The Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention 2010 had something in store for everyone.
Contributed By Howard Kuay
It was a gathering of boys and their toys at the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention 2010, which ended its three-day run from Dec. 10 to 12 at the Suntec Convention Centre. The convention, in its third year running, drew a crowd of 28,000 visitors from Singapore and around the region. It united the worlds of comics, anime, toys, collectibles and games, and included collectors, comic artists, toy manufacturers and retailers as well as opinion leaders in the industry.
Taking the best of the U.S. show and infusing it with an Asian flavor, the convention treated fans to an A-list line-up of industry players and talents such as comic book illustrator Salvador Larrocca, who worked on the Fantastic Four, The Invincible Iron Man and X-Men comics, Phil Ortiz, the cartoonist for The Simpsons, Hong Kong figure artist and illustrator Tim Tsui, as well as Malaysian artist Tan Eng Huat, who has been working for DC and Marvel Comics for the past ten years. His works include The Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, The Punisher and Batman. All 26 special guests from 12 countries took turns to speak in panels where they showcased their work and answered questions from their fans. Not only that, they also delighted fans at the signing booths, taking time out to take pictures, draw sketches and sign the very books that they had a hand in creating.
Co-creator of the extremely popular V For Vendetta graphic novel, David Lloyd, enjoyed the privilege of having the longest signing session of almost two hours, gamely obliging fans with his unique charcoal sketches drawn inside their books. Leonard Shoh, 39, a computer engineer and a long time Lloyd fan, was happy that he made the decision to bear with a long-haul flight and attend the event, being well rewarded with Lloyd’s insights into the book’s creation.
Marvel, arguably the biggest American comic publisher in the world, made its first appearance in Asia with the attendance of C.B Cebulski, Marvel’s senior vice-president and international talent scout who also presided over the event as Guest-of-Honor. Marvel’s open invitation for portfolio submissions saw good response, attracting 53 submissions, out of which 16 were shortlisted by Cebulski to bring back with him—Singapore might just see its first Marvel artist in due time. Cebulski said, “The level of local talent here is amazing, and with the overwhelming fan enthusiasm, being here was really a unique experience for us. I really love Singapore and its food!”
For budding artists aspiring to break into the industry, Esad Ribic, a Croatian Marvel artist shares during a panel session, “It has to be for passion. If it’s for the money, go to advertising. Comics doesn’t pay as well but it’s extremely satisfying.”
There were also live performances by Japanese girl pop group AKB48 and stunt performances by Hollywood’s leading martial arts group, Team J Philips, which gave visitors an adrenaline rush with re-enacted scenes from movies without the use of wires or rigging. The group has been involved in many blockbuster productions such as Salt, 300, Kung Fu Panda, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Pirates of the Caribbean. This year also saw the expansion of the artist alley, where local and regional artists showcased their art to increase their profile in the hopes of catching the eye of talent scouts from production company Lucasfilm and other publishers. Visitors were spoilt for choice, with many Asian comic and toy distributors and creators selling their latest creations and a handful of toy stores selling hard-to-find toys at their respective stalls.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF HOWARD KUAY|
But it was not all play—the sessions on Asian Talent In The U.S. and Asian Identity In Comics In The Midst Of Manga And Superheroes delved into Asia’s impact and influence on the industry, as it featured the input of prolific Asian talents including comic book illustrator Harvey Tolibao from the Philippines, who has worked on Marvel titles like X-Men Hellbound: Second Coming, The Mighty Avengers and Nation X.
Yet other attractions included sneak peeks featuring preview screenings of Scream Awards 2010 highlights, Animax’s Nura: Rise Of The Yokai Clan and Cartoon Network’s Generator Rex. Scream Awards is dedicated to the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres of feature films.
This year’s convention marks the first year that the SGTCC is being helmed by Reeds Exhibitions, the people behind other successful pop culture events such as the New York Comic Con and the New York Anime Festival. SGTCC seeks to be the pre-eminent event for pop culture in the Asian market, allowing budding artists and companies to break into the industry through greater exposure to fans, trade partners and media coverage. And with Singapore featuring more prominently in the global pop culture’s radar, one can only look forward to bigger and better conventions such as this in future.