Nerd culture goes global at Asia Pop Con

Author blends in with Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’

Author blends in with Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’

By Wendell Gaa

“Revenge of the Nerds” was a cult film classic of the ‘80s, and one of my all-time favorite movies as a young pre-teenager growing up in Rockland County, New York.

Back then, I was unfamiliar with the term “nerd.” After seeing the protagonists in their struggles to socially “fit in” and be accepted amongst their peers was something I could instantly relate to because I had my challenges trying to socially “fit in” during my elementary school years.

In spite of constant bullying and misunderstanding, the “nerds” ultimately win respect at the film’s conclusion because of their ability to use their brains and wit to overcome the brawn of their adversarial “jock rivals.” In a nutshell, this film’s message would have a lasting psychological impact on me in that it was OK to think and act “different” and not be ashamed of who I was. I believe it is due in large credit to this film that today, the term “nerd” has become socially accepted, and even popular, to the point that being a “nerd” is now cool in mainstream culture.

Here in the Philippines, I am encouraged to see how “nerd power” has come of age after I recently attended the 3rd edition of Asia Pop Comic Con (APCC) held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Just like its counterpart events in Manhattan, the New York Comic Con (NYCC) at the Javits Center, APCC displays pop cultural exhibits/merchandise for “nerds,” “geeks” and their family and friends to explore and enjoy, from DC/Marvel attractions to all things connected with Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc.

Some attractions from left: Supergirl cosplayer, Bruce Lee doll, and Japanese anime robot hero

Some attractions from left: Supergirl cosplayer, Bruce Lee doll, and Japanese anime robot hero

While obviously not as grand or elaborate in size and scope compared to NYCC, APCC, held August 25 to 27, was quite pleasing and invigorating. One of the prime highlight exhibits was undeniably the Netflix booth. This booth featured rooms recreating scenes from current popular shows on Netflix which many of us may enjoy “binge-watching,” such as “Stranger Things” and “The Defenders.” Interactive attractions kept us occupied for several minutes. I was more than happy to see a long-time friend, Jeremy Domingo, a seasoned theatre actor who served as Casting Director helping to guide guests at the Netflix booth with facilitators and ushers. Incidentally, he also happens to be a diplomat’s son like I am. His brother, Ambassador Jesus Gary Domingo, is the current Philippine envoy to New Zealand.

We decided to explore the different comic book booths throughout the convention floor, in between window shopping for superhero-related merchandise, and watching cosplayers in their colorful superhero/superheroine outfits.

Another good friend whom I got to see again was American comic writer Fred “That Guy” Corder, founder, CEO, and creative director of Pocket Fulla Pilz (PFP) who was manning his booth showcasing and selling his “Rocketgirl” comic book series, which features different characters, including one Rashida Johnson, a Filipina-American working as a neurologist for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. I was so glad to see how Fred is continuing his promotion of his series. I learned that he will be promoting his projects this month at the Baltimore Comic Con in Maryland and at NYCC.

Actor Ray Fisher (in red), who plays the superhero Cyborg in ‘Justice League,’ being interviewed by radio/TV host KC Montero.

Actor Ray Fisher (in red), who plays the superhero Cyborg in ‘Justice League,’ being interviewed by radio/TV host KC Montero.

After a quick stop to have our photos taken at the “Game of Thrones” exhibit, we proceeded upstairs to the conference panel room where radio celebrity KC Montero hosted a Q&A with special guest, American actor Ray Fisher, who is playing the superhero Cyborg in the new “Justice League” film. The panel was one of the funniest and most exciting I have ever seen comparable to those at NYCC. Fisher enthusiastically answered questions from the crowd, and reflected his excitement through taking “groupies” with the audience, and even hugging one audience member after revealing how Fisher’s story of playing a superhero was emotionally inspiring to her after her own father passed away.

After the panel, I had the honor to have my photo taken with Fisher at the celebrity photo op booth. I found him to be one of the nicest and warmest actors I’ve ever met. I could sense how genuinely happy he was to visit the Philippines.

Earlier that day, I also got to meet another warm and friendly American actor, Tyler Hoechlin, who plays Superman on the “Supergirl” TV series and another highlight APCC guest this year.

It is lifetime moments like this that I, along with so many other fans, find so gratifying about attending comic conventions. Aside from getting to see all your favorite movies/TV shows on visual display and getting to meet your favorite actors/actresses, there’s a definite kinship that develops among people like us that makes us feel at home and reassures us how we can just be ourselves and be fine with it.

© 2017 The FilAm

One Comment

  1. Matt wrote:

    This is really a nice place.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: