Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New model needed

We need a new model. Something small, intimate that focuses on the work and the artists. STGCC has the Artists' Alley but that is not enough.

We need something like The Millionaires Club.

Makes you feel like a millionaire even after spending tons of cash on North European comics.

Or things like this

and this

KL's Comic Fiesta is huge but they remained focused on the artists. Its feel is more Comiket than San Diego Comic Con. Rows of tables filled with doujins and self-published works.

Anyone with cash to spare to kickstart this? Don't think it will cost a million.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Educating Rena

Ok, autobio is not the only mainstream in Singapore comics. (see previous post) Educational comics is popular in Singapore as well. Singapore parents are willing to spend a lot of money on providing tuition and buying assessment books for their children to do well in school. Some of these get trickle down to educational comics. Otto Fong's Sir Fong's Adventures in Science is one successful example.

A new online educational comic, The School Never Asked, reminds us that there can be a social role for comics and cartoons in Singapore. People do not take comics seriously, so to deliver an important message about sexuality and relationships in this kiddy medium is subverting expectations. Kudos to the creators. The comic is colored by one-eyed Xiao Yan, the artist of The Girl Under The Bed.

As for how serious comics and cartoons in Singapore can be in the past,

Date King 2

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.