Asia Pop Comic Con, or APCC, has always been a massive overdose of all things geeky. It’s also a world-class event designed to give Pinoy geeks a taste of what foreign comic conventions are like. Hollywood actors, hot previews, great creators, cosplayers, and awesome interactive booths were all crammed into the SMX Convention Center for three days, which was a total treat to fans old and young.
There were so many things happening at APCC this year that three days weren’t enough to cover them all. Nevertheless, here are the best things about this year’s biggest geek convention.
Teen Wolf and Supergirl star Tyler Hoechlin was on hand for autograph and meet and greet sessions with his fans. He talked about his first big role opposite Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition, and how he got the role: he didn’t really want to go in the audition room at first but did it anyway and landed the role! While playing Derek Hale in Teen Wolf was like a blank slate for Hoechlin since it’s a fresh character, he tackled his Superman role in Supergirl a little differently from what people usually expect. Instead of researching all the Supermen that came before him, Hoechlin focused on what he thought Superman should be, with only Dean Cain’s interpretation of the character to provide him with a starting point.
Playing Cyborg in Batman v Superman and the upcoming Justice League movie was a dream come true for actor Ray Fisher. During his meet and greet, he focused on his DC movie role, citing that he sees a bit of himself in Cyborg. Fisher read through a lot of Cyborg’s comic appearances, especially his time serving on multiple incarnations (if not all) of the superteam Teen Titans and Titans. The actor views Cyborg as his own man, and the conflict in his character stems from him unable to truly live a normal life, unlike his Justice League teammates who have alter egos. Fisher is truly pumped for fans to see not just him, but Justice League as a whole, when it debuts in cinemas in 2018.
The cast of Stranger Things Season 2
During APCC 2016, it was Millie Bobbie Brown of Stranger Things who visited the country. This year, it was the rest of the cast: Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, and Sadie Sink, who almost got mobbed by fans of the show. Their main stage meet and greet filled the hall to the brim, and during the presentation, fans were able to ask the actors a few questions. It was also during this event that clips from upcoming Netflix shows like Bright and Punisher were shown.
Famed Macross creator Shoji Kawamori also visited the Philippines for APCC 2017, to the delight and hype of fans. He talked about his life’s work—building and designing mecha and characters and whole new worlds for people to enjoy. He was the one who initially proposed the idea of “mono-eye” Gundams but was initially denied only to be later used in the series’ long history. For Macross, Shoji initially made paper models of the Valkyrie mecha to show how they would transform. Kawamori also shared how happy he was when Macross became a global hit, especially because outside of mecha, it is a story of people from many cultures in one place. He never expected local fans to come out to see him since APCC was an American-type convention but he was nevertheless very happy!
Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
More popularly known as Artgerm, Stanley Lau has been instrumental in his contribution to modern art and is widely-known to the geek community as a great artist when it comes to his depiction of comic book and video game characters. Lau had a workshop in APCC but asked the audience to forgive him for taking the time to talk about his art and his work instead of drawing. He is popular for drawing Street Fighter characters, particularly his Chun-Li pieces. He also gave valuable advice for artists who are starting out in the trade, and how to constantly improve by continuously drawing inspiration from what makes them happy. When it comes to technique, Lau mentioned that he likes to try out new technology and finds out how these can improve his style.
Overwatch fans know Genji Shimada and all the memes that have spawned because of his constant need for healing in the game. At APCC 2017, fans got to hear the actual voice of the character in the flesh as Gaku Space invaded the convention! When not doing autographs or posing for photos, the actor actually got around the convention floor, mingling with fans and even indulging them when asked about the Genji memes. Space mentioned during his meet and greet that he was blown away at the popularity he garnered thanks to the Blizzard game because not only has he become popular, the character he voices is a cyborg ninja, and that it doesn’t get any better than that!
The biggest booth (if you can still call it that) at APCC 2017 was the Netflix booth, dubbed as “Hall N.” Taking up almost one whole convention hall (APCC booked all four halls on the first and second floors), fans lined up to get to see themed areas inside. Hall N featured sets from Stranger Things, Orange Is The New Black, Riverdale, The Defenders, and even Death Note. The Netflix staff also gave away tons of neat souvenirs, like a Barb scented candle (so you will always remember her), Dustin’s trucker cap, Death Note shirts, baller tags, and even sunglasses.
Returning this year is Marvel’s Hall M, the place to be for all the latest news regarding Marvel’s on-screen properties. Fans were treated to the latest news about the upcoming Spider-Man game on the PlayStation 4, as well as the Telltale Guardians of the Galaxy game. Of course, trailers for upcoming Marvel shows like The Punisher and Inhumans were shown, as well as trailers for Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok. To end the show, Hall M showed a trailer for the upcoming Ant Man and Wasp movie. Sadly, there wasn’t any news or sneak peek for Infinity War but fans were satisfied nonetheless!
Artist Mervin Malonzo started his little project called Tabi Po more than 10 years ago. A darker and horror-themed take on Filipino history, culture, and mythology, Tabi Po has slowly but surely wormed its way into the hearts of Pinoy comic readers. What started out as a webcomic gave way to published work, and now, Malonzo has finally realized his dream of having his characters come to life on the small screen. The Tabi Po booth at APCC celebrated Malonzo’s collaboration with Cignal TV’s Sari-Sari channel, which will produce the Tabi Po mini-series. Malonzo is living the dream of any artist to bring his life’s work to new audiences, but to the local TV industry, Tabi Po marks a great step forward into bringing Netflix-styled content to viewers, and hopefully will continue to be a trend in the future.
Photos by Jason Dayrit, Nicolo Manaloto, and Ram Ronquillo