We return to the scene of the debate unleashed last Saturday – “Local Comic-Con Lacks Wow Factor”. Some tempers flared, some nodded in agreement, and there was some defensiveness all around. While there was no official word regarding the article by STGCC or Reed themselves, not surprisingly, some of the fans have had something to add. I’ve tried to piece together some of the comments here so hopefully it’ll make more sense out of the whole thing.
What I can take away from the whole thing is this: The show has grown in some ways, firstly by having DC run it’s own booth for the first time, secondly by the larger number of anime related guests. On the other hand, if you were to compare the full guest list with last year’s you wouldn’t be faulted for noticing smaller numbers outside of Asia, and of course a shorter event. But we do have a nice mix of old favourites and new guests so there is, in some sense, something for you. I think STGCC wants to position itself not just as the comic book mecca of South East Asia, but the pop culture mecca – and the only way to do that is to expand their scope. Perhaps the knee jerk reaction from the comments last year might have been too strong, but as fans I think the best thing we can do is to support it – and enjoy the show and what it has to offer. It might be only for 2 days but the ticket prices aren’t horribly expensive, and if nobody wants to pay at all, sadly that just means that the show will shrink next year, or just die off. Go to the show, support the creators, especially the local ones, and then let your voice be heard by Reed – send in comments, emails, speak to the staff there, tell them what you loved, and what you didn’t like so much. Only this way can the show evolve – let’s not forget the sophomore year can sometimes be the most difficult one.
For the most part, fans are not the most excited about the lineup, as the article itself has mentioned. Responses run from “underwhelming” to wondering “if we need big names” and how this year “feels less epic… doesn’t feel like a CON”. And of course the good old “too much anime” line. Legendary comic industry people wise we do have Paul Levitz, and I do think the loss of G&B does mean one less sponsored guest coming. That being said, possibly the most superstar-riest artist of last year, Leinil Yu, is coming again, but with a much lower profile this time around. Not to say the western based artists aren’t great – it’s just that the artists from far and wide have been replaced with a more regional flavour, and let’s not forget it’s not easy to get some artists and writers to fly halfway around the world when they could be earning money working on their next page, especially if they have to pay for their own ticket. As one commenter said, “insinuating that regional artists are sub-par? That’s another peeve of mine”
Still, fans are looking forward to the various exclusives, like the Merlion variant of Captain America #1, the Hot Toys exclusives and to meet up and coming Kieron Gillen. One should hope for the day the convention gets as big as SDCC, but I think many also understand the need for baby steps, expecting Reed to leverage on their experience with NYCC as the local team learns the ropes and improves with each year. The issue of high booth prices was raised – the shorter event time and no increase in booth size has led many to feel that the booths are no longer economically sound. This has been mitigated for local artists by the presence of Harris Planerds, and we are very thankful for that – Planerds has been extremely active in the local scene ever since their opening during FCBD, and this time they’re even hosting our friends from Gilamon Studios, who originally had their own booth last year. UPDATE: Gilamon, due to exclusivity reasons, will no longer be signing at the Planerds booth. They will, however, be roaming the show floor as fans.
As one of our own has said, “I just think that you need the fans to have it grow organically. If you have people/fans that feel self-entitled (and take out more than they put in), no amount of extra hype from the outside will prevent the con from dying an entropy related death.”
In the meantime, STGCC itself hasn’t been sitting back – they’ve since announced the prelaunch of ZANEED’s next album, a Mori Chack and Devilrobots collaboration, more toy and card game exclusives and a tie-in with the Walking Dead. They might still have a trick or 2 up their sleeves – but at any rate, I’ll be there, and I hope you will too. Say hi if you see us!