ARGUABLY THE biggest pop culture convention in the country today, AsiaPop Comicon Manila (APCC Manila) 2018 has announced the first batch of celebrities expected to attend in the lead up to its fourth edition, which will be held July 27 to 29 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Promising a “bigger and better” convention, Abdulla Mahmood, director of marketing and international business of the Al Ahli Holding Group (the organizers of the convention), said they are bringing over some of the best-known celebrities from the comic book, cosplay, and movies/TV worlds to offer convention-goers “a memorable experience filled with surprises that put Manila on the global pop-culture map,” during a press conference on May 17 at the SMX Convention Center.
Leading the Hollywood actors who will grace the event is Finn Jones, who plays the titular character in Marvel’s Iron Fist series produced by Netflix which started airing in 2017. He reprised the role in other Netflix-produced Marvel series including Luke Cage and The Defenders. Mr. Jones also played Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Also in the celebrity lineup is Jessica Henwick who plays Colleen Wing, Iron Fist’s love interest in both Iron Fist and The Defenders. She too appeared in Game of Thrones as Nymeria Sand, and played Jessica Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
Previous iterations of Comicon saw a number of celebrities participating including Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), Paul Bettany (the Marvel Cinematic Universe including the most recent Avengers: Infinity War), and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things).
Mr. Mahmood announced that Marvel and Netflix will be coming back to the convention with their respective halls, promising exclusive sneak peeks into unreleased content.
COMIC BOOK CONTINGENT
For comic book fans, APCC promises a lineup featuring some of the most talented creative artists including Lan Medina who has worked in Vertigo/DC Comics’ Fables which won 14 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (the comic industry’s equivalent to the Oscars) including Best Serialized Story.
Another iconic name in the lineup is Brian Ian Muir, a 48-year veteran sculptor who is known for creating the Darth Vader helmet and armor in the Star Wars series.
Mexican comic book colorist Alex Sinclair will also be joining the lineup. Mr. Sinclair is known for his collaborations with comic artists Jim Lee (Marvel’s The Punisher, among others) and Scott Williams (DC’s Justice League).
Mike McKone is a British comic book artist who has worked in Marvel’s Exiles series.
American painter and comic book artist Phil Noto also joins the creative pool. He is known for The Infinite Horizon (a modern re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey) which earned him his first Eisner Award nomination for Best New Series.
Returning for a fourth year in a row are Simone Legno creative director and cofounder Simone Legno and Filipino-American comic book artist Whilce Portacio.
APCC Manila also revealed its initial judges lineup for the Cosplay Authority Global Challenge (The CAGE) — Canvas Cosplay (real name Philip Odango), an award-winning Filipino-American costume designer best known for cosplaying Maui from Disney’s Moana, and Leon Chiro, an award-winning Italian cosplayer who has played video game characters including Ardyn Izunia from Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV and Dante from Capcom’s Devil May Cry.
Mr. Mahmood said The CAGE is “the biggest cosplay competition in the region” owing to its $18,000 prize pool.
He added that the lineup announcements are only the start as they are currently in talks with other artists and celebrities and will make announcements once deals have been inked.
AsiaPop Comicon Manila 2018 is scheduled to be held on July 27-29 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Tickets are priced at P650 for a one-day pass, P950 for a two-day pass, and P1,150 for a three-day pass.
Ticket holders will gain access to stage activities, performances and the main exhibition floor. The event is free for children aged five years and below for all days but they need a valid id before entering the show floor.
Tickets are available at smtickets.com.
For more information and event updates, visit asiapopcomicon.com/manila or follow its social media accounts. — Zsarlene B. Chua