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@ Loof with Reed

So ReedPOP’s Peter Tatara and Mike Armstrong are in town for a week on their second visit to Singapore (the first being for the Singapore Toy, Games and Comics Convention 2010). After days of doing the necessary groundwork for this year’s event: meeting up with industy partners, pop culture retailers, and with only 7 hours of sleep in the past 72 hours, what do these awesome gentlemen do?

They chill out with the friends they met last December!

Sure, they were curious about tapping our brains on what kind of industry guests they could bring in for this year’s STGCC, but since you could do that online – that was just a veneer for the two Americans to guzzle down bottles of Tiger (Mike’s preference) and Asahi Silver (Peter’s preference). Read on to find out what happened!

We did get to chat about STGCC, swearing in Singapore, geek culture in Singapore, maid cafes, Geylang and durians. Not necessarily in that order. Quite a few points were raised, and hopefully we’re able to share what we remember in our drunken stupor below. Also: Travis Allens.

– STGCC is going to be bigger and better, despite the ticketing changes and the shorter duration, assures Peter Tatara, Director for Industry Development. “We don’t end an event and go ‘That was great! See you next year!’, we go back and thrash out what worked, what didn’t. We get so stressed in planning – the last thing we want is for fans to come all the way and have even one bad experience,” says Sales Manager Mike Armstrong.

– The presence of Marvel and DC will remain, an affirmation of ReedPOP’s great relationship with the comic giants, but this year’s STGCC will also bring in the anime/manga/j-pop elements that were seen to be lacking in last year’s show. Plans are underway for some major guests, like mangakas, seiyuus and cosplay celebrities to grace the weekend event. AKB48 might once again be returning too our shores – we wonder how many will make it this time.

– The announcement that gaming giant Nintendo will be showcasing at STGCC is just the tip of the iceberg to boost the gaming aspect of the convention. Last year seemed too focused on Marvel, which may have alienated the region’s target audience. They have some other big names lined up, but while we have rumors, maybe we’ll wait for things to be signed – nothing signed, nothing confirmed. Hints do include some legendary game creators, huge gaming companies that aren’t just regional, and even members of the gaming press!

– Whom do you want to see? Seems to be the common question. The fact remains that with ReedPOP’s backing and influence, they do have the ability to meet most fans’ demands – assuming the fans can agree who they want to see most. The general consensus was that it might be better to get an iconic name from the past rather than an up-and-comer to draw in the fans, but this of course is counter-intuitive, since the objective is to get more newcomers to the fandom. We do believe that a balance has to be met, and given Peter’s hesitance to say too much on the matter, he might already have something figured out.

– Last year Lucasarts Singapore had a nice presence, even having their own panels, but it appears that this year Lucasarts might be coming in lightsabers swinging! Nothings confirmed yet, as usual, but we can hope for big things.

– Both Peter and Mike hate durians, and Peter tried to eat the seed. He is a brave man.

– They did reveal that they tried to get both Ed Brubaker and John Romita Jr over, but sadly they would have come if the convention was in December. Jim Lee? Way too expensive. And he’s really busy with the DC reboot now, so… Geoff Johns too was asked, but is sadly unavailable. Some other big names were mentioned, so we’ll see how that goes. Names like Ivan Reis, JMS, were bandied about. Apparently the Baltimore Con, while a well loved and popular con in the US, isn’t DC and Marvel central, so chances are there won’t be an issue in having big names come down. That being said – Peter is very keen on bringing down some indie comic legends too, instead of focusing on just the big 2.

– How about TV and movie stars? That’s right! Apparently they’re the hardest to book, often confirming only days or hours before an event, but Peter has shared that Australians are much easier to get over… Any ideas on who? A lot of this is also dependent on if the publicity machine is rolling forward, so studios might not be too willing to bring a guest down after a movie has already been released. People involved in the The Avengers and Batman would definitely be interesting.

– It was also great meeting up again with the folks from Reed, Tina and Bryan who we’ve met at last year’s con and our good buddy and contributor Melvin Yong. Even Nicholas Yong (no… relation?) from The Straits Times dropped by for a good time and I believe we met Jason Koh for the first time here.

– Terrence was full of C2E2 loot: Badges, and limited edition #1s of RASL by Jeff Smith were available. We have a few spare copies, so just give us a shout and we’ll see what we can do! Oh, and Terrence is the box.

– At any rate, looks like STGCC is shaping up in double quick time to be a really great event, and Peter’s already looking forward to 2012 and putting pieces into place for that. Excited? You bet we are!

– So feel free to continue to send in suggestions to @petertatara and @armstrongmike on twitter, tag it with #STGCCwishlist, or leave them in the comments here, and we’ll pass them along!

Peter Lin

His teenage years spent nursing a giant man-crush on Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, Peter naturally found himself drawn to many other heroes who depicted strong, manly qualities, including the honour-bound warrior Worf, first Klingon in Starfleet, and the muscular rock hard abs of The Thing.

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