SINGAPORE: The Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) is taking place this weekend. It is believed to be its largest exhibition to date.
To be held on Sep 6 and 7 at the Marina Bay Sands, the pop-culture exhibition aims to draw about 45,000 local and regional fans. To do so, its organiser Reed Exhibitions has prepared a line-up of 27 comics, toy and cosplay personalities.
Leading the list of comics guests is award-winning writer and artist Cameron Stewart, who is currently working on Fight Club 2 with fellow guest and artist David Mack.
Joining them will be Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos, Thor artist Olivier Coipel and returning artist Harvey Tolibao. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic artist Andy Price, and tokidoki creator Simone Legno will also be joining the show.
Convention-goers can also meet over 160 artists from Singapore and other countries at STGCC's Artist Alley.
Last year’s edition of STGCC saw a record 40,000 participants. The enduring popularity of comics, which continues to grow exponentially worldwide, can partly be attributed to the faster speed of distribution nowadays, according to Assistant Professor Lee Hyun Jung, from Nanyang Technological University’s College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences.
"The fandom among the young generation is definitely related to the popularity of J-wave,” she added. "I think it has been derived from manga culture, anime - the so-called otaku culture from Japan." Anime is a strong presence at STGCC. This year, for example, fans will get to meet voice actor Tomokazu Sugita, who has performed for popular anime such as Haruhi Suzumiya.
For comic artists like Stanley Lau, who has been called a "rising star" at DC Comics, the popularity of the event is pushing him to do better. "The quality of your art is really important," he said. “Of course, on the other side of the spectrum, we are also talking about how to promote yourself, how to establish your fan base so eventually you have people looking at a great product on a daily basis, and eventually engaging you for work. I think that itself is pretty challenging."
COSPLAY AND TOYS
The comics industry is no longer restricted to just comic books, and that is clear from the strong presence of cosplay stars and toy producers at STGCC. In addition to cosplay stars Lenneth Xvii and Aliga, Hong Kong-based Hot Toys will be celebrating its recent acquisition of the Star Wars licence with a life-sized Star Wars costume display. Hot Toys will also be unveiling an exclusive Iron Man figure.
Other toy producers such as Bandai Tamashii Nations and Singapore's own XM Studios will also be showcasing their products at the event. Toy creators, such as Angry Woebots, Alex Solis and Scott Tolleson, will also be present. A new mobile game, Coin Hunter by Cherry Credits, will also be launched at the event.
The appeal of cosplay - a combination of costume and roleplay that started in the 1990s, and which has since grown into a massive subculture worldwide - lies in the recognition from fellow anime fans, said cosplayer Lenneth XVII. "When people see you from afar and scream out your character's name, it is like the biggest moment, because you know that you have done well."
Cosplayer Wilson Cai said he is motivated by nostalgia: "When we are young, we like heroes from the animated series, cartoons that we watch. Kids actually look at us and say, hey, our hero is real! And so that actually brings up a sentimental feeling."
For toy designer Matt Fabris, the emerging industry of customisable toys is more akin to art: "When you buy a custom version, no one else in the world has it. These toys can range from S$70 to SS3,000 - it just depends on the size and the amount of time it takes to make it."
Tickets for STGCC are priced at S$19 for a one-day pass and S$25 for a two-day pass, and will be available at the event itself. - CNA/av/xy
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