Story by Emma Kalka / Photo courtesy of ReedPop
Convention plans to bring Comic Con experience to Seoul
Diehard fans of just about any aspect of popular culture are no doubt familiar with the large conventions that take place all over the world – specifically the mother of all conventions: San Diego Comic Con.
They bring in top stars from movies and TV shows to do panels and often release never-before-seen trailers and sneak peeks. Cosplayers fill the halls, often posing for photos. Not to mention, they often have exhibition halls filled with guest artists and swag from all manner of brands, such as Warner Bros. and Marvel.
Fans in South Korea can now rejoice, as event company ReedPop is bringing a similar experience to Seoul. Over the past 10 years, ReedPop has launched events all over the world, starting with Comic Con New York in 2006, and continuing through to the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. It currently runs 30 such events. This is the company’s first foray into South Korea with its Comic Con brand.
ReedPop CEO Lance Fenstermen said in a recent interview with Korean media that the goal of Comic Con Seoul is to tailor the experience specifically to the fans’ wants and needs. It’s something he said they do with all their events.
“All Comic Cons, such as those held in New York, Seattle, Shanghai and India, are based on local fans, so they have their own characteristics. Comic Con, which is held all over the world, is composed of high quality and premium content, and we’re proud to have a mindset that prioritizes fans,” he said.
He added that he feels the Korean fandom has a great love for pop culture. “I don’t doubt that they will give ReedPop a lot of guidance on how to go and which events to plan. We will listen to the fans and strive to meet them.”
He said that overall, Comic Con is a pop culture festival – a showcase for all pop culture including, video games, comic books, animation, toys and movies – where many fans can gather and hang out together.
Already the convention is off to a strong start – announcing a list of guests that includes “Walking Dead” star Steve Yeun. The actor grabbed the attention of local fans last year when he accompanied comedian Conan O’Brien on a trip to South Korea that resulted in both of them appearing in the music video for Park Jin-yong’s single “Fire,” as well as, filming a special segment that ran on O’Brien’s show “Conan.”
Since then, he’s also appeared in Shin Yeon-sik’s “Like a French Film,” and attended Cannes Film Festival to promote Bong Joon-ho’s latest endeavor “Okja.” In the Netflix film, Yeun plays an animal rights activist, who acts as an interpreter between the group and Miji–the little girl who befriends Okja, a genetically enhanced super-pig.
This will be Yeun’s first official fan meeting in South Korea, though he did attend a surprise fan meeting on the U.S. television channel, Fox, six years ago.
Another Hollywood guest, along with two other big-name guests, are set to attend the convention. Though as of publication, they had not yet been publicly announced.
Aside from that, Comic Con Seoul will host panels with C.B. Cebulski, Vice President of Marvel in China; world-class cosplay duo Narga and Aoki; Tony Nicholson, a cosplayer and TV personality from Beijing; costume designer Cho Sang-gyeong, who’s worked on “Old Boy,” “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” and “Handmaiden;” and Shin Jong-min from EGA.
Along with the panels, Comic Con Seoul also features an artist alley, entertainment stage and a cosplay competition – Korea Championships of Cosplay.
The competition is open to anyone attending Comic Con Seoul, though all costumes must be hand-made – no store bought costumes allowed. It is a skills-based competition with prizes in several categories including armor, larger than life, FX and needlework. The winners receive a plethora of prizes including entry into the Crown Championships of Cosplay at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2018 along with VIP tickets to the event, cash prizes and free tickets to Comic Con Seoul 2018.
For a full list of rules and to apply for the competition visit the Comic Con Seoul website.
The inaugural event is set to take place on Aug. 4-6 at COEX in southern Seoul. A number of exhibitors have already signed on to host booths, such as Dreamworks, Warner Brothers Pictures, King Kong Studio and SAMGanimation, with more set to be announced.
There are a number of ticket packages available. One-day tickets are 20,000 KRW for Friday and 27,000 KRW for Saturday and Sunday. Geek Passes (2-day) are 40,000 KRW and Super Geek Passes (3-day) are 50,000 KRW. Special Star Passes are also available for 300,000 KRW. The pass includes a one-on-one meet and greet with the two Hollywood stars set to attend, as well as early entry into the venue and front-row seats to all stage sessions. Tickets are available for purchase in Korean and English through the Comic Con Seoul website.
What Comic Con Seoul experience will be like is yet to be seen. As Fenstermen says, every convention ReedPop organizes is different. It will differ from other Comic Cons, but may also differ from local events that are already put on each year in the country.
“Every Comic Con follows the characteristics of the city and the locals, so the content is different depending on where it is held. Because it is an event based on fans, we also hope that all Comic Con content will be different and distinct,” he said.
“ReedPop is always open to fans so please visit Reedpop.com and write your opinions. We will organize our events in the direction fans want, and we will always try to meet the needs of our fans.”
Emma Kalka is the music editor of Groove and who also runs music blog Discovering Korean Underground, which cover music, artists and events in the underground/independent music scene in Korea.