An UnCon-Eventional Story: Pop Con 2019

Con-Eventional Stories are event recaps more on the event itself than the experience.


Credits to Comic Con Malaysia featured image, and the various images seen in this post. 

 I DO NOT own the rights to any of these photos (If mentioned), ALL rights belong to Comic Con Malaysia.


Personally, I do not like popcorn.

It’s crunchy, rough, caramel-ey, and it gets everywhere.

But, one’s distaste towards popcorn should not affect one’s view about an event called Pop-Con.

Even if the ‘con’ part of this event threads the line between convention and con (scam).


The FAQ is this?

Pop-con is an ACG event held on the 26th to 27th of January 2019, under the folks who run Comic-con Malaysia.

Initially teased on October 4th 2018, only to kick things off with a Nintendo Switch Giveaway on October 5th 2018, Pop-Con was at the time like most events announced near the end of the year, kind of just…there.

It’s going to happen yeah, but the majority of attention would be on upcoming events later that year such as Comic Fiesta etc, as it often does. 

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Credits to the Comic Con Malaysia official Facebook for these images

Things only started gaining traction when Pop-Con announced their biggest smoking gun to play for the event in 2018, featuring the voice actor of Lucio from Overwatch, Jonny Cruz, as one of the guests for the event.

…and not much else.

Until January 16th 2019, when they announced a followup flurry of guests such as Ario Anindito, a Marvel/DC comics artist from Indonesia, and guest cosplayers Misa Chiang from Taiwan and Angie from Malaysia to tag along for the event.

 

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Credits to the Comic Con Malaysia official Facebook for these images

Of course, there’s cosplay contests to go along with the theme set by the biggest guest Pop-Con’s got going for it, in this case an Overwatch themed cosplay contest for Day 1, and a free-for-all category for Day 2.

Non-cosplay folks do have some stuff to go for of course, such as the Pokemon Video Game Championship Series being live-streamed from this very event, for the folks who like seeing people throw 3DS pixels at each other.

But no worries not fans of Pokemon, for the Infinite Carnage booth’s got attendees covered with a lineup of game contests to play for both days, featuring titles like Soul Calibur 6, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and some DDR High Score challenge thing with its own arcade dance machine thing you’d usually only see at arcades.

Spectate, fight or dance your weekend off, take your pick.

With all that formal stuff said, let’s get going to the good stuff.


The Good Goods

  • Extended Entry Area

Events held at Mid Valley Megamall’s Convention Centre would often never let people enter pass the metal doors without tickets, unless visitors are there to buy tickets.

By setting up ticket counters to the left of the main entrance, it opens up a massive main hub between entering Pop-Con and just hanging around to catch the sights of the event without having to enter it.

Most events I suspect would almost never allow ticketless visitors to even enter the Convention Centre, but this access to a small slice of the event hall gives people that temptation to actually want to attend rather than clog up the walkway outside the Convention Centre, like most normies who visit Mid Valley do on the weekends.


  • Covered Artist Booths

I don’t know about you guys, but I do kinda feel for the folks who do art booths at any kind of ACG event, when most of the time they’d usually just get a flat open table that’s prone to theft, accidental topples and a host of stuff that can be avoided like the plague.

BUT, the fact that every art booth barring exhibitors and vendors get their own small booths covered gives a much solid impression of what art booth’s doing/selling what.

Granted, you can do the same with normal tables without the fancy white walls covering each booth, what I’m saying is that they’re much clearer in showing the booths compared to the clusterf*** lines of tables you’d see at pretty much every ACG event.


  • SPACE, the utilized frontier

In hindsight, a small well done event makes more sense than a big event that sticks a glorified parking lot middle finger at its guests for Day 2.

This is a benefit, but more on this shortly.


  • Ticket Giveaways

Okay, full disclosure, I…kinda got my set of tickets for free, thanks to a bunch of giveaways conducted by the Comic Fiesta and Cosplay Corner folks just days before the event.

This is something you just don’t see often enough in ACG events Malaysia, far as I’m aware anyways, cause I can be certain that CF ain’t gonna be generous enough to do ticket giveaways for its own event to be honest.

Point is, this is a very good move to get folks interested to attend, especially for people who initially had no plans or interest to attend, but figured taking part in a giveaway wouldn’t hurt if they win by accident.


  • Popcorn

…well, they were giving out at least 1 free small box of pretty decent popcorn to anyone with a ticket.


The Bad Blehs

  • The Price is Not Right (Insert *The Price is Right theme here*)

As mentioned earlier, I got my tickets off a giveaway from several days before the event started.

BUT, I am fairly confident is saying that the price Pop-Con was asking for its event was kinda pushing it, even for the lowest level of tickets. 

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Credits to the Comic Con Malaysia official Facebook for these images

Especially in the case of the Superhero bundle, which gives you a bunch of mostly meh merch that’s just kind of there.

Hell, even the Shopee site promoting the event were selling these items separately, at ‘interesting’ prices that…I’ll leave you to decide whether or not they sound absurd.

In short, the prices of tickets for this event are just…bloody awful, even the standalone 1 Day ticket for Rm 30’s stretching it.

I mean seriously, who would bother with a 1 day ticket when you promote that stuff after you’ve setup your 2-day ticket packages?!

Oh right, also for effs sake do the Day 2 discounted tickets thing, because if the company’s goal is to achieve some milestone of most amount of tickets unsold, they’ve certainly achieved it with that cocky Rm 30 for a 1-Day ticket shtick.


  • Solo Exits

…yeah no.

I mean, come the eff on Pop-Con, for an event that’s already so piss small in terms of the venue, what’s the point of dicking around by not letting people exit from the entrance?

Yes the venue is a very short trek back to the entrance, but it’s this kind of inconvenient BS that slowly drives distaste towards an event, especially considering that if people were going to re-enter the hall anyways, why not just let them free roam between both spaces?

Hell, I get that the food court exit is where the toilet is but come on man!


  • Poorly Staged Setup

This refers to two things, first of which involves placing the art booths right next to the sodding stage area.

As someone who’s worked at an instance of CF before, where they conveniently placed loud as f*** stage performances right next to a workshop of teaching children’s card games, the loud noise kind of ensures communicating can go eff itself since sound from speakers will always outweight speaking voices.

Seriously, I feel kinda sorry for the poor art booths that get overshadowed by the stage performances etc, even though they prolly have the best seat out of all the artists that day.

Second thing about this, is the way Pop-Con set itself up prior to the event.

Holy crap, at some point in time some folks and myself were genuinely convinced that the ‘con’ in Pop-Con was leaning towards the scam aspect of that word.

For one, why the eff did Pop-Con only announce more guests about 1 week before its event?

Normally ACG events would drop some daily if not once a week announcements about stuff that’s going to happen etc, rather than drop all their news in one shot hoping that works well enough to interest visitors.

Having Jonny Cruz coming is great and all, but that means jack sh*t if there’s nothing else to look forward to isn’t it?

Hell, I don’t recall Comic Con Malaysia posting anything about the booths coming to the event, most posts seem to revolve around the guests, and performers etc, with some one-shot mentions of things but that’s about it.

TL;DR, give NEWS in the buildup to your event people! What are you? The Ex-Government’s PR department when the MH-370 disaster was all over the country?!


  • Information MF-ker, do you provide it?

Hokay, another bit of full disclosure, I personally did not attend to meet with the guests, considering that was more of a bonus objective than anything.

So imagine my surprise when I learnt that one, apparently Meet & Greet/Signature sessions involve some arbitrary extra ticket people have to…purchase to actually get to meet the guests.

Most of this information came from folks who mentioned issues with not being able to meet & greet with the guests they signed up for because of either,

  • Time limits (5 minutes per guest or something? o.O)
  • Ran out of stock to meet/get signatures (Wait…what? I thought you lineup for that stuff and hope you can make it before the timer runs out)

And two, why the eff was this information not mentioned before, especially in the posts that were promoting these guests to death?!

Because the impression from Pop-Con’s promotional material was that this would be a pretty by the numbers meet & greet/signature session, like you’d expect with cosplay booths or signature sessions at say, an event like the KL Major last year or something.

In short, unexpected information for folks during the event can go eff itself, regardless of its reasoning to justify the event’s actions.


  • It’s not Convention Time

Yeah…kind of a risky move to pull an event near the end of January where Chinese/Lunar New Year celebrations are coming, kids are blackmailed back to school, and adults are pressured back to hell.

Granted, schedules are often tricky to get right considering bad stuff could cause unforeseen events to happen, but this is mostly a minor pickle that can be tweaked with more strategic pickings of future event dates.


The Sequel?

It’s uncertain about whether or not Pop-Con will be coming back soon, however, a couple of notes.

First up, allegedly, this is Comic Con Malaysia’s first excursion into the ACG events scene?

I can’t be certain, since I’m unsure if they did some Malaysian Comic Con thing around late 2017 to 2018, and information about these events barely exist if these events did exist.

I bring this up due to the fact that the Comic Con Malaysia page seems to be pretty new in the scene, almost as though it had never held previous events before, which could explain the event’s shortcomings.

That said, another bit of information I did got was an off the record conversation with one of the folks working at the ticket counter.

Apparently, the person claims that Comic Con Malaysia’s folks are working on an upcoming event coming April or something, uncertain about how will that play out but do keep eyes on it if you’re still up for whatever they’re planning.

Also, one interesting tidbit about the small space is that, apparently the organizing folks were not expecting that many exhibitors, booths, vendors etc, such that they just went with it.

…which is weird because I’ve noticed that folks (Mostly the performers and staff etc) were using the back hall that’s adjacent to the event hall we got, so what’s up with that?


The Verdict

You’d think that an established name like Comic-Con would be armed with plenty of experience to run an event that has more kick to it than some first timer event backed by an established company.

From what I’ve seen so far, it’s clear that Comic Con Malaysia’s got a LOT to work on to be quite frank.

It’s fine if they want to bring in big guests to carry their event, hell full applause to them for bringing in Mr Jonny Cruz to Malaysia to be honest.

However, Comic Con Malaysia needs to realize that people attend ACG events for more than just the guests, contests and goods they can only get there, so catering to that demographic of folks who aren’t there for all 3 of those should be something to be considered.

By that I mean, actually shout out to the people/exhibitors/booths/vendors at the event so visitors know about them dammit!

Also death to any on the spot terms & conditions for meet & greet/signature sessions.

…I mean, you people do know what meet & greet/signature sessions are and how they work/are expected to work right?

*END*


Author’s Note:

Thank you so much for reading!

If possible, I’d love to hear your feedback on what can we do better.

Be it the bad writing, horrible pictures, or just the fact I need more water, I’d love to hear about it.


Also,

Wonder what the event is like in the field? Check out A Con-Eventional Story: Pop Con 2019

Check out more stories over at S.I.R House, of Content 2019.


That said, siteinrelief has a Facebook page now!

And for some reason, a Tumblr now too! 🤔

Page us anytime, anywhere, Amway offers will be shot on sight, no questions asked.


 

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