Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nerd Alert!

On Saturday I went with a bunch of my co-workers to Comic World, an anime convention that's held in Seoul once a month. I love conventions because no one is more passionate than nerds and cons have a great, open vibe.
I heard about Comic World while I was doing some research before coming to Korea and it has been on my list of things to do while I'm here. Most conventions are held annually and have a lot to offer. Generally a con will have panels where you can hear lectures or talks on a variety of things, an artist's room where people can sell and showcase their work, a dealer's floor with booths selling all kinds of goods, and random other things going on like film screenings and contests and performances. Since Seoul's Comic World is held every month though (apparently there is also one in Busan every two months) I wasn't really sure how big it would be since that scale of events would be a lot to produce so often. 

As it turns out it is mostly just an artist's floor with a few vendors sprinkled outside along the street as well. I think the idea is more to showcase upcoming artists, many of whom had books and items for sale. There is really only a fraction of Japanese anime and manga that make it to the US so it was surprising to not recognize most of what was on display. Not to mention of course that plenty of it was South Korean manhwa which unfortunately I still don't have a lot of familiarity with at all. 

It was still pretty cool though, even if I had been hoping for something much bigger. The cosplayers however were out in force so there was certainly a lot to see:
I have no idea why this guy was wearing a random horse head but it was equal parts hilarious and creepy. There was also some guy dressed like a carrot. I don't even know.
Yep, according to the sign that guy is definitely named "Sausage Head". I don't even question these things anymore.
After poking around inside for a while we went to check out the vendors out front. They were selling plushies and little things like replica items from anime series' and such. I bought a couple nerdy things, a replica mask and kunai similar to the ones used in my favorite show, but the best thing I came away with from the day I scored for free. 

Since you really can't buy posters in Korea, we were all on the lookout for any big pictures or canvas paintings to decorate our apartments with. At the end of one of the rows there was a small table with a bunch of mini posters that you could take for free. Basically they were just the covers for upcoming comics but the one that I pounced on is for a fanfiction comic (fanfiction being stories created by fans using the characters/settings from an already existing work). 

Haha oh man, I love it. I'm not sure which part is my favorite- JK Rowling posing for a senior class picture, prettified Snape, or the fact that Harry is getting a ride from his father who is in Patronus form and still wearing glasses. All I know is that I need to find a picture frame for this ASAP so it can go on my wall next to the picture of Kim Jong-il painted to look like Ronald McDonald. Two amazing works of art need to keep each other company.

There is a website for Comic World but since it's in Korean and Google translate only gets you so far, we had to collect the info from a few different places. So for others who ever have an interest in hitting up Comic World, here is what you need to know:

Location: The AT Center in Yangjae-dong, Seocho-gu
How to Get There: Take the subway to Yangjae Station which is on Line 3, the Orange Line. Go out Exit 7 and then take either a taxi or a bus down to the AT Center. It's actually not even a far walk and you can just walk straight once you leave the station but we jumped on one of the green buses, number 20, that had the AT Center on its route and were there in less than 10 minutes.
When: One weekend a month, both Saturday and Sunday from roughly 10:30am to 5pm.
Cost: 4,000 ₩

Check the website for the dates each month and confirmation of times and location. I'm pretty sure it's consistently held at the AT Center but it never hurts to double check!

Trivia of the Day: The 2008 Namdaemun fire was a fire set by Korean citizen and arsonist Chae Jong-gi (채종기) that occurred on the Namdaemun, one of the most historically significant gates in Seoul, South Korea, and the first of Korea's National Treasures, on the date of February 10, 2008. The fire caused severe damage to the structure. The reason that Chae targeted Namdaemun was because it was easily accessible and had just one security measure, namely motion sensor detectors. South Korean newspapers blamed the government for not enacting stronger security measures. The Cultural Heritage Administration of South Korea said that it would take three years and $21 million to rebuild and restore the historic gate. 182 pages of blueprints for the gate were made in 2006 as a contingency against any emergencies which may damage the structure, making reconstruction possible.

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