The three members of NCT DoJaeJung drove NCTzens into a frenzy when they appeared as music performers for this year’s Fandom Party at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Float venue at San Diego Comic Con. As their first U.S. appearance as a subunit, they came as part of a promotion for their Z2 Comics’ graphic novel “NCT 127: Limitless.” Right after their performance of “Perfume,” Jungwoo shared they had arrived in San Diego only a few hours before. Keep in mind that their set started at 10:30PM, and they had very little time to talk during their thirty minute set. Only an hour earlier, Doyoung, Jaehyun, and Jungwoo were seen zooming by the red carpet and mingling with select industry guests.
Engaging the crowd, Jaehyun asked who was from out of town. To no surprise, nearly the entire crowd raised their hands. “First of all, we’re here to enjoy the party together,” said Jaehyun. “I heard that the story is based on our universe, so I hope you all stay tuned.” After the vocal unit’s performance of “Dive,” both Jungwoo and Doyoung spent time showing off their English to the screaming crowd.
Setting up the conversation, Jungwoo opened with, “Should we talk a little bit about our graphic novel?” Doyoung followed to explain the story in more detail. “NCT 127: Limitless is about the growth of the NCT members by crossing between dreams and reality.” He continued to express how excited they were to have a graphic novel based on their universe story, with their songs featuring as characters as well. Jaehyun closed out the brief discussion before they ended their set with “Kiss.”
When he referenced Limitless as a “comic book,” Jaehyun used airquotes and Doyoung copied him. They likely did this gesture since the series is labeled as a Korean manhwa, but it is considered in the U.S. as a comic. “Please support us in the upcoming NCT 127 album, hopefully very soon.” At the time, Jaehhyun was referring to NCT’s 2023 comeback, “Golden Age,” which is now set to release on August 28th.
A day after the members finished headlining the party, Asia Pacific Arts spoke with Z2 Comics CEO Kevin Meek on the show floor to ask how the partnership between Z2 Comics, Fandom, and SM Entertainment came to be. Meek has worked at Z2 Comics for a number of years, first as General Counsel and COO before becoming its CEO. The publishing company has grown exponentially, focusing on a different market than the superhero style stories that the big companies often highlight. Its focus on music has forged partnerships with famous musicians, such as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Mikey Way of My Chemical Romance, and NCT 127.
When asked on how the company obtains these partnerships with such talent, Meek answered, “At the time when we started, we worked with emerging artists and told the stories they wanted to tell as we know how musicians are so creative. We’ve built it from there, and now we’ve put out more of these types of books than any publisher worldwide.” K-pop is just the latest genre Z2 Comics has dived into, with 2023 marking one of the most exciting collaborations yet. Previously, the publisher sponsored last year’s Fandom Party, and decided this year was the time to make a splash.
“We’re thankful for them, SM Entertainment, and Universal,” Meek said. “As far as SM Entertainment, since we’re doing the ‘NCT 127: Limitless’ comic, this was a natural progression of that. We went to them and proposed, ‘We’re going to be doing this party, they’re looking for a musical act.’ They loved the idea and we went from there.”
For fans wondering if this is just the beginning of Z2 Comics’ relationship with SM Entertainment, K-pop, and other international artists, Meek said to “stay tuned for big plans.”
Click on the photo below to see all our photos from the party on Facebook!