ComicCon Asia
March 24 and 25
SMX Convention Center,
Pasay City

MARVEL LEGEND Stan Lee might have canceled his appearance at this year’s ComicCon Asia but that doesn’t mean the fun stops there as the convention organizers promise a weekend full of fun and fandom this weekend at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Mr. Lee — Stanley Martin Lieber in real life — is the man behind many Marvel favorite comics (Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, among numerous others) alongside artist collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. He was originally slated to appear in a meet-and-greet session during the event’s two-day run but had to cancel due to health concerns.

In February, Mr. Lee announced on video that he had been battling pneumonia but assured fans that he was getting better though ComicCon Asia and Mr. Lee’s management decided not to risk his health and “mutually decided to cancel his agreed appearance at the forthcoming ComicCon Asia 2018,” a statement posted on March 14 at ComicCon Asia’s Facebook page read.

The same statement assured those who had purchased tickets to see Mr. Lee would get a refund. Tickets to ask Mr. Lee questions were priced at P2,800 while those wanting his autograph had to shell out P4,480, and those who wanted a photograph had to pay P6,720.

There was another last-minute cancellation — Hayley Atwell, who plays Peggy Carter in Marvel’s Agent Carter series which aired in 2015, has canceled her appearance in the event “due to the perceived ‘political unrest in the country,’” said organizers in a Facebook post.

But it’s not all sad news as there are other international stars attending including; Walter Jones, the original Black Ranger from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers which ran from 1993 to 1995; Holland Roden, who played Lydia Martin in MTV’s Teen Wolf which ran from 2011 to 2017; and Taylor Kitsch, who played the titular character in the 2012 film, John Carter.

On the other side of the fandom, the cosplay community will be represented by artist/cosplayer Chad Hoku (a.k.a Hoku Props), and cosplayers Linda Le (a.k.a Vampy Bit Me) and Nana Kuronoma who will all conduct workshops about their cosplay secrets. Meanwhile, cosplay photographer Jay Tablante, alongside cosplayers Anna Redei and Enji Night, will be giving tips on how to capture cosplay through the lens.

ComicCon Asia will also be holding a Cosplay Match-Up contest where cosplayers duke it out in several categories — Animé, Gaming and Western/Filipino.

Aside from cosplaying, the convention will also see Filipino comic book artists Harvey Tolibao, Carlo Pagulayan, and Alex Milne “give expert comic book illustration techniques designed to help beginners turn to pros,” according to a release.

Veteran Indonesian comics veteran, Toni Masdiono, will also be holding a workshop on how to “create the most emotive actions that will help your comic story… [by using] stick and bubble figures,” said a post on the event Facebook page.

Armand Serrano, Walt Disney’s Visual Development Artist who has done work for Mulan (1998) and Big Hero 6 (2014), among others, will conduct workshops on how to bring characters from page to film, while LEGO’s senior concept artist, Ian Sta. Maria, will give tips on how to create futuristic character designs.

Temple University’s Dr. John Lent, publisher and creator of the International Journal of Comic Art, will give a talk about “the span of the comic industry in Asia and the role of comics in the progressive growth of Asian comic culture and its significance on a global scale.”

ComicCon Asia is holding several competitions such as the Great Filipino Graphic Novel contest (the finals will be held during the event); Project X: The Search for the New Pinoy Superheroes, done in partnership with DV Tech Media, where contestants are tasked to create a new Pinoy superhero; and One Shot, a Shark Tank-style competition where those with a “big video game and/or animation idea” will be given a chance to pitch to venture capitalists and investors. The competition is done in partnership with The StartUp Village, the Animation Council of the Philippines, and the Game Developers Association of the Philippines.

Finally, there will be an auction of the “rarest memorabilia” at the Auction Hero event, with most of the proceeds earmarked for the Marawi evacuees and the survivors of the soldiers who died during that conflict. — Zsarlene B. Chua

Tickets for ComicCon Asia are available at www.comiccon.asia.