SDCC 2018: Preview Night
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SDCC 2018: Pre-Convention Adventure
Just found the time to edit this now… so here it is.. my SDCC 2018 VLOG. First of many installments. Enjoy!
For those interested in my commercial work, check out pointblankstudios.net and follow us at @pointblankmnl in IG.
DC Cafe Opening
A rather late post, but newsworthy either way. I was invited last week to the launch of DC Superheroes Cafe, the first DC-themed restaurant in the country. And this isn’t just some comic-book theme place… but a solid expression of geekdom from restaurateur Edric Chua. The guy is a die hard DC fan, and coming up with a business based on his passion is something any fanboy can dream of.
For those who are familiar with the CW DC shows, you would immediately see the homage in the place from CC Jitters to Big Belly Burger. It’s like stepping into set of Berlanti-verse.
We were served with a motley serving of their staples from the main courses and desserts. I had to give up after the 2nd helping. The food obviously takes inspiration from popular DC characters. A solid pun was Arthur Curry.. a salmon dish named after Aquaman. It was fish on a curry sauce. Hahaha.
I spent most of the time walking around and chatting up friends who graced the events as well from cosplayers to comic book artists.
As of writing, they are still in soft launch operations, and opens at 6PM until 10PM. From what Edric told me, they would begin lunch service next week. Make sure you reserve your table before stepping in. Give the queue, walk-ins might have a hard time getting seated. I so want that Superman backpack. Photo dump after this sentence.
- DC Superheroes Cafe
- 4F Fashion Mall
- SM Megamall
- Ortigas Center
For those interested in my commercial work, check out pointblankstudios.net and follow us at @pointblankmnl in IG.
I always make sure to pass by Komikon every year. I know this event reportage is coming in late, but better late than never I guess…
Komikon is the grassroots breeding ground for creators. If you’re a budding writer / artist, or just an aficionado of local comics, this is the place for you. Don’t expect the big presence of Marvel, DC or any foreign characters (except for the old back issues booth) around because this place celebrates what Pinoy imagination is all about. You would see break out characters like Trese, to the series Tabo Po (by Mervin, which I also shot for Epik Studios as of late) down to complete new characters self-publishing through photocopies of their titles.
Spider Dan before his transformation.
It’s awesome to see how the start up scene in comics is well supported by fans who not just like mainstream pop culture characters, but those with humble beginnings as well. It’s with the story and treatment and not just popularity which appeals to the fans who frequent these events.
I’d always imagine Komikon taking over bigger places like MoA in the future, but there’s a charm about staying loyal in a particular venue despite bursting from its seams. Bayanihan Center would always be synonymous with Komikon and vice versa. There’s that hidden charm and start up feel that would be lost if this convention transfers places.
Of course, I’d pass by Tabi Po, by Mervin Malonzo.Check out my youtube channel for your regular glimpse behind the scenes! While you’re at it, drop buy the online store and get goodies from your favorite models!
Tokyo Game Show
So yeah, the following week I find myself in Japan again. This time it’s for the Tokyo Game Show. It was one of those “research” trips I had to do for my creative consultancy job. And what a research trip this turned to be. Though I’m not a newbie in the cons circuit, this is my first TGS. And boy this event certainly didn’t disappoint.
Now this is something you don’t see in local conventions: and organized way of shooting cosplayers. Somehow the Japanese follow a collective courtesy when it comes to asking cosplayers for a shot. TGS placed a good portion of cosplayers in the adjacent parking lot, but in effect the slots made it easy for them to take up a spot at the end of the parking curb, and use the lines as guide for photographers to line up.
As for the open areas, photographers don’t get to circle around a particular model either. There’s natural line that forms the moment one person asks for a photo.
This Sephiroth cosplay is on point. He just needs the Masamune.
The line to this booth in insane. As much as I wanted grab my hands on one.. it’s physically impossible without wasting a few hours of your time in line — no matter how organized this place is.
VR is such a big thing this year. One hall was dedicated to VR game and experiences.
Because I just had to ask a picture from random group cosplaying Japanese.
If I could only take the floating moogle home.
Mandatory image near the signage. Good thing were lots of nice people to ask pictures from. Cheezu!
After walking 11 halls of this place, my feet were killing me! But I can’t wait to go back next year!
For the rest of the images (and photo dump), you can check this out.
If you guys can stand my ramblings… here’s a hodge-podged clip of my adventure here as well!
Guys! With the Canon Photomarathon around the corner… I got a special treat! I’m giving away Fifteen (15) FREE VOUCHERS! All you have to do is reply back (to the FB post of this) with a picture of yourself holding your favorite Canon camera, and answer why Canon is your camera of choice.
I would be personally PMing you your voucher. For the first fifteen (15) people only!!! Pictures + answer. Go!
Get a chance to win an EOS 6D Mark II, a PIXMA G3000 printer, and a slot to represent the Philippines at the Canon Photomarathon Asia Championship in Japan by joining our largest on-the-spot photo contest! Photomarathon Philippines will be happening on Oct. 21, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. Sign up at http://bit.ly/CanonPhotomarathonPH2017
How to Register Using the Voucher?
- The first step to register for Canon Photomarathon is to create your Canon Imagenation Account
- Make sure to register a camera product and include the product serial number.
- If you already have an account, please make sure you have placed a camera model and its serial number. If not, kindly update your account.
- After successful and complete registration to Canon Imagenation, login in to your account then a prompt will pop up and ask you to join the event.
- Click on “Join” then proceed with payment.
- Please key in the voucher code for the payment:
Asia Pop Comic Con 2017
Here’s my photo dump of APCC 2017. I know it’s a late entry, but better late than never right?
One thing that impressed me this year was the NetFlix booth. I so wanted to get in, but the line was killer. Though I know the set of Stranger Things was worth sitting in. Hahaha.
Of course, knowing how cons go, you have to choose your own battles. Prioritize what you want to happen. As for me, I always go to cons to meet up with the creators of my favorite franchises. So seeing Shoji Kawamori (the creator of Macross) more than made my day, despite having to line up for 2 hours. It was so cool he was game enough to sign my personal copy of Geekology. I also gave him a copy just because he’s Shoji. I think he was pleasantly surprised to receive something from a fan instead of having to sign on something for a change. Hehehe.
The rest of APCC was more or less standard fare, but there was a significant lack of notable exhibits and attractions asides from the Netflix booth. How I missed that huge-ass Ironman Hulkbuster from the 1st year. Things like that. As usual, I felt a bit disappointed at how the panels were conducted. The workshops and panels had to share space with the media room, which gave the impression that they didn’t care so much about the talks.
As for the rest of APCC, you check check out the gallery.
Exciting times ahead for the pop culture scene. Can’t wait what happens next year.Check out my youtube channel for your regular glimpse behind the scenes! While you’re at it, drop buy the online store and get goodies from your favorite models!
Art Fair 2017
2nd time in row, the wifey and I managed to get into the Art Fair. The lines outside the Link would’ve been an immediate turn-off, but upon settling in, you’d notice people were moving quite fast. I would have to commend the security for keeping the flow of people quite fast coming into the exhibit floors. Speaking of space, it has taken up more than the usual 5th to 7th floors with the roof deck as its latest addition. Good thing sunny weather prevailed for that weekend.
Noticeably there were more installation art than the traditional hung on the wall kind. Though if you’re an avid art collector, it might be a challenge to buy that installation art and display it at home, unless you own a gallery yourself. Personally, I find experience pieces are made for the sake of the exhibit, not really meant to be bought (and taken home).
I also can’t help but notice several sections being sponsored by particular brands. Not that I mind though. It’s good to have some brands getting themselves involved in the art scene.
Mental Note: should be interesting in joining the art fair for next year and getting some cosplay prints up.
This display piqued my curiosity… Ordinary but not.
SDCC 2016 Cosplay Shoot
I know this is a super late post, but something I like to share either way. So yeah… Ever since I started going to San Diego Comic Con (as far back as 2013), it has been the tradition for me to do a cosplay shoot before the convention week.
Wonderland Studios is huge. It’s a repurposed warehouse in Orange County, 10 minutes away from Disneyland.
Of course this wouldn’t have happened without the help of friends who took their time off for this Sunday to happen. I got to share the space with Pat, who has been pretty active in shooting cosplay for his upcoming book. It’s equally awesome that A.J. has been helping us out for the past 3 years, and then some. I also got to meet some lovely cosplayers, and I think I should make it a tradition of working with new faces every year.
- Make-up: Xeng Zulueta
- Styling and Costumes: Model’s Own
- Special Thanks: A.J. Grier / Chris Mandeville / Cameron Hatheway
- Models / Cosplayers: Jinri Park / Olivia Chiu / Amanda Levine / Jackie Goehner
Here’s the 360 shot of the studio before all the mayhem started.
And here are the behind-the-scenes of the things we’ve been doing…
Asia Pop Comic Con 2016
APCC is probably the closest to a US-based con as you could experience here in Manila. From the guest line-up down to the con floor setup, it has the vibe of a small-scale NYCC. This con quickly became the one for me to look forward to every year, even coming in as an attendee this time around.
It was great to see lots of local artists finally taking the plunge and sharing their craft on the con floor this year. I particularly like Rian Gonzales’s work, and asked her for a commission (still pending as of writing). There were also more local franchises and properties showing off their latest projects (Pedro Penduko, Patintero). Another unique feature in our local pop culture market are advertising professionals (creatives in particular) also dabbling into the comic book scene. It was awesome catching up with some of them outside of the usual industry environment.
The CAGE was entertaining as usual, with notable cosplay personalities back on stage. If there was anything I missed this year, would be sitting behind the judge’s table. I hope in the subsequent years, the organizers can also work on putting more panels and workshops since they did get the entire SMX at their disposal. This year was just sparsely peppered with Whilce’s art and Lindze’s cosplay make-up workshops. Other than that, the entire workshop schedule was bare for the weekend.
Still, APCC is shaping up to be the con to attend every year for me. I’m looking forward to its growth in Manila.
Here are some 360 shots of the con floor over the weekend. Enjoy!
San Diego Comic Con 2016: In Retrospect
Every summer (in the US) marks a special time among geeks. This is when the select ones make this pilgrimage to San Diego for biggest geek orgy of pop culture. Ironically despite being labeled as Comic Con, it has mutated beyond its namesake over the years covering from TV, movies, toys, games, cosplay and everything else. In a sense, we owe comics the window for our imagination to run wild and enjoy these franchises in other mediums.
This has been my third year of attending the con, and it never fails to still leave me in awe. The pavilions of Marvel and DC among others are the mainstays, with a couple of relatively newer exhibitors to check out like the Adult Swim, Nickelodeon and Funko. Alex Ross’s “booth” is now full blown pop-up gallery with mezzanine level for VIP guests. The Walking Dead exhibit never fails to scare people with their camping ground zombie apocalypse scene.
The size of the con has been forcing it to explore other locations beyond the convention center such as the adjacent partner hotels, and the immediate Gaslamp Quarter. Nintendo has sequestered an entire ballroom in the Marriott just for their gaming center. You can’t miss the huge Kirby at the entrance. Square Enix has an outdoor games arena on Fifth Ave., and there was even a roving Ecto-1 around the neighborhood. The highlight of my con experience was the Final Symphony concert, held in the Copley Theater. That left me in goosebumps and tears.
DC let go of alot of trailers for their upcoming DCEU lineup. Most of which you can already see online. My friends who braved the crowds of Hall H, had the chance to experience them in IMAX-like screens surrounding the walls. Marvel of course had Dr. Strange, which isn’t really much of a surprise at this point. I’m not really a Hall H nor a Ballroom 20 kind of guy. I’m already happy attending those nondescript panels veering more into the technicals of things.
Well, here’s the hodge podge of stuff I saw during this year’s con. Enjoy guys!
Update 08.18.16: Finally installed Cardboard, so I can upload 360 images! Hooray!
Movie Review (IMHO): Suicide Squad
*** BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE, THIS LITTLE OPINION PIECE OF MINE IS SPOILERS-LACED. DON’T BITCH ABOUT IT IF YOU GO ON READING. ***
I’m not the type to get affected by critic’s reviews of the movies, and would watch something regardless. Actually, all this bashing of the movie got me more curious to watch it. Hence, on opening day, I squeezed the chance between meetings.
Off the rack, story-telling is lack luster. It felt rushed. Too many characters to introduce and take care of. As we flipped through Amanda Waller’s portfolio at the start, a good intro was made for Deadshot and Harley, but quickly died down for the rest of the squad. Captain Boomerang and Katana even came in as an afterthought with little flashback to fill in their backstory. The movie tried hard to connect the characters to the audience only to fall short of explaining anything. If you’ve been reading the comics, then perhaps your stock knowledge can fill in the gaps.
A huge chunk of the movie is all about the setup, but the rest of the movie was spent just walking around Midway City. The action sequences were nice when they were there, but the rest of time was rather boring to watch. Nothing really significant happened. It even slowed down when they all decided to go for a drink, while Enchantress was building whatever weapon she was building. Which is also another point of contention: what the hell was she making? And… how did they know it only took a bomb to destroy everything?!
I have to commend the actors though for trying to uplift and make use of what was left salvageable in the story. There is only so much Will Smith and Margot Robbie could do. Jared for the lack of screen time couldn’t make much of a dent. The rest of the characters are easily forgotten in the mess of the story. With one just being introduced while they about to deploy, only to be killed off when he dared to defy Ms. Waller in the middle of the mission.
A reasonable amount of fans and critics are complaining about the Joker — a lack there of, being one of the iconic villains in the DC universe. More so that it is Jared Leto, and as expected, his performance was top notch. The problem: this isn’t a Joker movie. It’s about the Suicide Squad. Hence, no matter how good a Joker he may put up, his role would really be a glorified side kick to Harley, at least for this flick.
Now there is also the absurdity we have to consider. I can understand the plot holes in the story, but there is a major mismatch between the anti-heroes and the main villain. Most of these characters are the brawler-type, often fighting on a street level. The Enchantress runs on a magical show. She along with the brother could’ve easily made quick work of the squad, but committed the dumbest mistake for the sake of pushing the plot forward and giving the team a fighting chance. Personally this, seemed like forced issue. They could’ve opted for another villain within the DC lore that has the same nature in terms of strength and abilities. Then it would’ve been a fair fight. Given the cameos of the Flash and Batman, I was starting to look for them during the final confrontation given the size of the scenario. Heck, wish Wonder Woman was there, at least that would have leveled things off nicely.
I think WB’s biggest weakness is trying to play catch up with knee-jerk reactions rather than setting their own pace to tell a story. They are trying desperately for the audience to feel for the characters who have only been introduced for a few minutes. Unlike Marvel movies, which took several years in the making.
That being said, I suspended disbelief and did enjoy Suicide Squad to some extent.Check out my youtube channel for your regular glimpse behind the scenes! While you’re at it, drop buy the online store and get goodies from your favorite models!
Final Symphony: Themes from Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy has always been one of my favorite RPG games. I was constantly playing from FF III well until XIII and XIII-2. To experience live orchestra music from the game was nothing short of surreal. Classical orchestra music introduced by way of gaming cultivates an appreciation from a younger audience and changes the conversation of how such music is perceived.
This was an event outside of San Diego Comic Con, so non-attendees who are fans could also watch. It was held in Jacobs Music Center on the edge of downtown, almost near the freeway entrance. It was quite an uphill walk from the convention center, but given the traffic it was the faster alternative. It was rather austere in terms of pop-culture presentation, and I guess the orchestra venue wants to maintain the classic appearance of the place. Though there was a Cloud Strife cocktail at the bar.
Brought to you by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to the show, there was a Q&A panel with Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy. His last involvement with the series was with Final Fantasy X (e.g. Jecht, Tidus, etc…) Hence the music for the evening came from most of the games under his helm. It was funny how he was commenting on the difficulty of the questions coming from the floor. They ranged from the technicals of differentiating ASCII characters per scan line to get unique shapes and images from the inspirations behind each of the characters. The latter most couldn’t remember much anymore after sheepishly admitting they were a done a long time ago for him. A fan even got the chance to have his mint-condition copy of Final Fantasy III (for the NES).
From the get-go, I was in awe imagining the scenes from the games, heightened with an amazing score. Quite an elevation when you’ve been hooked on then game that has been accompanied by midi-based music. The symphony opened with Terra’s Theme (FF3) and suddenly I was transported to the town of Narshe in a cold winter evening. It then progressed to the all-too-familiar FF battle music, raising up the hype and goosebumps levels. Next was Kefka’s Theme which added a bit of comedic vibe for a few minutes. Music slowsly died out under the applause, and then leveled up again on with the Bombing Mission (FF7) and then the main theme.
The FFX set started with A Fleeting Dream, then To Zanarkand which just made my eyes swell up. After several encores, the orchestra wrapped it with the best ending ever: One Winged Angel (FF VII). The audience was just standing in applause and as much as we wanted more, their reserve repertoire was already used up for the evening.
Judge me for being cheesy, but that night left me with teary eyes and goosebumps all over. I wish they could’ve played all night or at least get a recording of this performance.Check out my youtube channel for your regular glimpse behind the scenes! While you’re at it, drop buy the online store and get goodies from your favorite models!
ToyCon 2016 (A Late Post Revisit)
I know this is a very late entry for posting up event reports, but haven’t had the time to really sit down and write a decent blog entry between shoots and editing work. Hehehe.
It’s been awhile since I went to ToyCon or any locally-arranged convention. As much as I’m excited to go every year, such feeling quickly wanes the moment you walk up the top floor of SM Megatrade Hall. People are packed like sardines the moment you step off the escalator. It’s almost physically impossible to get in with the wall of people standing just around. Space was my biggest deterrent. So when ToyCon finally announced the move to SMX, there was a sliver of hope I could actually get into the con.
Having the Pop Life FanXperience partnership elevated this event beyond the usual hodge podge of anime / toys / comic stores into something comparable to regional conventions. The event was graced with some celebrities overseas, as well as bigger exhibits the old Megatrade hall wouldn’t be able to handle. But what made an impact to me is the presence of local franchises such as Encantadia’s unveiling and booths from our local production houses. As long as this trend grows and continues, we could have a structure similar to bigger cons such as in San Diego. A growing appreciation for local ideas and properties is the long term growth for our pop culture cultivation.
Floor layout was still a bit shakey perhaps because SMX is a quick leap from the previous space. I hope this eventually gets filled up as the years would go.
Congratulations to Cholo, Azrael and the rest of ToyCon! This should be your new home from now on.
Found an interview video of Dean Cain during the con.
Check out images from my brief experience here:
Art Fair Philippines 2016
A tad bit late to post, but better than never right? Caught the last day of the Art Fair thanks to some friends reminding me to visit since it was just walking distance from the house. The exhibit halls are actually temporarily re-purposed parking levels in The Link. You pay an entrance of P180, which is fine given the entire place was enclosed and air-conditioned. The sheer volume of people though strained the ACs, making it quite a warm experience when you walk near the popular pieces. There was also a booth setup by Jethro of the famed Van Gogh is Bipolar cafe along Maginhawa. His exhibit area had a separate line, which would’ve taken an hour to get in. Most of the art ranged from the masters such as Arturo Luz, to visiting artists from other countries to the local up and coming. There was one section on Japanese artists which had heavy anime inspiration. The wifey and I were tempted to buy a piece if the price was right… too bad art is still out of our budget at this point. So we were just to gawk and take pictures.
I can’t help but notice that most of the pieces especially by the younger artists veered towards the absurd and surreal, as if everybody was channeling Dali and Picasso. Save for the established masters of course, which had their own flavor into things. It was a visual treat nonetheless, which left me with some ideas to work on for future concepts and shoots. Always make it a point to visit exhibits, especially from media outside of one’s specialty. That’s one way to bringing in new inspiration into the medium you choose.
There’s nothing much to say at this point really… the art work would just leave you mesmerized. I can’t wait for next year… might be crazy enough to exhibit too.
More on their website.