Superhero collectables on display at the Beijing Comic Con press conference. BJCC will be held June 9-10, 2016. The press conference was held at Geek Hall. Photo taken September 10, 2015. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.COM/William Wang]
China has a voracious appetite for Hollywood celluloid. Movies like Ironman and the Transformers are as familiar as The Monkey King to younger Chinese audiences. It only makes sense for the pop culture phenomenon of the Comic Convention (Comic Con) to finally hit the Chinese capital. Yesterday at Geek Hall (a bar for gamers), organizers ReedPOP told the press to mark their calendars for June, 2016.
Comic Con started in San Diego, back in 1974, and since then has become a massive multi-genre comic and entertainment industry exhibition that spans the continents. What started out as modest geek gathering for comic book fans, has branched out to movies, sci fi, gamers, cosplay communities and more. This past May in Shanghai was the first time Comic Con was held in China, attracting over 14,000 fans.
In 2016, both Shanghai and Beijing will host events, sure to pull in the crowds. At this point, there's no word on which guests will be a part of it, but hopefuls have their fingers crossed that there could be something on the scale of this year's San Diego event (which had all the key players from the new Star Wars movie on a panel).
Lance Fensterman, founder of the New York Comic Convention, buzzes when he discusses the upcoming event, and his vision of Chinese fans developing their own Comic Con culture. He discusses how Comic Con in Beijing could differ from Comic Con in the states, mixing international elements of the event with elements developed by a local team to suit the Beijing crowd.
Comic Con is famous for attracting the most hardcore comic fans out to strut their stuff. It's a place where being a Star Trek nerd will put you in a social status stratosphere. Some cosplay guests will be decked out and posing for photos, but you can hope to see many more fans dressed up as Wonder Woman or Darth Vader. Shanghai's Comic Con admittedly didn't have that much audience participation in terms of costumes, but Fensterman expects that to change with time. ˇ°Think about university,ˇ± he reasons. ˇ°The person you are on the first day isn't the same person you are when you're graduating. You grow. So I think if people get to see what we're building, and new traditions are formed and people learn about the culture of a Comic Con, you'll see them grow up with the event.
"For anybody that loves something, there's a percentage of that community that says, 'I don't just want to watch it, I want to BE it.'ˇ± If this city's cosplay events are any indication, there are thousands of Beijingers who can't wait to suit up for such an event.
In some cities, Comic Con has started suffering from sold out tickets and overcrowding. But as the Beijing event is booked to be held at the New China International Exhibition Center (where the car show is held annually), there should be no shortage of space. Fensterman is obviously thinking long term, and the exhibition center offers plenty of options to accommodate a growing convention as time flips its pages. There's a world of possibility for Comic Con in China. Time will tell if it can grow faster than a speeding bullet, becoming more powerful than a locomotive...
Beijing Comic Con will be June 9-10, 2016.
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