TOKYOPOP Fam: NOTE: lots of pics below and even more here on Flickr!
It’s quite amazing to me how many places around the world have fan conventions featuring comics, manga, anime, gaming and other geek culture. Little did I imagine that I’d be visiting Honduras for a con, but the invitation was irresistible since I wanted to see for myself what fandom is like in a small country like Honduras.
Frankly, I had read online that Honduras is a dangerous country, and some creators I know decided not to join me because of that. But coming here I have learned that the people are incredible - so nice, hospitable, and fun-loving. The fans are the same as anywhere in the world - doing cosplay, drawing, having a great time enjoying their favorite passions.
Flying from LA on Friday, I changed planes at a tiny airport in San Salvador, El Salvador, where I had amazingly delicious coffee! Then we flew only 30 minutes or so to the capital of Honduras, which is a city of 1 million people called Tegucigalpa (which is easy to remember since it sounds like te and guchi, the Japanese words for hand 手 and mouth 口).
At first, when arriving, I was a bit concerned because my gracious host (Nadir) was nowhere to be found - and no one else was there to pick me up. Uh-oh, I thought. But the tiny airport with almost no travelers was relaxing, and my iPhone got reception, so we texted each other. It turns out the traffic was horrible - which I can relate to since I live part-time in Los Angeles :-)
Nadir, my host and one of Megacon’s founders, was very accommodating and relaxed about the schedule. I met Luis, one of the security guys, who taught me lots about the people and culture, and showed me the hotel’s gym (I’m a fitness freak as I think everyone knows).
Dinner the first night was at a local bar and restaurant, which featured beer, wings, and chorizo sandwiches - tasty! I met my fellow guests - artists Raul Valdes (Marvel comic artist), Alvin Lee (League of Legends artist and Street Fighter comic artist), and Kienan Lafferty (League of Legends artist and Emma comic creator); cosplayer Nadya Sonika (and TV hostess), and voice actress Isabel Martinon (the voice of Naruto in Spanish!).
We all had a fun time getting to know each other over dinner and then lunch the following day (fajitas and pupusas ). Saturday afternoon we arrived at Megacon!
Even though it’s a tiny country, there were actually 3000+ people at this convention, so it did not feel too small. And lots of cosplay and passionate fans! I was impressed with the toy collections, which had a room dedicated to them (and even featured a Kiss collection, bringing back memories of my childhood). The culture mixed American geek culture with Japanese anime and manga culture, along with a touch of local taste and of course Spanish language.
My presentation was on Sunday, but I was invited impromptu on stage with Raul to help Nadya judge a cosplay competition, which featured some impressive work for the upcoming fandom. In particular, we were terrified by a spot-on impression of Sadako from The Ring, who not only dressed the part but acted like Sadako the entire time.
Later, I joined the artists for an autograph session, enjoying watching them draw impressive commissions while I signed some TOKYOPOP promo cards for fans. Definitely the most popular guests were Nadya and Isabel, who had long lines for photos and autographs. How can one compete with a beautiful cosplayer and famous voice actress LOL!
At night, our hosts Nadir, Leo, and Gloria invited us to the Megacon dinner and party, which was at a happening club. We were treated with samba and mecha-robot dance performances while we drank tequila and danced to the Latin beat all night long.
Well, it’s Sunday late morning and I’m going to head out to the TOKYOPOP panel soon but I wanted to get my blog out in time - hopefully TOKYOPOP fans from around the world can relate to your fellow fans in Honduras. Feel free to contact me with info about (or invites to!) your local con too - it has been a wonderful experience so far here in Honduras!
Muchas gracias, Megacon!
Hasta luego! —Stu