18 December 2010

11-12.12.2010 - Singapore Toy Game Comic Conventions (STGCC) Days 2 & 3

Day 2 at STGCC began not at the convention itself but at the nearby Marina Square Shopping Mall where I bumped into a seemingly lost Ivan Brandon. My good deed for the day was pointing him in the correct direction to the convention hall. I had just taken my lunch and was on the way to collect my books from the car, or I would have gladly walked him to the convention.

It was also payday so I had more money to spend on comics. :)

First up was the Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca signing. They were both at the Marvel booth and this wonderful tag team responsible for the Invincible Iron Man run were paired for the first autograph signing slot. They were busy catching up with each other and talking so unfortunately, there was little eye contact made with the fans, including me, who were queueing up for their autographs. Salvador was so engrossed that he used a black marker to sign on the black background of the Iron Man omnibus. I was to find out later that they were meeting in person for the first time that morning... and to think, it had to happen right here in Singapore! I requested for both their autographs to my Invincible Iron Man omnibus as well as the wonderful Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra mini-series from Salvador Larocca. They also gamely signed my multiple copies of Invincible Iron Man #1 (freebie edition). At their respective Walk of Fame sessions, I would add Matt Fraction's autograph to my 24Seven Vol.1 TPB as well as pose for a picture with him.

I had to join the Esad Ribic queue again as I realised I had missed out on his autograph for 24Seven Vol.1 TPB. He was surprised that anyone would ask him for that one, exclaiming "Wow! That's certainly a first!" His line was moving somewhat slower than the Alex Maleev one beside him, so I had passed my 24Seven Vol.1 to someone in that line with only one item for Alex Maleev to add to the collection of autographs. So, back in 2008 at the first STGCC (then merely STCC), Sonny Liew had signed my 24Seven Vol.1. Now at STGCC 2010, I had added 4 more autographs to the same volume as they had all contributed to the same volume. BTW, a huge "Thank you!" to whoever it was that helped me with Alex Maleev's autograph!

Alex Maleev continued to sign books even after time was up by the side of the Walk of Fame. I asked if it he would sign my stack of Daredevil comics and he was agreeable to it. What an impressive run... wish I had brought along more books but I didn't want to break his hand. :)

At one stage, the Ivan Brandon line had only one person in line. Writers tend to clear their line faster than artists who are often inundated with sketching requests. The person ahead of me started talking to me and I discovered he had bought the NYC Mech TPB which I wanted off Ivan Brandon the day before. Although it was already signed, he was in line again to seek Ivan's signature for a panel that resonated strongly with him - that of a mosque which had been vandalised. I merely wanted to say "Hi", but ended up buying 6 of Ivan's remaining floppy comic mags instead.

Chin Yew, who once painted 40 paintings in 30 days was at the Liquid City booth. What caught my eye was a self-published mini-comic titled "Harvey Pekar". I did not hesitate in buying it as I was a huge fan of Pekar, who had passed on earlier this year. It was written by Cheng Tju, Liquid City co-editor.

One other book caught my eye and that was Xiaofen Liu aka Stickgal's "The Bitter Stickgirl Unanswered". A hardcover compilation of some old strips from the defunct blog comic where Stickgal asks the big questions in life, this was an effort to raise funds for Operation Smile. I bought one as a gift and one for myself. May we find the answers to the big questions in life that we all ask.

While hanging around the Liquid City booth, Sonny Liew persuaded me to enter the lucky draw contest by visiting various booths of local and regional comics creators and obtaining their autographs. Since I was planning to anyway, it wasn't too hard for me to agree.

Sir Fong (Otto Fong) had a booth set up hawking his three volumes of science comics. Great educational material that helps the kids learn and retain their learning - no better way than to do so via the medium of comics. Cute, bobbing head bunnies.

Hong Teng was manning the Windmill Publications booth where the first volume of Gone Case: The Graphic Novel was on sale. This was an adaptatation of the award-winning story by Dave Chua. I was introduced to Cheah Sin Ann of "House of Lim" fame, but was embarassed when I confused him initially with the artist for the "Chew!" comic strip running in the Sunday Times these days. Bought a copy of his latest comic strip "Cool Croc". Right about then, Dave returned from lunch and all four of us had a picture taken together. Hong Teng was also kind enough to present me with an art print. A pity I didn't win Hong Teng's original art in the lucky draw for Gone Case Vol.1 purchases.

Next up was the DrearyWeary booth where Troy Chin had just launched the latest volume (no.4) of his autobiographical "Resident Tourist". Always a pleasure to talk to, though he was a little apprehensive about readers' reaction to the darker direction the comic was taking with this latest volume. Brilliant work from someone who couldn't even draw when he first started! There was a mini-arcade for old-school shooters (ala Resident Tourist) for each purchase of two books. High score for the day earns you some freebies. I chickened out at the sight of the number of enemy bullets on the screen. :)

I headed over to Ken Foo's booth where I picked up a copy of "The Diary of Date King" by his publisher Adrian Teo and illustrated by Ken Foo. He looked absolutely astounded that anyone wanted to buy his comics... ;P

I met the two Phils (Ortiz and Yeh) over these two days where they gamely signed my comics. Phil Ortiz remarked that I had already met Gail Simone (from my signed Simpsons Comics #50). The following day, I would commission him to Simpsonise the significant other and I in a sketch. Well worth the money from a 5-time Emmy winner who has designed more than a hundred Simpsons characters. He revealed that his favourite character was Sideshow Bob, although Comic Book Guy was among the most popular sketch requests. He doesn't know why he uses a blue pencil before going over with ink other than the fact that everyone uses them.

Phil Yeh has been in the comics business for more than a 40 years and has been known as "The Godfather of the graphic novel", although he's arguably the least well-known among the guests this year. I thought his "Winged Tiger in Singapore" was rather cute and obtained his and He Shuxin's signatures and sketches for it. When presented with a copy of Popgun Vol.1 anthology where he illustrated a story by Richard Starkings, he asked if I had heard of Elephantmen which Richard created. He also said that that Richard Starkings was an ex assistant of his, although Richard's fame now outstrips him. This was one extraverted fella who just can't stop talking whether you cared to listen or not, although his anecdotes were really amusing for the most part.

Gilamon Studios now has Tan Eng Huat among their ranks in addition to the original trio of Lefty Julian, Chin Sau Lim and Michael Chuah. Two new graphic novels released and I was persuaded by my pal Winston to take up the great package that includes lotsa goodies (coloured sketch, poster, sketchbook in addition to the two new graphic novels). I was fortunate to be able to capture all four members in the same photo... after all, they were like the Baldwin brothers... almost impossible to photograph together.

One of the highlights of STGCC for me was the chance to meet David Lloyd, artist of V for Vendetta, who was a special guest of G&B Comics. He only made one signing appearance at the convention venue and the line was closed about 15 minutes before he was slated to begin. It turned out to be the longest autograph line throughout the entire convention and it was only after more than two hours before it was my turn. And I was somewhere in the middle of the line. It turned out that David signed and sketched all the way past 10pm that evening. By the time it came to me, he was no longer doing any sketch requests, but thankfully, G&B Comics organized another session at Kinokuniya the next day. There, I requested and obtained two V for Vendetta sketches. Kudos to G&B Comics for producing those limited edition prints of David Lloyd's art and giving them away free. Also, a shoutout to my pal who helped me to obtain David Lloyd's autograph for my collection.

David was astonished and pleased that I had presented a copy of "The Worm" aka "The longest comic strip in the world" - a charity book by Alan Moore and a "galaxy of greats" that David had co-edited. He asked where I had obtained my copy and I replied that it was an ebay find.

Sometime in the midst of the seemingly neverending David Lloyd line, I received a pleasant surprise. I had won one of the prizes from the Liquid City booth. It turned out to be a bag of JC Wong's (one of the contributors to Liquid City Vol.2) latest book and a poster, as well as an additional signed Gilamon Studios poster. JC Wong's latest book is in Chinese, which means that I can spend more time looking over the pretty pictures while I try extremely hard to read it.

1 comment:

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