Comic-Con gives su­per­hero lift to Venezuela

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

SU­PER­HEROES, wiz­ards and Jedi Knights have de­scended on the Venezue­lan cap­i­tal. And while they may not be able to save the coun­try from its spi­ral­ing eco­nomic cri­sis, fans at Cara­cas Comic-Con are count­ing on their heroes to at least help them es­cape their re­al­world prob­lems for a while.

For three week­ends, through July 31, fans are pay­ing trib­ute to the worlds of comic books, video games and sci-fi at the 10th Cara­cas Comic-Con, the lo­cal edi­tion of the in­ter­na­tional pop cul­ture fest.

It comes at a time when a pun­ish­ing re­ces­sion, food short­ages, hy­per­in­fla­tion and vi­o­lent crime have left Venezue­lans des­per­ate for heroes – or even vil­lains – to come to the res­cue.

“It gives us space to breathe in the mid­dle of this po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion,” said Jhoan Guz­man, a 25-year-old chemist who is to­day wear­ing the white face paint and red lip­stick of his al­ter ego: Bat­man’s arch-en­emy Joker.

“This is an al­ter­na­tive to help us for­get the world we’re liv­ing in, to en­joy our­selves do­ing some­thing we love.”

In­stead of lin­ing up out­side the su­per­mar­ket for ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties, at­ten­dees flock to a con­ven­tion hall in a Cara­cas mall to pay homage to their fa­vorite pop cul­ture phe­nom­ena: Avengers, Star Wars, Harry Pot­ter, Poke­mon and Game of Thrones, among oth­ers.

Some even show up in cos­tume, just like at other ComicCons world­wide – chief among them the gi­ant gath­er­ing each July in San Diego – though here the get-ups are often cob­bled to­gether us­ing what­ever ma­te­ri­als are at hand.

Ann Mary Fa­yard, a 34-yearold fash­ion de­signer, was decked out as Har­ley Quinn, the Joker’s side­kick, a cos­tume she made from scraps.

“I re­cy­cle ev­ery­thing. What­ever cloth is left over, de­sign ma­te­ri­als. I save money and tap my in­ge­nu­ity,” she said.

“I like cos­play [cos­tume roleplay] be­cause I can let my imag­i­na­tion fly. It’s a way to free your mind of so many prob­lems and spend time do­ing some­thing else.”

Venezuela is tee­ter­ing on the brink of col­lapse, dev­as­tated by the global plunge in prices for its main ex­port, oil.

Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro’s gov­ern­ment is strug­gling to con­tain the cri­sis, fu­el­ing op­po­si­tion calls for an end to 17 years of left­ist rule.

The doom and gloom have not kept self-de­scribed “geeks” from shelling out 1800 bo­li­vars (about US$3 at the lat­est of­fi­cial ex­change rate) – more than a week’s pay at min­i­mum wage – to at­tend Cara­cas Comic-Con.

Con­ven­tion or­gan­iser Daniela Pao­lillo said she ex­pected some 20,000 vis­i­tors.

One of the top is­sues they are talk­ing about, said Pao­lillo, is when they will be able to play Poke­mon Go, the wildly pop­u­lar video game in which play­ers roam the real world hunt­ing for car­toon mon­sters with their cell phones.

Thy­fany Ron, a mem­ber of the Poke­mon Venezuela fan club, said there is still no lo­cal re­lease date for the game.

And it is un­clear how safe it would be for play­ers in a coun­try with one of the world’s high­est rates of vi­o­lent crime, where smart­phone users are fre­quent tar­gets on the street.

But Comic-Con is a time to for­get all that, said Maria Pinto, a 19-year-old psy­chol­ogy stu­dent dressed up as Star But­ter­fly from the an­i­mated fan­tasy se­ries Star vs the Forces of Evil.

“We’re liv­ing in times of cri­sis, but we’re look­ing for a way to free our­selves and shed that stress,” she said. –

Photo: AFP

De­spite hy­per­in­fla­tion and a crip­pling re­ces­sion, hard­core fans are still show­ing up in droves to the 10th an­nual Cara­cas Comic Con.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.