One ring – of stalls – to rule them all.
September’s ending woke up to the breaking of inhibitions. Arrows flew, ink was spilled, and fandoms were unboxed as cosplayers strutted through Bonifacio High Street in the collaborative event between Warner Brothers TV and local collective Geekigan, last September 30.
Martial arts groups and combat sports troupes also stepped up the podium as tributes signed up for Archery Attack’s battle ground – think paintball sans the pain while running around with bows and cushioned arrows.
Independent local comics creators and collectives such as HMT Studios, which has received commissions from major game and comics labels, dazzled at the Comic Alley tent. With its artists and groups, Comic Alley collectively encouraged visitors to take up the craft itself of creating as stalls did not only sell prints and zines but vellum paper, inking pens, and related creative paraphernalia. Many of the artists started out as fans of the greats.
Tucked away in one of Bonifacio High Street’s retail stores, another booth held board game tournaments, and not just of the snakes-and-ladders variety, but immersive campaigns unfolding over storylines with distinct lore and innovative rules and mechanics.
Social enterprises and homegrown arts and crafts stores also set up shop. From Pandacan, Manila, Mayown brought hand-crocheted Travelbuddies plush toys. Youth enterprise shone with online store Strokes PH’s pop-up stall, which started out as fundraiser between two geeky cousins who loved to paint their fandoms onto ergonomic objects like tote and handbags.
Once relegated to the fringes of the classroom, geekery now finds a more welcoming atmosphere. Conversations with store owners, from The Appraisery’s founder, one of the metro’s earliest board game cafes, to illustrators hired by giants like DC and Marvel, revealed a general trend towards a wider acceptance of geek culture.
While it is inevitable that this acceptance is tied in part to the increasing marketability of geek culture, there is an optimism that returning fans, emerging from amidst a curious crowd, will carry the flames that the first fans, now creators themselves, first lit. It is the hope of agents like these young entrepreneurs, creatives, and long-time fans of their respective crafts that geekery goes beyond a fad, A Thing, and settles as a part of our culture.