even vets and newbies alike still get overwhelmed (in a good way) by the sheer number and quality of locally-produced comics that are both traditionally and indie published.
Like every year, Komikon never failed to bring a huge crowd in both the main hall and conference rooms. This was the moment where local comic book creators were treated like rock stars: with fans lining up for long hours to get their comics signed, and if time permits, get their photos taken with their idols. This year’s special guests included Stephen Segovia (artist of Marvel Comics, DC Comics and Valiant Comics), and Melvin Calingo (creator of Pasig, and co-creator of Kubori Kikiam and Kanto Inc.). Meanwhile, indie comic artists were also given the time to shine at the Indie Komiks Tiangge. Aside from selling and showcasing local works, participants got to learn more about the industry in exclusive Komikon panels. This year, the event showcased comic inking and webcomics session by industry luminaries like Gerry Alanguilan and Jonas Diego, among others. Film screenings likewise got everyone’s attention, with flicks from Keith Sicat’s Komikero Chronicles, Pepper Marcelo’s Illustrated By and Erik Matti’s Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles and a special teaser trailer of Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2, an official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival 2014.
Although I wasn’t exactly a Komikon veteran (I’ve attended a couple of event iterations, but not in succession), this year’s event was something I looked forward to. When I got to the Bayanihan Center, I made a beeline for Nautilus Comics to receive my pre-order copy of The Mythology Class by Arnold Arre. The original, four-issue series that won the 2000 Manila Critics Circle National Book Award in the Comic Books category, was re-released to feature three collected editions. Other Arre masterpieces (Trip to Tagaytay and Martial Law Babies) were also up for sale at their booth. While waiting in line, I had the privilege to watch Mr. Arre at work on an art print that was subsequently auctioned off at the event. Talk about witnessing a genius at work!
Then I headed to Visprint where I bought some of their latest graphic novels: Mythspace, Maktan 1521, and Tabi Po Isyu 2. It was such a joy to meet the artists behind the books and getting my copies signed made it even extra special. I was also able to witness the awarding of the 4th Komikon Readers’ Choice Awards, where fans showed support by voting for their favorite comics titles.
Throughout the 10 iterations of Komikon, comics fans get the bang for their buck in terms of diversity and quality of comic book offerings, activities, and educational panels. There’s always something exciting to look forward to every year, and I’m already looking forward to Komikon XI!