The Geek Imaginarium!
By Tim Wee
September 3, 2013
Have you ever wondered what will it be like if otakus and geeks took over the world?
Well, your best bet would be the pandemonium that was the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (SGTCC) 2013. Attracting over 38,000 warm bodies this year, this was an enclosed eco system where cold icy judgement was suspended and passion burnt bright.
Having journeyed through this anarchic world, we are proud to proclaim that we survived the madness that was STGCC 2013. Finally, we understood the pertinence of the line "What happens in Comic Con; Stays in Comic Con!" from the television series The Big Bang Theory. As we passed many fans with luggage in toll, we should have known better that this was going to be a trip into a whole new world.
"What happens in Comic Con; Stays in Comic Con!”
The Iron Women
With hordes of fans invading the sanctuary of Marina Bay Sands, we were hit by a kaleidoscopic orgy of bright coloured fan costumes and personalities that left nothing to the imagination. The exaggerated cosplay features such as big dolly eyes and oversized weapons certainly brought out the persona of the costumed characters.
The Demons and Angels of STGCC 2013
Once we passed through the portal that was Hall B, it felt like we had been transported to another dimension where geeks reigned supreme. This glorification of "freaks" meant that for once being normal meant being the odd one out. It was anarchic, but a welcomed form of escape.
Despite feeling just as jarred as Alice in Wonderland, we soldiered on into the belly of the beast that was STGCC. Passing by numerous middle aged superheroes and Lolita-esque cosplay characters, we felt intoxicated by this surrealistic world. Waves upon waves of infectious enthusiasm seemed to radiate from the speakers as the crowd became submerged in hysteria.
The Bold and the Beautiful
This was nihilism on its best behaviour. To call it bucket loads of enthusiasm would be an understatement. There was a childlike wonder in everyone's eyes, young and old alike. We guessed that seeing your all-time favourite childhood icons come to life could leave one crazed.
The Childhood Idols
But, who could blame them? How often does one get to see beloved characters like Wolverine and Iron Man in the flesh (Even if it is the Asian version)? Or the famed comic book personnel who brought them to life? As such, we imagined that meeting legendary Marvel Comics’ artists Joe Madureira and Adi Granov would have certainly left most star struck. And for the lucky convention goers who managed to get their collection autographed, they must be pinching themselves constantly to check if it wasn’t a dream.
Epic STGCC battleground and comic book artist, Adi Granov
While all this seemed like pure lunacy, we observed that there was some method to the madness. Underlying this spate of mass hysteria, this utopian conclave was held firm by belief and idealism. And, this was most telling on the faces of our very own local talent present at the show.
With a specific section of the convention dedicated for local artists, the “Artist Alley” featured prominent names like graphic designer Samantha Lo aka skl0, comic artist Sonny Liew as well as toy designer Jeffrey Koh. Their presence served as a gentle reminder that local artists were holding their own against their more famous counterparts.
Graphic artist Samantha Lo aka skl0 and comic book artists Iskander and Sonny
Jeffrey, founder of the local design studio Flab Slab, is optimistic about the local artistic scene, but warned artists against “doing it for the money.” Sonny painted a cautionary tale by adding “it is going to be a bit tough in Singapore... But if you have the passion for it, I think it is definitely still possible to find a way to make it happen.” Perhaps renowned Marvel artist Joe Madureira summed it up best by saying “Just follow your heart… You just have to do the story that you feel that you need to tell and the characters that you are excited about… It is a gamble. Sometimes you make it and sometimes you don’t. But, you have to at least try.”
“…You just have to do the story that you feel that you need to tell and the characters that you are excited about…”
Flab Slab founder, Jeffrey and Marvel Comics writer/artist Joe Madureira
As Singapore seeks her own identity, our tiny little red nation has taken up the mantle of being an arbiter between Eastern and Western influence. This unique dichotomy was evident at the eclectic natured STGCC 2013. That is probably why it is the only place in the world where Iron Man can stroll alongside Naruto and still look right at home. And, precisely why we should be excited that one day our local artists will be standing head over shoulders with their unique creations at our very own STGCC!
*Overview photo courtesy of Harry Nyaw