We had 24 Hour Comics Day in Malaysia, Indonesia and even Cambodia. We were jealous. I broached the topic with JF and in 2010 we organized the first 24 Hour Comics Day in Singapore at the School of Thought. We had sponsorship from the Food of Thought, Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and G 'n' B Comics, etc. It was a good turnout as established artists like Sonny Liew, drewscape and Seiji (James Tan) took part. New artists made their debut and became regulars over the years. It was an event that some looked forward to every year.
Success rate was low that first year in terms of completing 24 pages in 24 hours. We carried on and the second edition was held at Goodman Arts Centre in 2011. More people completed their stories. By the time we organized the third edition at the Bukit Merah Public Library last year, we had enough completed stories to do an exhibition together with NLB.
This event will be held at the Jurong Regional Library (Skybridge, Level 3) from 19 March to 2 May. After that it will move to the Sengkang Public Library from 3 May to 18 June. The last stop will be the Serangoon Public Library from 19 June to 31 July. There will be a launch event at the first stop, the Jurong Regional Library, on 30 March (Saturday), 10 am to 11 am at the Programme Zone on Level 1. We will talk about how we started the 24 Hours Comics Day, its significance in light of what's happening in comics in Singapore for the last 3 years and then artists will be there to present their works.
Looking back, this simple affair has been able to cross boundaries in getting support from the different comic circles in Singapore, from the Liquid City 2 gang in the first year to collaborating with Association of Comics Artists (Singapore) in the second year and getting sponsorship from Epigram Books last year. They are the guys who published the new graphic novels by Miel, drewscape, and Oh Yong Hwee and Koh Hong Teng. The latter even turned up to show his support together with Dave Chua (whose Epigram-published graphic novel drawn by Xiao Yan will be coming out soon). Parka Blogs covered the event and sponsored prizes and Absolute Comics gave out free comics. We also have artists from the Comics Society stable joining us.
Right from the beginning it is about connecting with people and with the different communities. We wanted the artists to see the link between comics and art and got them free entry to SAM for inspiration in the first year. Given the type of connectivity we have these days, we wanted collaboration with our Indonesian neighbours. So 2 writers in Singapore worked with 2 artists in Bandung in 2011. I need to model the way, so I threw in my hat into the ring and worked on a maid story called Nanny with Fanni that year. JF had attempted to complete a story on his own in the previous year. This cross-boundary collaboration continued last year - I did a story with Jho from Jakarta and another one with Jin in Australia. Maybe one day you will get to see them.
Things don't happen in a vacuum. 24 Hour Comics Day took place at a time when there is a growing interest and awareness of comics in Singapore. We had comic artists winning the Young Artists Awards, the Liquid City volumes, STGCC, the Epigram graphic novels, greater support from NAC and MDA and of course, graphic novels continued to be a popular staple in the NLB libraries.
So what's next? A publication? Some of the stories done during the 24 Hour Comics Day events have already seen print. Sonny's story appeared in a Flight anthology, drew has self-published his as a mini. The Nanny story I did was published in Indonesia. So a publication is not too far fetched to consider.
2013 - still sussing out the potential location; a request from Malaysia to collaborate. That's something I want to see grow, writers working with artists and from different places/background.