APCC 2018 – Meeting the Artists

There’s a saying “never meet your idols”, which is commonly identified in a negative light. Well, I personally met several of my idols this past Asia Pop Comic Con, and I have nothing but praise for them.

Personally, my typical routine during comic conventions mostly consist of exploring all the different booths, attractions, and buying a handful of art from the local artists. This year, I went out of my way to actually explore and at least try to talk to the local creators and some of the foreign guest artists during APCC 2018.

I was fortunate enough to have dropped-by on a fairly chill Friday and got the chance to speak to Mervin Malonzo and Phil Noto, and then got to talk to them again and Rian Gonzales on Saturday.

Truth be told, I was totally surprised when I saw that Phil Noto was actually at APCC this year. Imagine my delight when I first saw him at APCC. To put this into context, I am a big Phil Noto fan. His art caught my eye when Marvel rolled-out a Black Widow comic book where Noto was the artist throughout that amazing run. There was just something about the way he draws that makes the images pop out and have that cinematic vivid feel to it. I immediately fell in love with his art, and made it a point to follow his career even after his Black Widow run.

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I mustered up the courage to approach him and actually just converse with him during the convention. I told him that I love his work and one of his many fans, I was surprised with how humble he was and appreciative of the praise, especially coming from a complete stranger. While we were talking, I also found out that for Friday he didn’t have any art prints to sell due to a fluke with his baggage, to which I promised to return the following day to purchase one. Noto was also really accommodating when I requested to have a photo with him, and for me that was just one the biggest highlights of this year’s APCC.

The really crazy thing about this though is that I really wanted to have a comic book signed by Phil Noto. The problem, though, is that I own digital copies of his comic book and I had to scour APCC for one of his Black Widow books. Luckily I was able to score a Black Widow No. 7, which also happens to be the issue that had Daredevil in it.

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I also got the chance to speak with Mervin Malonzo. If you are not familiar with Mervin Malonzo, I suggest that you check out his work on his graphic novel “Tabi Po”. At first, my main intention was to purchase one of his graphic novels “After Lambana” for the wife as a surprise. This turned into a conversation with Mervin trying to make him remember Phoebe (the wife), even mentioning that Phoebe interviewed him for his “Tabi Po” graphic novel and TV show. During this conversation Mervin and I exchanged stories about his work and how awesome and fresh the TV show was. Mervin was even kind enough to go along with my request that I return the following day to have him autograph the book for Phoebe. Mervin really kept his word the following day and even remembered the conversation we had and in particular the request I made.

It has also been a tradition of mine to purchase artwork from Rian Gonzales, or otherwise known as Rianbowart for the same reason that her art is captivating and filled with eye-popping colors, the same reason I love Phil Noto’s art. Rian has always been one of the friendliest artists that I’ve run into during conventions and the same still holds true this year. I was actually able to catch-up with her and as usual got art prints from her. Unfortunately I was unable to actually strike-up a conversation with her due to the influx of people and the timing of it all.

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The good people of Kyusi Company was also just really a bunch of great people. Hanging around their booth, even for a few minutes, was also just a joy to do. Being a group of artists, their art varies and caters to different fandom. The same can be said with their personalities, having a group of people with different personalities really bodes well for fans of their art as they are easily relatable.

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Overall, the artists, be it local or foreign, are arguably the backbone of the convention scene. Without these artists, the comic books that we all love and treasure would probably cease to exist. The sad part about this, though, is that these artists aren’t enjoying the type of fanfare that the actors receive. With how the artists treat their fans, with the respect and appreciation that they show their fans, I would really love to have these artists get the spotlight in future conventions. Because, really, artists deserve this, its time we shine the spotlight on them.


That rounds up my personal experience and highlight for the 2018 Asia Pop Comic Con. What was yours?  Let us know in the comments section below or jump over to our FacebookTwitter , Youtube, and Instagram. or Email us at geekendgladiators@gmail.com

Also please check out our coverage for the 2018 Asia Pop Comic Con here.

Also check out our podcast called In the Car After where we talk about the movie right after we watched it!


Gino is the Gladiators’ resident TV and comicbook aficionado. He is Matt Murdock by profession in the day, without the vigilante crime fighting at night. He believes that the lightsaber is the best weapon during a zombie apocalypse.

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