As a fan of popular culture and anything geeky, I eagerly read entertainment new articles and watch YouTube videos on what went down during that year’s San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) or New York Comic Con (NYCC), and after looking at countless pictures, I often wish that one day, I would be lucky enough to snag myself a ticket to SDCC. However, while I wait for that day to come, every year, sine last year, I have been attending what I call the “Big Three” fan conventions in Metro Manila- NexCon, ToyCon, and the recently concluded Asia Pop Comic Con.
Now that those three (conventions) are officially over, and after observing the kind of booths and people that attend each convention twice, I decided to create a little guide for convention newbies as to what to expect in each convention. Also, I hope that this guide will also help you figure out which one you might want to go to, and your costume, if you want to come in costume.
NexCon is the first convention of the year, and usually happens around April or May. This convention is definitely smaller than both ToyCon and Asia Pop Comic Con.
Aside from the usual cosplay contests, celebrity guests, and very interesting panels, they also had the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator Grand Tournament. Basically, teams of five or six compete against other teams to see which team is better at handling situations on the bridge of a starship. (Just imagine that you and your friends are the bridge crew of the USS Enterprise or any ship from “Star Trek”).
If you are a Whovian, you will definitely see more of your kind here, and some Star Wars cosplayers as well.
The booths aren’t a lot, but Filbars is always there (actually, they are in every convention), and Whovians can also get some Whovian and other British show related merchandise in this convention.
Aside from Filbars, the Philippine chapter of the 501st Legion, the official international Star Wars Imperial costume organization, is usually present in each of these conventions.
The attendees of this convention are a mix of Trekkies, Star Wars fans, Whovians, DC and MARVEL fans, and some anime and game fans as well. A group of girls, however, decided to take Pinoy pride to the next level and came as the four Sang’gres from “Encantadia” (a Filipino fantasy drama that was just remade recently), as there was going to be a panel about that that day.
You can choose to come in costume to this one, or, wear a pop-culture themed shirt or hoodie.
ToyCon, which usually happens in June or July, aside from the usual cosplay contests, features a wide selection of toys and figurines. Some of the toys for sale in the booths are truly vintage, and every year, they hold LEGO contests, figurine making contests, and there is always an exhibit of vintage Coke toys.
This convention is the biggest in scale as it has more booths and more people attending. If you are a Whovian, there might be some people dressed up as the Doctor or his companions, but there are definitely booths here that you can go to get a Sonic Screwdriver or a TARDIS t-shirt.
For me, one of the biggest highlights in this convention, aside from the towering 25 ft Voltes V they put up, was the Stan Lee Excelsior Exhibit which had movie and tv props, posters, and memorabilia and posters that were signed not just by Stan Lee, but by the actors of the MARVEL Cinematic and Television Universe.
Most of the attendees wore anime themed costumes, with smatterings of MARVEL and DC cosplayers on the side. I was really happy, however, to see that someone had come dressed up as Ahsoka Tano from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” at this year’s convention.
Asia Pop Comic Con
Asia Pop Comic Con or APCC is the biggest out of the three conventions, as the organizers usually manage to snag some great celebrity guests. For example, this year, “Stranger Things’” Millie Bobby Brown and “X-Men’s” Nicholas Hoult were present, and aside from the usual meet & greet and autograph and photo session, the two had separate panels that attendees could attend for free. Also, they have Hall M, which is where they show upcoming MARVEL movie clips to a select group of a thousand people.
There are less booths here as compared to ToyCon, and this year, there was an abundance of booths selling FunkoPop figures and pricey collectibles.
Aside from the 501st Legion, Fightsaber Philippines was also present at this con.
This convention caters mostly to Western Pop Culture, from Disney princesses to the usual MARVEL and DC superheroes. There is a smattering of anime here and there, especially during the cosplay portion, but not as much as ToyCon.
This year, there were less Whovians around, and more Potterheards wearing Hogwarts robes. Some of the most amusing cosplays I saw this year was a guy going around dressed as a shark mascot, Indiana Jones, and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
I had planned to come in costume to this one, but I ended up wearing a Marauder’s Map t-shirt as I had no more time to prepare one.
Save up for this convention, especially if you want an autograph/photo, meet & greet session with your favorite celebrity guest; and for the board or card games and figurines that are on sale in the booths.
This convention usually happens around September or August.
So, those are “The Big Three” in a nutshell! I hope that this was able to inform you as to what to expect in these conventions, and I hope that this has also given you an idea of what to wear, whether you will be going in full costume or not.
See you on the convention floor!