Friday, August 19, 2011

STGCC 2011 Media Preview: Cosplay, Comics, Toys!

Presenter Reiko and her shiny hat
Red Dot Diva would be the first to admit that she felt a certain kind of inertia after almost 75% of the STGCC 2011 guest list were officially announced.

There just didn't seem to be a buzz or sense of excitement leading up to this year's event at all.

The vocal reactions from the comic fans have already been well documented by the Straits Times (article by Nicholas Yong) and Here Be Geeks.

Whatever the case may be, Red Dot Diva felt it was worth supporting an event in a market that is already considered small in terms of the worldwide arena. Plus, many of her friends will be at STGCC at their booths displaying their art, or going as cosplayers and fellow bloggers to give their show of support.

Red Dot Diva was almost unable to attend the Media Preview mainly because she could not get away from work. But (un)fortunately, she was ravaged by a raging sore throat and cough that never quite went away and hence, had the opportunity to attend the media sneak peek whilst being suitably drugged up with meds, of course.

The Media Preview was held at a meeting room at the Suntec Convention Centre. The first thing she noticed when she walked into the room were the display of toys!

Ahhh!! So colourful! So gorgeous! She especially couldn't help perving the 12" (ooh!) Batman Begins action figure available at Hot Toys' booth. The Bale likeness was very very good.

Then, there was the O-No Sashimi vinyl limited edition toy (see pic below) by STGCC guest and designer Andrew Bell, which looked even cuter in real life!

There were also other samples from Devil Robots, DoooDolls, Marvel, DC and Tokidoki on display.

C.B. Cebulski looking at Mico's sketchbook
A copy of Mico Suayan's limited edition sketchbook, which would be available at the Elseworlds booth, was on display as well, together with samples of his wonderful detailed pencilled art.

The Media Preview began punctually at 11 am, with presenter Reiko rattling up a very perky introduction (in a rather strange accent) on what will be happening for the day and the coming weekend. By then, Red Dot Diva noticed that the room was already filled with invited media. That seemed like a good start to an event that was said to be lacking in some ground level interest.

Ms Yeow Hui Ling, Project Director of STGCC 2011 from Reed Exhibitions (Singapore), then made a short opening speech and introduced the guests who were at the Media Preview. The guests include the famous international cosplayer Kipi, Marvel’s SVP, Creator and Content Development and international talent scout, C.B. Cebulski, and DC Comics' Senior Advisor and Contributing Editor, Paul Levitz.

Paul Levitz watching the presentation by Reed

Ms Yeow listed the various exclusives and special events that will be available this weekend. The media folks, who consisted mainly of grown men, were especially delighted with the different kind of toys up for grabs. There are also new product launches during the STGCC weekend, like merchandise from AMC TV series "The Walking Dead" and the Akihabara Japan products like T-shirts, bags and tapestry. In addition, fans can try out "Dragon Nest", the world's most popular MMORPG.

In what seemed to be a direct response to the unhappy comics fans, Ms Yeow said in a frank manner, "In line with the East-West pop-culture direction, we have strengthened our Eastern content this year, with representation in the area of Japanese comics, manga and anime, games, cosplay and entertainment."

To this statement, Red Dot Diva does not quite know how the often opposing fandoms of anime and western comics can ever be satisfied with STGCC's guest offerings. Finding that "middle ground" in a rojak place like Red Dot Island, may prove to be a tricky task for future STGCCs.

The first session was with the pretty and diminutive Kipi, with translation help from Reiko the presenter. Kipi looked so much like a real life "3D" living doll in her cosplay outfit! Red Dot Diva can imagine what it would be like when she makes her appearance on the exhibition hall this weekend. She thinks it would be Death by Kawaii for most of the otakus.

Kipi said that she was looking forward to the Cosplay@STGCC competition this coming weekend. Not only that, she is also aware that the event is a gathering place for creators around the region, and she is eager to interact with fans and creators alike.

She revealed that during the weekend, she will cosplaying as Shana from Shakugan no Shana & Meiko from Vocaloid (Saturday) and Akemi Homura from Madoka Magica on (Sunday). Look out for her!

What Red Dot Diva found amazing to learn was that Kipi makes all her costume by hand and she aims to make the clothes as close to the anime character as possible. Kipi revealed that one of key factors for a great cosplay outfit is selecting the right choice of fabric to be used for the costumes.

Kipi then ended off her session with a really sweet message said in almost pitch-perfect Mandarin to her fans. Listen to her greeting here!

SO KAWAII!!!!!!!!

Was Paul dazzled by Reiko's shiny hat?
After that dose of cute XX, the next media session was a manly comics-related one with Paul Levitz, C.B. Cebulski accompanied by Director for Industry Development, Peter Tatara.

Paul Levitz, looking very silver fox-like, had just arrived in town a few hours ago and was obviously jet-lagged. He said he was surprised to see a variation in the city architecture and an appreciation to the art of building designs.

About STGCC, Paul said, "This is a terrific opportunity for DC to listen to what people care about in their books, hich writers and artists they are excited by, what kind of stories are working. And learn from that and take it back to the rest of the gang and continue the conversations."

"And there's always a chance to find a wonderful new artist or writer. There's a talent pool now that stretches across the globe so you might never know where the next wonderful person may come from," Paul added.

It was no surprise that the conversation with C.B. Cebulski was about food and comics. The affable C.B. said, "I thought I've eaten all the crabs - white crab, chilli crab, white pepper crab, black pepper crab but now butter crab is on the top of my list." He also publicly confessed his love for chilli sauces and he will be accepting all donations of chillis and recipes during the weekend.

Of his STGCC experience last year, C.B. said, "We had a great time here in Singapore. It was a very successful show for us. We were thrilled with the outpouring of enthusiasm and love that the fans have given us. It was completely unexpected."

"What I'm looking forward to most is interaction with the fans again. At heart, I am a fan and I like meeting the fans and hearing about their experiences."

Peter Tatara gave further affirmation about the East-West direction of STGCC. "Singapore is a place that is all about convergence. And I think this year at STGCC, we are bringing together the East and West in a place that it is very genesis is about that convergence. And we could bring a heightened interest about this in the publishing industry right here. It's a place to celebrate all that's new, all that's hip, all that's cool and all that's nerdy. And it's really exciting."

Reiko posed the panel guests the amusing question of what kind of characteristics a Singaporean superhero would possess.

Paul quipped, "Well, he is clearly immune to temperature." The room burst out in chuckles. "It might be adaptability," Paul continued. "What you get about a culture like Singapore, you get an ability to function in multiple different kinds of environment."

C.B. somewhat agreed. "It has to be an amalgam of powers. It is reflective in the spirit of Singapore as a country, as a nation and of the people.... to take the influences from the best of different places to combine them and make it their own. I see the Singaporean superhero to be along the lines of Super Skrull, who has taken the best of the Fantastic Four's powers and combining all into one ability."

And of course, C.B.'s Singaporean superhero *has* to be a food-lover too!

The conversation segued about Singaporean talents and C.B. warmly introduced local artist, Benjamin Ang up to the front of the room. C.B. found Benjamin at STGCC last year, and Ben has now been signed up to work for Marvel.

In a striking red plaid shirt, the rather tall Benjamin said, "It is like a dream come true. And it is possible for Singapore to produce more talents and I'm sure C.B. will be able to find more people from Singapore and the region this year."

After the panel, everyone was invited for some noon-time nom-noms before the round table interviews began at 1pm. Many found the siew mais to really tasty. Red Dot Diva noticed C.B. and Paul refilling their plates with those evil tiny meaty things. There were also this sweet potato crispy thing and tiny green-coloured cakes but they only tasted kinda so-so.

Overall, Red Dot Diva thinks there seemed to be a healthy buzz for STGCC 2011 from the media at the preview. There were many bloggers from Red Dot Island and the region who attended, and these were the folks who had readers from the target group of people that STGCC are aiming for.

The three guests were also extremely positive and very happy to be here. And Red Dot Diva acknowledges there really *is* a lot in store this weekend, despite the lack of "big name" guests.

Red Dot Diva is definitely there at the event for the two full days.
And here's a fun thing one could do!!

** Spot the Red Dot Diva at STGCC this weekend.**
The first one to spot her and say, "I Want Tru Blood" will get a copy of "True Blood: Tainted Love" #2 graphic novel, autographed by actor Michael McMillian!

There is only 1 copy available. So keep an eye out for the Island Diva!

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