So the book is out which got me thinking how unusual it is in this current climate of comics production in Singapore, which is basically more 'artistic' given that most artists cannot depend on drawing comics to survive. My take is that this explains the autobiographical trend in Singapore comics - since I can't make a living drawing comics, mainstream or otherwise, I may as well draw what I want. Thus the development of comics in Singapore as a medium of self expression. Nothing wrong with that, but it can limit the kind of stories told. There should be a meeting of audience halfway.
Which brings us back to Date King 2, and to me, it is one of the few in the market that has an eye on the market. Let's gostun a bit to look at this better.
What makes a good commercial comic that will have mass appeal? In the 1990s, it was a funny comic lampooning Singaporean’s bad social behaviour like Mr Kiasu. 20 years later, crass humour still works. Adrian Teo (story) and Ken Foo (art) are the duo behind the relatively successful Date King series, published by Epigram Books. So far, it is the only book from Epigram’s line of comics that have produced a sequel. The concept is simple: jokes about the dating culture in Singapore. The 1000 print run of Date King 1 is sold out. It is a book people like to buy but they do not like to be seen buying it because of its un-PC nature. Teo is a towkay kia and would be in the same category of those who do not depend on comics for a living. He has played the role of publisher in putting out the first two volumes of The Resident Tourist and Foo’s Freedom Love Forever. Date King is his first foray into writing comics and its success has spurred him and Foo to product Matchpoint, a school sports comic in the vein of Slam Dunk, but less PC. The humour is crass but they seem to have to tap on to something readers like.
Alternative (autobio stories) is the new mainstream in Singapore comics. But then again, you have things like Date King.