I always say I’m too old for conventions but I guess I’m never too old for Boys’ Love conventions.
This year, I took part in another Boys’ Love convention, this time it’s closer to home. Last 3 May 2014, my friends and I organised and held the second BL convention in Manila, Blush Convention. The theme this year is Secret Confessions and we used it to launch our second Blush anthology. However, it seems that there’s a lot of girls (and boys) who had a lot of feels to confess. Their voices are still ringing in my ears.
Like every year, I’m in charge of the panels and we have fantastic guests such as Tintin Pantoja, a fantastic Filipino comic artist who is also a happy fujoshi, and -Fe, a fellow academic and also a fantastic Indonesian doujinshi artist. Tintin talked about the process of making comics, the platforms and mediums artists can use, and encouraged the attendees to give comic making a shot as there’s a dire need for comic diversity in the Philippines. In short, WE NEED MORE ORIGINAL BL WORKS.
Meanwhile, -Fe gave the lowdown on the semantics of identifying who are uke and seem in Japanese BL before giving attendees tips on how to join Comic Market and some realities they have to face as a doujin creator. Their talks were insightful and I’m happy to have witnessed their awesomeness.
In line with producing their own comics, we also featured Bharath Murthy’s Fragile Heart of Moe, an interesting documentary about the community and industry behind dojinshi. It also tackled the complexities behind moe, particularly Boys’ Love.
I also gave a couple of talks, talks that I’m happy people had an energy to squee for. This year, I opened a new format to my talks so that I’m not the only one talking. Hence, my talks For the team: Fujoshi and their love affair with sports, BL’s New Wave: Shifts in the world of BL, and BL Shopping 101 were well received. This year, Blush was also sponsored by Sublime and I talked about their website, their platform, the ways you can purchase their texts. It seems that a lot of publishers are turning towards digital which is good for fans outside of the US… unless they have a pressing need to hold a book in their hands. Well, I can’t blame them. Books smell good and feel good, yeah?
Perhaps what excited me the most was a talk by one of the upcoming comic publishers in the Philippines, Black Ink. Black Ink is owned by one of the largest publishers in the Philippines, producers of romance novel line, Precious Pages. In the last few years, they dabbled into comics but as of March this year, they started a BL line of stories as part of their “short cuts”, one shot comics of stories with manga-like aesthetics. And yes. I did say it right. They’re publishing BL, Boys’ Love comics. The funny thing was they thought of giving it a shot but didn’t realise how popular the genre was in the country. Hence, they were quite pleased that there’s a growing support for their comics and were encouraged to do more BL stories in the future! If anyone’s interested in applying for Black Ink, you can inquire in their Facebook page!
There were also other panels on Hetalia fans in the Philippines and seiyuu and game fans. Here’s hoping to more panels will be participating in coming years! The audience were totally awesome and honestly, the energy (your loving screams still ring in my ear) is unparalleled.
Admittedly, this con, I was really happy that there’s a growing artist community who were more than willing to open shop and sell things like fan-made postcards, pins, and all that jazz. We also had girls selling BL manga which is awesome and wonderful since a lot of girls have been looking for a place to buy all these BL manga. The likes of Black Monkey Pro, Cinnamon Rub, and E.Recto have been staples since the first con, but there are so many artists and merchandisers now that I feel more proud than ever that there’s a growing community of BL fans and artists out there. And we’re turning up as a trufax SEAsia con now that we have another artist from abroad! This time, it’s Hong Kong circle AngryCandyCo!
We also had other fun activities like the photo booth, library, and our notorious butler cafe. Just how notorious is it? Check this video yourself:
At the end of the convention, people left with wanting more (and me agonizing how I missed the cafe because I was in the panels! >A< NEXT TIME!!) and here’s hoping we can get another one ready for next year!
Thank you again for all the attendees and see you gaiz for another awesome fujojo tiems!