Friday, December 10, 2010

Pop-Culture Kick-off at STGCC!

No, it's not as frantic nor glamourous as San Diego Comic Convention.

Nor is it a fantasy-scifi-centric fangasm like Dracon*Con.

But the Singapore Toy Games and Comic Convention (STGCC) showed its unique style of pop-culture kickoff when it opened doors yesterday on our Red Dot Island.

True to the mixpot "rojak"-style-culture of our island, STGCC was a heady mix of girlish J-pop, macho superheroes and weird, quirky toys.

Red Dot Diva was at Suntec Convention Centre early for the Media Preview. And when she first came up to the hall, she noticed there was already a neat line of young fans very patiently waiting for the doors to open.

When delivering his welcome speech to the media yesterday morning, Paul Lee, VP of Reed Exhibitions Singapore, summed up what STGCC was all about - "To create something for everyone.... We want to create the ultimate pop-culture experience for Singapore, for everyone."

Someone from the media asked him to give the group a sneak peek for next year and Paul stressed that it was quite impossible to forsee what will happen. For pop-culture to be cool, it is all about staying current. And pop-culture trends can and *do* change very rapidly.

Some of the celebrity guests - C.B. Cebulski, Gail Simone, Matt Fraction, Leinil Yu and Tim Tsui - were then invited to sit on the rather cozy black couches on stage to answer a few questions. (Yes, Red Dot Diva noticed the coziness factor for she was suffering quite from the lack of zzzzs.)

Red Dot Diva boldy posed the group a question about how the digital age has affected their work or the way they interacted with the fans.

Gail Simone affirmed, "It's also one of the reasons why I am very excited about this particular convention. Because Western comics are no longer just in America or just in New York City, or anything like that. Opening others up also having digital content rather than just only traditional kind of comics. It's only good for the business in getting more diversity and more different types of content. So I'm excited."

C.B. Cebulski was extremely positive about the technological advances available these days. From the fan point of view, he felt that it was lots easier to communicate using social media, and these social networks also helps bring the comic community much closer together as there is more instant access to the fans around the world.

"Gail and I have been tweeting from Singapore and the response has just been fantastic. Especially the fans in Singapore were so excited to know that we are here now. And we got amazing response from that."

From the business point of view, Cebulski definitely felt that it was easier to get access to the artists anywhere in the world. And it was easier for them to find him and for him to find them.

Regarding the publishing and distribution side of things, Cebulski observed that: "This is still kinda uncharted territory. There are different mediums out there from the iPad to the different types of streamings that there is still no set platform just like iTunes is for music dominantly. We are all working together... with the distributors, with the comic business, to find a medium that is happy for everyone. And we are striving to that. There probably is a new technology that we haven't discovered yet and the comic business would have to keep growing to adapt with it."

As the day progressed, the crowds grew increasingly busier. It was still, however, comfortable enough to negotiate through the exhibition hall without tearing one's hair out. There were a few scattered and excited young anime cosplayers but not as many as Red Dot Diva expected.

While stalking the Walk of Fame and the Marvel booth, Red Dot Diva noticed that Matt Fraction just seemed to have the longest autograph queue almost all the time! She hopes he doesn't have bloody or blistered fingers by the time the convention ends!

Based on the first day, Red Dot Diva summized that there was a rather fresh, joyous yet warm feeling at STGCC. It ranged from wonder of the comic fans for having seen Matt Fraction and Gail Simone *in person* for their first time. And to the totally excited otaku (low) screams from the crowd when Japanese pop-group AKB48 (with a large following of male fans) came on stage.

Perhaps next year, STGCC may be able to enhance the event with just an added touch of Hollywood? With Universal Studios already here, it may be a good idea to merge a premiere of a big animation or action type movie with the convention. After all, it's the school holidays and blockbuster movie season in December!

-- If you are wondering.. YES, Red Dot Diva has managed to score interviews with a few of the Marvel folks. So more blogs will be up intermittently. (Red Dot Diva sadly, does not have minions. YET) So stay on one's seats. And be patient  ;) --

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