International Comic and Animation Convention, Beijing 2012

ICAC is China’s response to Comic Con– an exhibition for classic comics, upcoming films, cosplay, anime, independent artists, table-top and video games, and other things the common nerd might be interested in. But ICAC is not Comic Con.  There is a distinct lack of life-size movie monsters, bad cosplayers, huge video game booths (or huge booths at all), SWAG, sci fi, and people. Granted, I was there on the last day of the convention (it went from December 1-9, which is a very long time for a convention), but many booths had already been cleared out, and you could still buy tickets at the door. It also didn’t help that the convention was spread out across 4 buildings, so that whatever population the convention did have was divided between them all.

Read more to see the break down of the exhibition halls, more pictures, and some analysis.

No.1 Exhibition Hall: Beijing comic and animation enterprises zone, nationwide famous Animation colleges and universities exhibition zone, Chinese Institute Awards  exhibition zone, animation publishers zone, cosplay performance zone, Chinese cartoon-series achievements exhibition zone, animation and modern art exhibition zone, cosplay photograph exhibition zone.

No.2 Exhibition Hall: 4D naked-eye live performance and movies broadcasting hall. The Pan-America and Asia Entertainment has tailored a cartoon theme stage musical for this convention, which uses American famous brand, the spider man and the batman as elements, combines Chinese cultural elements with naked eye 4D projection together with voice photoelectricity and live show to perform an originated international splendid show. Besides, there will be broadcasting zone for world renowned cartoon movies.

No.6 Exhibition Hall: The exhibition and sale and theme activities of America, Japan, Korea, France, etc. The subregion include international animation works exhibition, cartoon books and derivative products exhibit and sale zone, international cartoon work theme special decoration zone and stages exhibition zone.

No.7 Exhibition Hall: Chinese and international animation enterprises’ exhibition and activities zone, Chinese Taiwan comic and animation exhibition zone, French exhibition zone, popular animation writers signing zone and Magic Card competition zone.

 The population was primarily Chinese college students and young children. I went to a Kaku animation exhibition in 2007, and that was also primarily geared towards children, and included a lot more Japanese animation booths. I suspect their presence this year was squashed somewhat due to the Diaoyu Island conflict.


 There was also no dedicated location for video games the way Comic Con has. In fact, video games and films were not really present at all– the only films being promoted were animated films, and video games were only present insofar as some of the cosplayers dressed like game characters, or some of the animators used game characters in their art. For instance:


Borderlands art


The cosplay gallery

Gallery 2

The cosplay gallery 2

Chun Li, Street Fighter

More Chun Li

Even more Chun Li


Sylvanas, World of Warcraft






Pixie, Shin Megami Tensei

ICAC was fun, and there were plenty of things to look at, but it is not nearly big enough to have the appeal and life of any Comic Con. Despite being called the International Comic and Animation Convention, it focused mostly on Chinese comics and animation. Which, with guys like Jimmy Liang, is pretty interesting, but also caters to a bit of a niche market (mostly, art students and children). So perhaps it is closer to Comic Con’s roots than what CC has become. Maybe in 20 years, ICAC will be selling tickets 6-8 months in advance, and future incarnations of G4TV and Spike TV will be devoting hours of live coverage to it. However, if they would like it to look like a lively, bustling place, they should (a) have one big ICAC event a year, rather than two “big” summer and winter ICACs; (b) keep it to four or so days, instead of nine; (c) try and keep the exhibitors and vendors around for the last day.

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