Contact! Encounter with Indonesian Comic Book Readers community (part two of two)

There are several fan communities existing in Indonesia.  Some of them can be quite specific (such as the Jakarta Saber, a group of Jakarta Star Wars fans who like to cosplay and do lightsaber fights), while others can be quite broad, such as the Indonesian Comic Book Readers.

Om Aji Widodo invited the Facebook group to meet up at a cafe in Jalan Bulungan, to chat and trade their comic collections. I was the second car to arrive after Om Aji, and he was very warm and welcoming. I met other traders and collectors, as well passersby who were curious about it.

Mr Aji explained to me to me in detail, how the American comic book fans started to gather together and acknowledge one another. Some people are blessed, others are very specific in what they like collect. One guy, for instance, specifically loves Golden Age Superman comics and anything related to Bizzaro (Superman’s defective clone). Another guy was so esctatic

 

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One of the interesting people I encountered was an alumni from Universitas Indonesia named Rama. He’s a psychology lecturer who also writes comics in a regular basis.

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Rama Reksoprodjo and Arvin posing together at the

Rama is the writer for several comics which are published by Skylar Comics. One of his comics is currently being developed as a motion picture which will be released later in September 2016.

 

Throughout the several hours I spent with them on that Sunday afternoon, the comic book fans have several peculiarities:

One has been collecting comics since he was young, and even at his age of 40+, he still collect them and store a huge amount of his collection at his parents’ house outside of Jakarta.

Another is married with children, and budget his expenses very carefully. He likes to collect good Spider-Man comics. The mainstream Marvel Universe Spider-Man, not the other variations. He works as a contractor in the construction industry.

One guy, as I mentioned before, specifically loves Golden Age Superman (that is the old 1930s-1950s Superman who was married to Lois Lane, until he died in the Infinite Crisis), as well comics that have Bizzaro.

Another guy works as an IT manager and has huge amount of collection. He also shared some personal information, which really struck a chord with me.

One lady who wears a hijab, loves Fables and comic book stories that tells human drama. Not really much into superheroes, but she enjoys Neil Gaiman’s.

It’s a real challenge to map out the broad range of comic book fans, but that meeting that day exposed me to huge plethora of information about the ones in Jakarta.

 

 

Contact! Encounter with Indonesian Comic Book Readers community (part 1 of 2)

I’m a comic book reader. In this day and age where there are a plethora of media to choose, comic books remain one of my favorites. Why? Because comic books are (usually) cheap and accessible. Accessible, as in it has a visual art that conveys a lot of story, as well some dialog and textual descriptions which explains the story further. It is also sold in many places, and have a low price barrier.

Nevertheless, over these past years.. well, since the 1990’s, I’ve been collecting a lot of comics? How many? Roughly this amount pictured below.

Comic collection 2016 08 04

 

With so much haul in stored in my place, I decided it was time to meet other comic book collectors and trade with them. Mr Adji Widodo was kind enough to invite me to a swap meet (uniquely called US Comics in the Trunks or YuSit) at Fri3nds.Co cafe.

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Meeting the Indonesian Comic Book Readers community

Tips: Koleksi komik – single issue vs trade collection

Note: the following post is in Bahasa Indonesia. Basically, this is an explanation regarding collecting comics in single issue vs trade collection forms.

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Bagi para penggemar komik asing, ada istilah-istilah yang patut diketahui. Komik berawal sebagai buku kumpulan cerita bergambar, dan dicetak dalam kertas murah sehingga bisa dikonsumsi oleh banyak orang dengan biaya terjangkau. Kini, menurut statistik tahun 2015 industri komik Amerika menghasilkan pemasukan sebesar 1.03 miliar dollar dengan 90 juta dollar dari hasil penjualan komik digital melalui toko-toko online seperti comiXology, Amazon, Play Store, Apple Store dll.

Lalu bagaimana dengan koleksi komik Amerika dari negara Indonesia? Ada beberapa hal yang perlu diketahui:

  1. Indonesia lokasinya jauh dari Amerika Serikat. Untuk pengiriman komik yang baru terbit bisa dibutuhkan sekitar 3-4 minggu untuk tiba di Tanah Air… itu kalau mau pakai biaya pengiriman yang termurah.
  2. Kurs Dollar Amerika terhadap Rupiah akhir-akhir ini stabil, sekitar Rp13.500 per 1 USD

Ada dua cara untuk mengkoleksi komik cetak.. kumpulkan komik single issue (yakni sebuah buku komik dengan jumlah halaman sekitar 24 – 32 halaman dengan berisi sejumlah iklan) yang berkisar $3 hingga $5 per edisi.   Cara kedua adalah mengumpulkan trade collection, yakni sebuah buku bundelan satu alur kisah komik yang lengkap yang biasanya berisi 5-8 issue komik yang dicetak ulang dalam bentuk paperback atau hardcover.

Kedua cara ada untung ruginya.

 

Single issues:

  • Terbit secara berkala, biasanya sebulan sekali
  • Harganya $3 hingga $5, kalo dikurskan ke Rupiah saat ini sekitar Rp45rb hingga Rp75rb.
  • Enteng dan gampang dibaca, dan kalo sudah sampai halaman terakhir bisa bikin penasaran untuk edisi berikutnya.
  • Lebih berharga ketika dijual kembali

Trade collection:

  • Mengumpulkan satu story arc (alur cerita) secara lengkap, sehingga jumlah halamannya lebih banyak (120 hingga 400 halaman)
  • Harga cenderung lebih murah. Contoh, Justice League vol 1 (Origin) mengumpulkan Justice League (New 52) #1 – 6. Masing-masing issue harga covernya $3.99, jadi kalo dibelikan masing-masing harganya $23.94, sementara harga trade paperback-nya adalah $16.99. Tapi kadang-kadang bisa jadi seperti Star Trek Ongoing volume 1 yang mengumpulkan 4 issue pertama Star Trek Ongoing memiliki harga pasar senilai $18. Kalo beli masing-masing issue jumlahnya 4 dikalikan $3.99 = $12. Lho, kok lebih mahal?
  • Terbitnya beberapa lama setelah versi cerita di single issue selesai, kecuali pada saat-saat tertentu (contoh, Star Trek Countdown #4 terbit bersamaan dengan trade paperback collection-nya pada bulan April 2009).
  • Nilai jual kembali tidak setinggi komik single issue.

Jadi, kembali ke pilihan anda… lebih enak mengumpulkan komik bagaimana?

 

Salam Fiksilmiah!

Star Trek Beyond: My first red carpet experience [Update]

On July 18, 2016 the Fiksilmiah community was invited to the red carpet premiere of Star Trek Beyond by United International Pictures and Telkomsel through my good friend, Hilmy of the Indonesian Star Trek community. [Update, some minor details corrected. Joe Taslim didn’t arrive late, but was schedule to arrive at that time]

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The premiere was also attended by Star Trek Beyond cast member Joe Taslim (who plays the antagonist Manas) and other celebrities. I didn’t get to spend time with Joe, but I was lucky enough to meet up and chat with magician Romy Rafael whom we shared mutual friends.

Arvin and Romy Rafael
Arvin and Romy Rafael taking a selfie together

 

Many members of the Fiksilmiah community attended the event. Those who weren’t wearing any Star Trek costume took time aside to take this group pic together.

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From left to right: Priska, Jefrie, Rian, Marvel, Arvin, Icha, Mungni, Ferzeno and Sandy

The invite told us the event starts 6.30pm WIB (Western Indonesian Time or GMT +7), but everyone were waiting for the big celebrity to arrive. The red carpet has been rolled, but till 7pm there were no signs of Joe. Luckily, our invitation also included meals and drinks coupons. (Yay, free food!)

Finally, at about 7.30pm Mr Joe Taslim arrived at the red carpent and was greeted with Michael Giachinno’s Star Trek theme. It was a wonderful media event, with the MC repeatedly stating that we’re all getting to watch it 2 days before the worldwide release! Finally, when Joe passed by our position Mungni tried grab a picture with him with some success.

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The theater doors were finally opened at 8pm and we were ushered into the room with 3D classes. After a while (as the seats were mostly filled), Mr Joe Taslim came to greet us and told us to enjoy the show. Icha, Mung and I moved one row up and to the central vacant seat and got to enjoy in its 3D amazing glory.

TL;DR, the red carpet event was awesome… Joe Taslim arrived and was welcomed by the fans. Afterwards, he entered the theaters and welcomed us to enjoy the show. The movie itself was awesome and very intense. Really worthy of being called Star Trek in spirit with an action that surpasses any previous Trek movie.

Interview with a Bowman James, space explorer

“I’ve been to nine planets in twelve years and it’s starting to show,” the man said in an even voice with a hint of weariness.

“How many of those planets you discovered?” the interviewer asked.

Davidic Bowman James stared at the interviewer confusingly. “Discovered?”

“Yeah, discovered,” the man holding a recording device said. His assistant, a female in a simple business jumper holding a video recorder quietly whispered to the interviewer’s ear. The man looked at James, and nodded a few times. He looked at James apologetically and said, “I apologize for my last question. Let me rephrase it another way. ‘How many planets did you visited and verified yourself?”

Planetary verification is the probably the most tedious job in Kingdom space. Planetary telescopes and interstellar probes can be deployed and record telemetry from distant stellar systems. The telemetry was gathered and then interpreted by a series of calculations. These calculations would later determine whether there are planets or not in those starts many light years away. While it’s possible to send an unmanned space probe to record and verify planetary data on distant starts, nothing beats the excitement and pride of sending a manned spacecraft to confirm the planets’ existence. A good set of eyes beat any computerized interpretation any day, the old saying goes.

Throughout his career in the Interstellar Exploration Corps, James has visually confirmed over forty planets and stepped foot on four distinctive ones throughout his ten-years career. He never saw a lush life-supporting planet though, not unlike the Paradise where he’s currently on. His mind wandered at this experience as he focused back on the interviewer’s last question.

“I’ve visited forty-nine planets and set foot on four of them. All of them were visually verified by me and my fellow crew,” James answered. “The first planet my ship visited twelve years ago was a dwarf planet at the edge of the Herculean system. The dwarf planet had a very erratic orbit, which creates a jump line once every two solar years.”

The interviewer feigned interest and asked a different question, “What about those planets you set foot on. Did any of them supported life?”

“No. None of them did, although all four of them were terrestrial and located within the Goldilocks zone.” James described in detail about the prerequisites of life-supporting planets: the star’s radiation has to be at a certain amount, the planet’s atmosphere must be able to filter cosmic rays, and the planet’s atmosphere have to have series of precise conditions to allow life to not only survive, but thrive. Centuries ago his ancestors were obsessed in finding planets that contain water. James encountered many planets with water, but again, the conditions were not right enough for the planets to support life. Either the atmospheric proportion weren’t right, or the planet’s gravity was too strong. Eventually, James resigned to his fate that finding a habitable planet is like winning the impossible lottery. It takes a lot of luck to get one. Which was probably why the Kingdom only have three planets that support life, one which is Etena Prime… the Kingdom’s Gem on the edge of the known frontier.

The interviewer from Eterna Media Network asked a few more questions about James’ experience in space, what his spacecraft was like and how his crew came together. After fifteen minutes which felt like fifteen hours, James was more than happy to leave the interview room.

 

Copyrighted 2016 Arvin N. Chandra

Back from a writers’ retreat

Hey all… I just got back from a writers’ workshop led by Mr. Larry Brook. I’m so amazed to be among many wonderful writers, and the insights I’ve gained from Mr. Brook are invaluable. Anyway, I’ve written a new chapter to my original science fiction story. There’s a bit of romance and space travel in the mix, but I hope you enjoy it. Be right back after the break!