A sneak peek of what to expect19 August, 2011 by Chad
It’s that time of the year again where comic and designer toy enthusiasts can look forward to seeing their favorite obsessions in the spotlight. The Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) returns this weekend at the Suntec City Convention Center. Yesterday, members from the press and other media were invited to preview some of this year’s key highlights.
Once again, the folks at Supermerlion are glad to return as official partners for this year’s STGCC. The event’s multi-cultural approach to all things geeky is something that we earnestly support.
C.B. Cebulski, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Creative & Creator Development, returns for his second year to hunt for talents in the region. Representing DC Comics for their first time in Singapore is none other than former president and acclaimed writer Paul Levitz.
They were joined today by Singaporean Marvel artist Benjamin Ang (who was scouted during last year’s STGCC) as well as popular Japanese cosplayer Kipi.
We’ve been following the Social Media aspects of STGCC for a while now and noticed how vocal fans have been against the presence of Asian personalities at the convention. But the top brass continue to herald this idea.
This is Reed Exhibitions Singapore and ReedPop USA’s second year organizing the event. Collaborating closely together with biggest names in the comics industry, they continue to work toward a convention where East and Western elements can collide creatively. And what better place to do this than in Singapore.
ReedPop USA’s Mr Peter Tatara referred to Singapore as a place of convergence, pointing to the country’s ability to incorporate things from around the world. He explained the success of introducing foreign pop culture into the other comic conventions they held overseas. With the aim of cultivating the interest of comics by attracting fans of other mediums too.
On a more business related note, Mr Cebulski acknowledged that while still something far away, he hoped that Singapore too could play a bigger role in comics creation in the next 10 years. He suggested the need some key figures to emerge as beacons of inspiration for the local talents.
Mr Levitz remarked that the the dividing lines between the different mediums were blurring. He cited his own childhood, a time where only one manga and a couple of French visual novels were available. Instead, children these days are exposed to a wealth of materials, something he believes will help create a wonderful new generation of creators.
Both Marvel and DC expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to meet with fans. And they hope to take away valuable knowledge from these interactions.
All of the media visitors today (many of whom seemed to be fans of one or more of the guests) had the chance to mingle with C.B. Cebulski and Paul Levitz.
Despite my ancestry, like other Singaporeans I very much grew up enamored with American culture. So while I never once touched any Manga as a child (and Nakamura Hikaru’s Saint Young Men still remains the only Manga I’ve ever read), American comics, particularly Marvel’s were a staple diet of my childhood. So it was definitely a great pleasure to meet with these two highly intelligent individuals.
Just like the companies they represented, the two figureheads couldn’t had been more different. Mr Cebulski answered all questions spontaneously and with much humor, often throwing in tidbits from his globetrotting and culinary experiences. Mr Levitz on the other hand, offered many long and detailed insights on all questions posed.
Since Mr Cebulski has returned once again to fulfill his job as Marvel’s international talent scout, we asked what him special qualities (that Singaporeans are not aware of themselves) he thought he might find in local talents that would not be available elsewhere. He pointed firstly towards Singaporeans exposure to so many different cultures but more importantly, he suggested that being able to break out of the many restrictions here would ultimately result in one becoming a more emphatic and creative individual. Aspiring artists can keep that in mind.
Representing the toys part of the convention is a lineup of exclusive collectibles and product launches. Most notably was Hot Toys, which STGCC have partnered up with to bring limited quantities of their rare figurines that were previously only available at other fairs. Marvel and DC also bring with them two comic covers exclusive to STGCC 2011 for Captain America and The Flash respectively.
The convention will see a list of Asian talents from a much wider set of disciplines this year. Kipi, one of Japanese most famous cosplayers is visiting Singapore for the first time to judge STGCC’s cosplay competition together with Tadaaki Dosai, Editor-in-Chief for Cosmode, Japan’s leading cosplay magazine. Kipi was here at the preview this afternoon to greet the media as well.
Like the other guests, we had the chance to meet face to face with this popular cosplayer and ask her some simple questions.
Kipi revealed that she had been cosplaying since she was 17 at a time when cosplaying had not quite gained public recognition yet. She was mum when asked when exactly this was lest she reveal her age, cheekily replying that it was a himitsu (secret) in a sing song manner.
When I inquired how she went about choosing these characters to cosplay, she answered that she chose characters that were physically similar to herself. Kipi admitted that she wasn’t a very good at acting, which is why she selected characters that were more in-line with her out spoken personality. Saying that her friends had once teased her when she acted as a more submissive character.
We could sense Kipi’s passion for cosplay as she had painstakingly created all her costumes by hand, paying special attention to the materials used. When I brought up this point, she answered by explaining the responsibility she felt so as not to disappoint fans of particular characters. Which was also the reason why she didn’t cosplay as characters she felt she wouldn’t be able to accurately portray.
When asked what characters she would like to cosplay as but couldn’t, she revealed that she wasn’t able to do busty characters such as Mikuru Asahina from the Haruhi Suzumiya series. Kipi quoted a time when she had once tried fitting 6 socks into her bra. For this same reason, she is also unable to wear revealing costumes such as swimwear. Her small stature also didn’t allow her to do danso (i.e. portray male characters).
The Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention 2011 kicks off tomorrow on the 20th of August. We hope to see you there! As part of our continual coverage, we’ll be interviewing some of the guests as well so do look forward to that.