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C.B. Cebulski, editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, swept into Singapore Comic Con last week to share his insights on business trends in the Asian comics industry. Held as part of the Singapore Media Festival, Singapore Comic Con saw a 21 percent increase in visitorship this year compared to 2019. Cebulski was featured on a panel discussion titled “Breaking into the International Comics Market,” covering topics ranging from business practices to artistic innovation.
“I think we’ll be seeing more up-and-coming artists from Asia looking to focus on interior art and sequential storytelling, rather than just cover assignments,” said Cebulski, on creative shifts he sees in the region for the near future. He also anticipates art styles moving away from video game and anime-inspired forms, towards more hand-drawn, personal and culturally influenced line work, which is less reliant on computer rendering.
Other panelists that shared the stage with Cebulski included local artists Artgerm (Stanley Lau), Derrick Chew, Zu Orzu and Rachta Lin.
“You get out of comics what you put in, so never lose your passion. But remember, when you chose to work in comics, the job does not stop once you finish a script or draw a page; the hustle needs to continue with writers and artists also serving as their own cheerleaders, PR people, social media managers, accountants and more,” Cebulski replied when asked for his advice to young creators. “Don’t quit your day job until you are financially sound as a freelancer. Just because you get your first assignment and paycheck does not mean you have a career in comics just yet.”
Other event highlights from Singapore Comic Con included the ever-popular cosplay competition, a work-in-progress comics competition, virtual production workshops and a panel featuring the creative team behind Singaporean monster movie Circle Line. The film will premiere in Singapore cinemas on Jan. 5. Comic Con also held a talk and original art exhibition by the “godfather” of Hong Kong comics, Tony Wong, with BBC Studios’ hit family animation Bluey also presenting a multi-sensory live experience event.
Organizers tell The Hollywood Reporter that more than 30,200 unique visitors made up the total attendance of 56,530 at Singapore Comic Con this year, with the two-day event spanning four exhibition halls at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The event also featured more than 350 exhibitors and 420 brands, marking an emphatic return since a two-year break due to the pandemic.
“The energy and excitement from the fans was palpable,” Cebulski said of attending the event in 2022. “Everyone, including myself, was overjoyed to be back celebrating the comics and characters we love in person again.”
More than 90 percent of exhibitors have expressed interest in returning to Singapore Comic Con next year, with several companies already confirmed, such as Mighty Jaxx, Bandai, Collectors Ark, OSIM, Posterhub and Tony Wong Art Gallery, among others.
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