Jakarta. Hundreds of Marvel fans and aspiring comic-book artists flocked to Bina Nusantara University, or Binus, in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, on Friday (12/01) to attend Marvel Creative Day Out 2018, where executives and artists from the entertainment giant shared their insights.
The convention was organized in Jakarta for the second time. Held by Disney Indonesia and Binus, the day-long event was a series of talks and an exhibition of works by Indonesian comic artists and design students.
Marvel as a Lifestyle Brand
For the whole day speakers had a full auditorium.
In a session "Make Mine Marvel," Marvel Comics recently appointed editor-in-chief C. B. Cebulski spoke about the company's evolution from a comic publisher into an entertainment brand that also produces films, television shows, books, mobile games and consumer products.
He referred to Marvel's history — its heyday in the 1970s, bankruptcy in 1996 — the legacy of prominent writer Stan Lee, and what Disney's acquisition meant for the company.
Cebulski boasted Marvel as the "longest running fictional narrative" in pop culture, with its 79-year existence. He said Marvel is loved by many not only because of the multitude of characters — over 8,000 — but also for the human spirit in the stories.
Another thing is the variety of creative content and products.
"We're constantly trying to make Marvel more of a lifestyle brand that everybody can be a part of," Cebulski said.
This goal was discussed further by Disney China vice president for creative, Allen Au-Yeung, who in a session "The Power of Storytelling" told the audience how Marvel characters are turned into merchandise.
Au-Yeung, who has been working for Disney more than two decades, said his work is not as simple as putting a superhero face on a clothing item, but requires making sure that the essence of the character is embodied in the merchandise.
Some examples include a small Star-Lord's walkman-shaped speaker and a gaming headset in the red and gold of Iron Man's suit.
He said the company now welcomes ideas from anyone on what might appeal to the Indonesian market.
There are 37 licensees of Marvel in Indonesia in the food, toys, apparel, stationery, and home and beauty sectors. Milk producer Frisian Flag Indonesia and Matahari Department Store are among the top five licensees.
Indonesians at Marvel
Apart from executives, Indonesian artists spoke of how they ended up at Marvel, and shared tips with emerging artists.
Ario Anindito, penciller and inker who worked on "Wolverines" and "Secret Empire: United," explained the rules behind drawing gestures and expressions of comics characters.
Fellow penciller Miralti Firmansyah focused on facial expressions in comics. Colorist Sunny Gho spoke about the rules of adding color to black-and-white graphics, while Yasmine Putri described the art of drawing covers.
Miralti and Yasmine were scouted by C. B. Cebulski in 2014, when he held a portfolio review session at a local comic convention.
Cebulski also reviewed portfolios at Marvel Creative Day Out this year. What impressed him, he said, was the diversity of styles presented by Indonesian artists.
"They're all completely different so that's something that I love here. It's that there's no set style. No one is copying each other. They're taking influences from different places and bringing different things to the table," he said.