It was a bright a cheery Saturday to kick off a series of panel discussions at the Arts House featuring comics.
First off, I went down to Funan Centre food court to meet some of the folk from a local comics mailing list. Some are published creators, some are aspiring to be published and others like me are just starry-eyed fans.
Then we made our way to the Arts House for the first panel. Moderated by Cheng Tju and featuring the art of the Malaysian cartoonist Lat, it was an informative session about how the beloved Lat started out and ended up in a career of cartooning - first from his early days learning English from listening to rock and roll records to performing well enough at school to head to town for further studies to his days as a journalist for the New Straits Times newspaper. A real-life Datuk, he was friendly and approachable nonetheless and gamely signed all the Lat books I had - Kampung Boy, Town Boy, Lat: The Early Years as well as added his autograph to the Liquid City anthology.
Cheng Tju and Lat
A portrait of Lat
Next up was the Terence Chua-moderated panel featuring Mark Waid. Mark was supposed to have arrived at SWF two years ago together with Kurt Busiek and Gail Simone, but had to pull out at the last minute. This year he finally managed to participate as a guest. The room was packed with comic fanboys and the line of questions was reflected as such (from Superman's telephone number to the gang of 4 working on "52" and why Geoff Johns is a very evil man). Someone went so far as to declare that he's here attending this panel while leaving his girlfriend to wait at the airport... and something about preferring comics to sex (too much information, dude!). Mark cruised through the autograph line and signed my set of Kingdom Come issues. I realised I didn't have many books by Mark Waid... having been more of a Marvel Zombie early in my comic reading career, thus missing out on many of the DC titles Mark had worked on, such as JLA, Superman, The Flash etc. I also asked him to autograph a CC Beck (creator of Shazam!) tribute that appeared on the inside front cover of Sandman #14. G&B Comics were giving out free comics to those who attended. I scored a copy of Valor #17 written by Mark Waid and with great art by Colleen Doran.
The final panel for the day... also moderated by Terence Chua featured Lat, Mark Waid and Causeway Child - Sonny Liew where they dished out advice to aspiring writers. I don't remember much of what was said except Lat stealing the scene with his funny quips - "I was popular in the last century...".
Sonny Liew, Mark Waid and Lat panel
Lat The Early Years featuring Lat's cartoons from the New Straits Times
Signed and sketched Lat The Early Years
The First Second American editions of Lat classics - Kampung Boy and Town Boy
Signed Kampung Boy
Signed and sketched Town Boy
Signed Liquid City Vol.1
Signed Valor #17
Signed column in Sandman #14
One of Mark Waid's autographs in Kingdom Come