Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Local comics no good?

A question was posed on the discussion board, asking whether Singapore comics were generally poor in quality. And of course I have been asking myself whether I should be honest in my opinion regarding this, because so far, no one has really criticized our local productions, and someone should at least tactfully do so. Tactful and art criticism do not go well together.

Of course, the first thing a critic can do, I suppose is to not compare Singapore comics to foreign ones. But considering the fact that a significant number of local comics take inspiration from foreign comics, comparisons are bound to occur.

Take Dream Walker (TCZ Studio) for example. It is similar to Bleach in a number of ways. In addition, the creator admitted to coming up with the idea last minute, which implies things. Dream Walker: The Dreamscape reads like it is scripted by someone who took pointers from a “How to Write Graphic Novels” book, that is my opinion. Given how much mainstream manga has developed in Japan in artistry and technicality, Dream Walker is not very well executed. I actually wrote a detailed critical review of the series, but decided to hold it back.

Resident Tourist on the other hand is a different story. Autobiographical comics have been around for a long time. Troy Chin may not earn much points for creativity, yet, his work is well executed. It is readable and enjoyable. He knows what events in his life to highlight and how to highlight them. There is technical skill involved. Resident Tourist displays a better grasp of manga than Dream Walker, in their respective genres. And no one else in Singapore has gone as far as Chin has, so it is always refreshing to read his work.

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