My recent resurgent obsession with Transformers

Who doesn’t know the Transformers? Those incredible transforming toys that are more than meets the eyes? Being a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching the old G1 (=Generation 1) cartoons. Although it may look a bit dorky by today’s standards, back then Transformers was just prerequisite TV show for kids. My dad even bought me a few G1 figures. There was Ramjet (a Decepticon plane), Afterburner (an Autobot Technobot motorcycle) who can join with Scattershot (the Technobot leader), and Chromedome (a Headmaster car). When I left the US, I brought some of them with me to Jakarta, but sadly none of them survived till today.

I used to have this toy, but now it’s gone. Picture taken from TF Wiki

Imagine my delight to see two of my old robots toys, recently re-released in our local toy stores.

Anyway, some time ago I’ve started to introduce my six year old son to the Transformers franchise, starting with the kid-friendly Robots in Disguise animated series. My son really loves the animation style and storyline. So last month (in July) I bought him one of the cartoon’s hero, Bumblebee. Two years ago, I bought a Warrior-class Optimus Prime on sale in Singapore, and allowed Zach to play with him.

So there was Optimus and Bumblebee. With no villains to fight.

Then The Last Knight started to play in the cinemas. As gorgeous those Michael Bay films are, Zachary had no taste for that franchise. But funnily, The Robots in Disguise toyline were being refreshed with new waves of figures while the shelf warmers (the previous unsold toys) were being heavily discounted, from 20% off… later 30% off… even 50% off (which I bought a few) and ultimately, 70% off.

In total, I spent about a good amount of money buying more Decepticons and Autobots in the months of July and August. Was it worth it? Well, Zach really loves them and enjoy recreating episodes, and they’re better alternatives than playing with the electronic gadgets.


Happy New Year, and thoughts about 2016

Hi all. First of all, let me wish you all a Happy New Year. I don’t know what are your resolutions for 2017 are, but I hope you can accomplish them.


How are things in the sci-fi world? Well, last month I had the fortune to go to the cinema an watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and I was immensely satisfied with it. There are so many good things about it, even though it simply based on a single paragraph from the original Star Wars (1977)’s opening crawl.

We also lost of good number of celebrities last year, including Anton Yelchin and much recently, Carrie Fisher (as well her mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds). Many people were so disappointed with that year’s losses, that people keep hoping 2016 would past.


There are several sci-fi flicks that I haven’t watch, including Assassin’s Creed and Passengers. I hope I can spare time to watch them before they are off the cinemas for good.




The Encounter

Bowman jogged at a steady pace, His breathing was even and controlled, as were his steps and arms. His body temperature was warm enough for his muscles to perform what most civilians might consider a strenuous exercise, yet his body was not perspiring.

It was only sunrise at this side of Eterna Prime.  In the past two weeks since his arrival on the planet, Bowman is still adjusting to the 27 hours cycle per day. People in Eterna had a longer daily cycle and tend to be more relaxed compared to other inhabitants. Most people Bowman saw on running track were simply strolling, enjoying the nice cool morning air. Some were running along their dog, while others were calmly relaxed in this new start of the day… all enjoying the serenity, except one lone figure who was running very fast.

In the short few seconds where Bowman noticed the sprinting runner, few factual details came into his attention: the runner was running at least twice the pace Bowman was using, and was drenched in sweat. Second, the runner’s apparel was definitely designed to accommodate short distant runners: cool, light-weighted and enhancing the fact that the runner was female.

“Excuse me,” she said in a silvery voice. Bowman stepped aside to hi left without losing his pace, and glanced to the voice.

That’s one lady who really knows the joy of running Bowman thought to himself as she noticed the lady’s smile as she swiftly passed by and ran further away, into a curve and out of Bowman’s sight.

Bowman kept jogging at this pace and eventually circled back to the position where he started. It was later evident that Bowman didn’t want to jog any further when he passed a large display screen right next to the Recruiter’s Office. Usually the screen would display still images of statistics and public serve announcement, yet somehow Eterna’s Media Department has added a new spin.

“Bowman James. Scout. Explorer. Discoverer! He left his homeplanet at the age of 23. Twelve years later he has discovered forty nine planets and have expanded our Kingdom’s boundaries.”

Discover? I just explained to that interviewer that I don’t discover. I verify! Bowman thought angrily.

Even though he and his crew never discovered any habitable ones, Bowman continues to hope to discover one and join the annals of Kingdom Explorers! Bowman James. God Bless him and his crew as they embark on their next exploration journey! Bowman James. Scout. Explorer. Discoverer! Join the Interstellar Exploration Corps and make a new discovery! Contact the nearest Recruiter’s Office,” the media narrator said.

Twelve years in the Corps and I never really thought that I’ve discovered anything.

Bowman stopped still and sighed. It has been twenty five minutes since he started his jog, and he guessed his body had enough. He looked at the screen with disgust and wished he never accepted that interview weeks ago. His shuttlecraft barely landed at Eterna’s Space Terminal when Bowman received immediate orders to meet up with a Lieutenant Kelly Andrea of the Kingdom Media Network. Miss Andrea was waiting for him and quickly instructed him to follow her.

At first Bowman thought it was for a quick photo op for the recruitment posters and social media posts, which would make sense since recruitment in the Exploration Corps has been at its lowest in the past two centuries. Instead, Bowman was quickly ambushed and instructed to answer as truthfully and as diplomatically as possible. Of course, Bowman answered straightforwardly, yet still whoever was charge of the contents in Media managed to repackage and reinterpret his carefully selected choice of words.

“Some recruitment tool,” a nearby silvery female voice said.

Bowman was so lost in his thoughts that it didn’t visually register in his mind that the female runner who passed him moments ago was near him, stretching her limbs.

“Yeah,” Bowman commented sarcastically. “That guy must be some tool,” Bowman gestured to the Bowman James on the screen.

“I was referring to that advertisement segment,” she said. “I like how they utilized him to endorse space exploration. Not that many people are willing to go out there,” she raised her bare right arm pointing to the sky. Bowman noticed how toned and muscular her arms were, indication that she engages in some serious form of strength training.

“Are you a media specialist?” he asked her.

“Nah,” she replied. “My training is in nutritioun and physical therapy, but I’ve always wanted to travel to space.” The woman looked at the screen again as it displayed several planets and various space phenomenon that were visually stunning.

Bowman’s face was puzzled, as he tried to connect the dots between the woman’s physical appearance (which is very fit), her chosen profession(s), and her interest in space travel. Quite uncommon for an inhabitant of Eterna Prime. She giggled and extended her hand.

“Cassandra Mulian. Health Sciences,” she introduced herself, indicating her Service branch.

“Davidic James,” Bowman warmly replied, taking her hand. Her grip was firm and tight. “Just visiting, he added.”

“Nice to meet you, Captain James. How long will you be planetbound?”

“Prorbably another week ro two. My ship is being retrofitted and the rest of my crew are on shore leave. But I myself am so…”

“Anxious to get back out there?” she asked.

“I wouldn’t quite use the word anxious, but you’re pretty.” Cassandra smiled as Bowman paused and quickly continued,” Pretty right, I mean. I mean you’re right about me being anxious.”

Bowman felt strangely nervous around her… which was unusual for him. Cassandra knelt down to pick up her water bottle and towelette. She turned to him and said, “Captain, it’s been a real pleasure meeting you. I do have to get ready for work as my shift’s about to start. You can find me at the Medical Wing of the Space Complex.” She looked sincerely apologetic as if she very much enjoyed chatting with Bowman.

“No problem…, hmm… ma’am.” Bowman replied.\

“My friends call me Cassie,” she smiled as she quickly walked toward the door.

“Mine usually call me Bowman!” he almost shouted as Cassandra acknowledged him. “See you around, Captain Bowman.”

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




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.

arvin and rama
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.




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.


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]



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.

Fiksilmiah nonton bareng Star Trek Beyond 02
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.

P_20160718_193807 P_20160718_193808


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.