Last Sunday (August 27, 2017) we had an opportunity to talk to the CEO of Universal Entertainment, Mohammad Khammas; the very company that brought Asia Pop Comic Con in 2015 and still going strong until the present time.
Jill: Welcome to the Philippines sir.
Mohammed Khammas: Thank you.
Jill: Since it’s the third installment of APCC…why chose Manila for your first franchise of APCC
M.K.: Asia Pop Con was…We were looking for it so many different sites to start this big event right? And we were looking for where do we have most of the fans and culturally aware of pop culture and so on and so forth.
Manila stood out as the most culturally aware on pop culture at large and so it was natural for us to go the Philippines and it was natural for us to have in it Manila because of the available infrastructure for people to come and enjoy.
J: Aside from Manila…are there other places in the world or in Asia that could actually cater for APCC?
M.K.: Absolutely, we had one in Dubai last year which was a great event for us as well. The funny thing is that we actually started in Manila before we even started in our own hometown, that’s how confident we were of the people over here and it’s a tremendous effort.
Like I said people knew what they’re getting themselves into, they knew the characters, they knew the stories, they knew everything about it so people like yourselves who are interested in this even from the cosplay point of view
Cosplay is just the manifestation of the story of the character and so it was only natural for people who knew all the origin stories to be able to develop that kind of act. It’s not just about looking good, or looking like an alien, or looking like a superhero…they wanna live the story and so they have to know complete background and this is why we decided to have it here.
J: Since you brought up about characters, how cosplayers actually carry themselves…I also heard also as well that you are actually a fan of comic books. As a comic book fan, I would like to ask what are you interested in…are you in DC are you in Marvel? From those two…in each, what do you like in DC and what do you like in Marvel?
M.K.: Oh God…I actually like both. I am a bigger Marvel fan and I think we have really tough villains in DC. DC has darker stories, they have the Joker, the Riddler and each and every one of them is just something to be reckoned with…and they keep you engaged. Marvel has better superheroes…like Tony Stark, Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star Lord, the works of them, so for us that’s what’s important.
Me personally…I’m torn between the two. I can’t say which one or the other.
J: [smiles] Okay, if you were given a chance to cosplay one character who would it be?
M.K.: Oh..wow…one character, probably…I would definitely go for Tony Stark. It had to be one of the two richest guys between DC or Marvel, it had to be either Batman…or I don’t know one of the other.
J: Personally…if you’re gonna ask me, I think you’re gonna fit Batman [M.K: Really?]
Your voice, your built and how you actually carry yourself. Cause Tony stark for me is a bit…I’m a fan of Tony… but here in the Philippines we call it ‘mayabang’ but still he knows his place. I really think Batman suits you.
M.K.: Alright, I’ll take that into advice…next time I actually put on a costume that’s gonna be done.
J: Ohhh…please do the Dark Knight Rises costume. [smiles]
M.K.: That costume? Alright, alright, we actually have someone in Dubai who came in with the best costume, he’s from… I think he’s European and he’s one of the cosplay judges and he had the absolutely best Batman costume there was. And we was really really amazing, and he is 6 feet something so he’s really tall guy and so he really fit the role well so I have the team publish some pictures of that.
J: My very last question is…what really made you decide to put up Asia Pop?
M.K.: one of the place where fans can have that first hand experience and appreciation…did you go to Hall M today? [J: Yes we did]
Every year we had exclusives for people that saw content here for the first time before anyone else in the world in the States…Civil War was released here first before anywhere else, so we wanted to show the fans the appreciation from them as well.
We wanted them to get to experience this as if they were in San Diego but even better. We actually have better reaction here than we have in Hall H in San Diego. The reaction from the fans it’’s really really hyped and we wanted to make sure that we give them that. We wanted to make sure that it’s just not the movies or cosplay, we wanted everything from the storytelling, the illustrators, the painting, the colors and we want people to know how a story transforms into a movie or into a comic book. Plus we recruit a lot of people here, Marvel recruits every year, this year C.B. Cebulski the guy who was presenting on stage reviewed in publishing, somewhere around 500 – 600 series. So every single year they have a lot of people to think over…a lot of work that gets into these comics. Hopefully in the future we would want to see people like yourselves come here shine bring a lot of content, give them a better platform and not just be observers we want them to come here and be participants. So…you’ll see these more in the times to come.
J: Yes indeed, and since this the third installment and actually since from the first it’s still actually the best convention we have so far here in the Philippines. We’ve been asking others what is the most anticipated con in Manila and all they say is APCC.
M.K.: I’m glad that has been the feedback.