ToyCon and APCC 2017: Mid-Year Geekout
It's tradition for my friend Bel and I to go to comic cons every year. We're very big comic geek fans who share convos over MCU, Game of Thrones, and other pop culture media we bond over. This year, we went to not just one, but two comic cons: ToyCon and Asia Pop Comic Con (APCC)!
We've been to APCC for three times already since it happened, and it's our first time to go to Toycon together. (I was alone last year. It was an impromptu visit because I wanted to see Kristian Nairn, the guy who played Hodor in Game of Thrones, in person. Also, bonus Dean Cain.) All events happened at the SMX Convention Center, and I'm lucky to live right next to it!
A little warning: I experimented on a blue color palette on Instagram hence the blue-ish photos.
A non-profit association called The Asian Comics, Toys and Hobbies Collective Inc. was formed in the early 2000's. They created the group as a community for toy collectors in the country. It was then they formed ToyCon as a yearly gathering for toy collectors and comic book fans. Anything goes at ToyCon–toy exchanges, celebrity guests, and movie promos.
What peaked my interest to go to Toycon was Liza Soberano as an opening guest. At first, I was like, "Why was she gonna be there?" Then it hit me that she was the new Darna, after all. Who better to welcome the international guests than the actress for the Filipina heroine? I really like Liza Soberano so I made sure I was gonna get to see her. Sadly she was the opening act of the show so I was a little late. I still enjoyed the Mars Ravelo booth with fake!Darna nonetheless.
Y'all know I'm a huge horror fan, and I'm down for anything scary. Well, 2017's the year! It was yet to be released, so they did some promos within the con. But their promos were so fun because there was an actual Pennywise in the Warner Brothers booth! He was there to take photos with his "fans". I even took a selfie with him! When it's his break, he roams around with his assistant and randomly scares con guests. Now that's fun!
Actually, by that time, it wasn't until 2 PM when Bel arrived at SMX. She got stuck in traffic, but with the extra time I have to myself, I used it for shopping. With much luck, I found a rare Eleven with Eggos funko! And it only costs PHP500 if I recall it right. What a sweet deal! I think it was worth it because the space between each booth at the toy bazaar area was narrow. That's one of the things I dislike about Toycon–the lack of organization among the booths. Claustrophobic people will be triggered as hell. Otherwise, the options for toys are still diverse as always.
There were also other booths set up in Toycon. One of them was Kawaii PH's store. They sold a heart chocker with red leather straps on, and who was I to say no? I love chokers, and this choker only cost P150. Worth it!
Aside from comics, Toycon also gave way to art. There were both live art and exhibits. Bel and I explored more of the place later on, and we capped the night by eating at Dohtonbori.
Toycon was okay in my book. I'm not a huge toy collector myself. This year was alright, but they had much spark last year after inviting Kristian Nairn during the time when Hodor died in the 6th season of Game of Thrones. Talk about luck, noh? I only knew like, one or two international guests they had this year. But knowing their strength is more on toys, I find the con good for only one day. That is unless you ran out of time to buy that one toy you've looked for so long...
Asia Pop Comic Con 2017
Last year's APCC was a blast! It was back then I met Joe Dempsie and saw Millie Bobby Brown on stage. But this year was just as fun in my book. 2016 was all about the celebrity experience, and 2017 was more on the activities around the area. Also, I get to hang out with Bel again as well as Lia, whom I haven't seen in 2 years!
Although I attended for 2 days, I went on the first day to get my 2-day pass and Hall M tag. Hall M is an exclusive program within the event where we get to watch exclusive clips from Marvel, as C.B. Cebulski presented it. I can even recall my number–047! (On the third day, Bel and her boyfriend EJ had numbers like around 100 - 200 and 700 respectively!) There was a lot of people already in the first day's Hall M queue. Luckily I had my power bank and phone so waiting around the line wasn't that awkward.
Bel and I were just casual goers in shirt and jeans for the last two APCC events. But this year, we cosplayed as Betty and Veronica from Riverdale! I didn't have a pearl necklace like V did but I had a white choker, which was the closest thing I could find.
After getting her ticket, Bel and I explored the con while Lia was getting her tickets. For the first time, Netflix Philippines has its own Netflix Booth within the con! The booth took up almost a quarter of the entire SMX main hall, so it was that big. Bel and I gave it a try while it was early... An already long queue waited for us. We killed the time by catching up with gossip and going live on Facebook only for my aunts to see and comment, as aunts do. But what could possibly be inside? Almost every Netflix show that's popular with the Filipino audience! The parts we enjoyed were definitely from Stranger Things and Riverdale, as you can see below.
In the mini Pop's Chocklit Shoppe, they actually served us free milkshakes and stick on Serpent tattoos!
Just so you know, I clearly can't ride a bike. Whoops.
By the time we left the Netflix booth, Lia was right at the Tokidoki booth while waiting for us. Bel had to line up for her Hall M tag, so Lia and I explored the con. We bought some art prints, met some of her artist friends, and planned our move for setting up a booth next year. We then fell in line for HBO's Game of Thrones queue where you can sit on the Iron Throne and have your photos taken with Wight Walkers or Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen! By the time we got there, however, neither Wight Walkers nor Jonerys were there. Their schedules were already done by then, so Lia and I only got solo photos.
Bel finally got her Hall M tag and we proceeded to watch the panel for the Stranger Things cast. Lia left early to go to a gig, so Bel and I were left inside the upper floor halls of SMX, waiting for the show to start. After a few trailers, it took a while before Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, and Dacre Montgomery appear on stage. Of course, my photos were centered on Joe. What is up with me and actors named Joe guesting in APCC anyway? After the panel, we then ate at then-newly opened Ramen Nagi in SM Mall of Asia.
The third day of APCC was when Bel, EJ, and I attended Hall M. Honestly, this year was not as exciting as last year. Perhaps it's because our first time will always be the best, or maybe since I saw most of the trailers they've shown us. Also, there was an annoying tall guy in front of us whose head kept moving and made the screen hardly visible to us. All three of us were under 5'4" so imagine how bad our experience was.
After eating lunch at a Japanese restaurant, we went back to the venue and explored the con until it was time for the cosplay. When we saw the GoT booth being full again, guess what–or who–we saw: a life-sized Baymax costume! Someone wore the 6'4" thing and is braving the heat inside the inflatable suit. I was so happy to see this Baymax IRL I took a photo with him immediately. Turns out he was in line for the Iron Throne photo. When it was his turn, he couldn't sit on the Iron Throne itself. But he got the most cheers from the crowd as he took his photo! The proof is all in the NIght King's pose of defeat. Later on, an old coworker of mine would post this cute video of Justice League's Ray Fisher dancing with Baymax on stage!
The day ended when we watched the cosplay competitions. One of them was HBO's Game of Thrones-themed pageant, where the best costume wins a huge amount of money and some other perks I forgot about. The winner of the pageant was the guy in the Night King costume. Honestly, who can beat the craft of creating a Wight Walker so well? HBO could've added the guy as a stunt double for the Night King himself!
Save for the Stranger Things cast, I think APCC's guest line up this year was meh compared to last. Not that I don't like the celebrities, but I think only fans from specific fandoms or of their old work are mostly the ones who'll see them. I guess it had to be because of the history of cancellations the con had for the past two years. I just hope they have much more luck with the next cons! But that's not to say that I didn't have fun. Having Bel, EJ, and Lia with me was good enough.
2017 is drawing to a close. What will 2018 have for these cons? And will I step up with cosplay or art? Until then, let's see what happens!