Monday, June 17, 2013

A Grand Convergence of Buyers of Assorted Playthings ( Toycon 2013 Coverage )

Sometimes, there are occasions in a year on a person's life where he has the highest regard. He (Or She) would do the extra work so that he/she would go on leave to go to that occasion to meet with friends or persons with the same interest and talk for hours on end, see the newest trends or find that elusive item that they have been searching for. There are sacrifices to be made, but it can be rewarding.

This is what the 12th Philippine Toys Hobbies and Collectibles or Toycon 2013, is all about. Held last June 14-16 at the SM Megamall Megatrade Halls 1-3, it is a large gathering of toy and pop culture fans. There are forums, display booths, various contests, media coverage and of course, merchants that sell TOYS, TOYS AND MORE TOYS!!!

I was able to attend the Convention on the second day ( June 15 ) by myself. My officemate was supposed to come with me, but other important things got in the way. It was fine with me, I can "toyhunt" better alone. I was at the Megamall by 12pm, and was surprised with the short line on the ticket booth. I was then confronted by a Marshall and said to me that the end of the line was at the other side. Slightly embarassed, I went to the end of the line. It wasn't that long and I got to the ticket booth for less than 5 minutes. The ticket price is 120php and you get a free Man of Steel bookmark and included on the ticket are discount stubs on the Big Boys Toy Store. When I already went inside, I prepared myself and my wallet and turned "ON" my toyhunt mode.

Halls 2-3 are where the merchants are, and there are a LOT. There's almost something for everyone: vintage toys, gundam models, videogames, anime figures, comic books, posters, indie comics, vinyl records, magnets, keychains, coca-cola products, art toys, lego sets, movie props, action figures, sentai, super robots, transformers, diecast cars, statues and even cosplay (costume play) accessories. The only trouble that you have is there are a lot of people, and not much space. So when a guy in front of you sees something that he likes from a merchant and would stop and check it out, it would cause "traffic" and would be burden from some. But in an event like this, you'd know what to expect.

Famous merchants are also present at Toycon as well. Big Boys Toy Store seemed to have the largest space   ever for a merchant selling mostly toys. They have 70% more floor space than the usual merchant does. is there as well, mostly selling Anime stuff. Toy Empire, Maxicollector and Sideshow Collectibles has finely-detailed statues and 1/6th figures from different movies on display, which you can buy as well ( probably would cost you an arm and a leg...and another arm.) There are display cabinets for showcase only on Hall 2 by various toy groups, but mostly feature 1/6th action figures.

Hall 1 is where most of the food stalls are and the stage is. There are parlor games being done during my stay there, plus a panel about DC Comics' Justice League as well. What I noticed is that even though they have speakers and microphones used on the stage, you cannot hear what they are saying on Halls 2-3. I'm guessing they still haven't fixed that yet during my stay there, or it was meant to be like that to prevent consumers from being distracted by the noise.

At a function room in Hall 1 is where most of the display cabinets from numerous toy groups are located. I was kind of early to go there, as most of the display cabinets are not yet filled up. Even the various statues on one side of the Function Room are not yet set up. You can see a statue of Wolverine wrapped in bubble wrap. Near the exit of the function room are submissions from the custom toys category. Again, it appears the contestants have not yet submitted their entries so it is not yet filled up. Zoids Philippines, Robot Collectors Haven, Pinoy Toy Kolektors, DieCast Collectors of the Philippines, Vintage Toy Lovers and Philippine Bricksters are just one of the groups featured on the Function Room. 

As usual, an event like this garners attention from the media and advertisers, and some of them are trying to promote their products to the attendees. A booth from an FM station was there doing some parlor games to the amusement of the crowd. I saw Survivor Philippines Celebrity Doubles Edition finalist Maey Bautista in full cosplay gear, doing a segment for her TV show. There is a local online gaming company that lets you play their game son a huge screen TV. There is a leasing company handing out flyers. Warner Brothers Philippines had a large space in Hall 2 devoted to the Man of Steel and their next attraction, Pacific Rim. Coca-Cola was handing out free "Sakto" bottles. I was supposed to get one, but I again realized that there was a long line. Pinoy Big Brother Unlimited housemate and car show vixen Jahziel Manabat was there as well, representing Zoids Philippines, eager to pose for the libido-fuled males with cameras. There are cosplayers present as well, ranging from Spider-Man to Kamen Rider Black. 

What I like about this event is there are a lot to buy from and to see and do, not unlike TAGCOM last time
 ( check it here ). Heck , there's even a merchant selling vinyl records!!! ( I saw an opened the Beatles "Abbey Road" album for just 3000php. ) During my rounds at Toycon, I was able to purchase a Marvel Legends Sabretooth, DC Signature Collection Platinum and Tin from the Metal Men, a DC Comics Infinite Crisis comic book and a  handful of diecast cars. I wanted to buy more, but I was trying hard not to overspend. I went home tired, but satisfied with the event and my hauls. 

Here's to us Toy Nerds!!! Cheers. 

- "the king"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hard Comedy...

Making people laugh is a tough business. We try to be relevant to today's audiences while still being tasteful and not offending any groups. One golden rule of making a joke is you can joke anything you want, but "Sex, Religion, Politics" is a big No-No. It's a tough business. 

So imagine my surprise when 2 practitioners of the art got some flak in less than a month. It just goes to show that Social Networks can really add gas to a small flame. 

These are top-rating comedian Vice Ganda on the "Jessica Soho-Gang Rape" issue and best-selling cartoonist Pol Medina Jr.  on the "Lesbian-St. Scho" 

The former got some ire from netizens when the famous comedian made an offensive joke on the "physically-challenged" newscaster from another network about her weight and saying that for a sex scene a "gang rape" was needed.

The latter was "indefinitely suspended" on the broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer for making a remark on a prestigious all-girls school and their lesbian students as being condoned by the people running a Catholic school... although the cartoonist feels like it is because of his earlier "Anti-Marcos" statements. 
( honestly, i can believe his angle... Pupung cartoonist got fired from the Times Journal in January 1986 because of his spoof on the Marcos radio campaign ad

the controversial strip

Now, while there are a lot of people already giving their two cents on the Vice Ganda issue and my thoughts are not really necessary anymore as many already gave thought-provoking pieces, I felt like Pol Medina Jr.'s trial hits close to home because I love his work. I can draw and sometimes copied his techniques on some of my works. Many people buy the Inquirer for the cartoonist's opinion on a recent issue. 

It is rather untimely when a 25-year old strip has already become an "establishment" in the industry and got suspended for a dated and trite issue. For the followers of the strip, Pugad Baboy has been making fun of almost anything worth being printed as a headline on a newspaper. No issue is sacred as it cannot be discussed by Pugad Baboy characters, as they say. This one received unneccessary criticism. Even the cartoonist said the strip was "tame" compared to his other strips.  

Now while we are waiting for the fate of Mr. Medina, I will say this: St. Scholastica, lighten up. Mr. Medina is just making fun of a hard truth. If you are offended, then you just don't get the reality of the joke. And to the Inquirer: have some balls to defend Mr. Medina. He doesn't deserve something like this. Show the school the nature of the joke. I don't care if you need to do a Powerpoint presentation just for that. And to Mr. Medina: just be yourself. You can apologize to the school, but don't censor your jokes. We all need that during our morning paper reading. And lastly, to any comedians: kinda scary when netizens attack you, eh? I guess the Golden rule of joke-making is still important. 

- "the king"