The Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention (STGCC) is one of the largest geek gathering and convention in Southeast Asia. Now on its 11th year, STGCC dials the hype up to 11 with another stellar guest lineup and program. Held on September 8-9, 2018 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s biggest comic convention was packed with different features catering to gamers, Western and Japanese pop culture fans alike.
Singapore’s Mini Geek District
One of STGCC’s main crowd-pullers is its massive area for geek and hobbyist merchandise. Numerous sponsors and exhibitors line up the halls with tons of collectibles, making it a nirvana for everyone present. People flock and endure the long lines to the different booths for a chance to nab hard-to-find collectibles. One area in particular was Simone Legno’s Tokidoki booth, which had a singular line of fans snaking around the aisles on both days. Other booths feature tons of intricately-designed statues, small-scale figures, and superhero murals for everyone to see. XM Studios, taking up a large corner of the hall, lined up nearly three long rows of impressive Marvel, DC, and other pop culture murals that rise up more than a couple of foot high per sculpture.
The smorgasborg of collectibles are no walk in the park for anyone’s wallet, with many of the collectibles passing off more than hundreds of dollars. This won’t hinder the ordinary con-goer though. Many other booths have the standard collectible wares like plastic model kits, figures, comics, toys and apparel to sate everyone’s tastes.
Thankfully, Marina Bay’s expo halls are more than adequate to accommodate hundreds of booths and a foot traffic reaching the ten thousands. Most of the venue’s floor area was dedicated to STGCC’s pop culture exhibits, with two branching segments meant for the gaming section, GGXP, and the J-pop section, Akiba Zone. Provided maps thankfully guide everyone around the area, but for those without, navigating around the halls can be a bit confusing. There are only a few signs present to guide everyone to major locations in the halls. To note, the Artists’ Alley and Akiba Zone are contained in a separately-fenced area of the hall. But locating the entrance and exit take getting used to, since both are quite hidden behind a number of huge booths, including a food stall that gets often gets overcrowded with a line.
Nevertheless, the halls offer more than enough eye-candy that the 2-day affair would not suffice. And this is not even half of what STGCC 2018 can offer.
Long Laundry List of Guests
Compared to 2017, STGCC further expanded their impressive list of guests with more artists and performers. To enumerate a few, Frank Cho, Joyce Chin, Arthur Adams, Adi Granov, Simone Legno and James Mulligan make a significant return to STGCC as part of the guest lineup again. New this year are David Finch, Mark Brooks, and Ryan Meinerding. Japanese guests include Last Exile’s character designer, Range Murata, and Fate/Stay Night’s Rin Tohsaka seiyuu, Kana Ueda. And that’s not even half of the list. Many more had graced STGCC’s event, like idol groups, cosplayers, Japanese artists in various music scenes, and local artists.
One of the many perks of attending STGCC is having the opportunity to interact with the guests. Comic book artists, like Granov, Cho, Finch and the rest, have their own area and booths, selling their prints and comics. Attendees have the privilege of chatting with the artists, getting merchandise signed, and even freely take photos/selfies with them. The guests were cordial and very accommodating enough to interact with everyone too.
Perhaps one gripe here would be the stage time and exposure of the Japanese performers (the idol groups and individual musicians). Akiba Zone has its own stage for the Japanese guests to perform, but the schedules often coincide with featured panels on the main stage. Plus, with the location of the Akiba Zone located in a separate, cordoned-off corner, the foot traffic is unfortunately minimal. However, these circumstances are partly understandable, since the aforementioned zone barely relates to the overall motif/theme of STGCC and would warrant a separate event entirely instead.
The Total Package
ReedPOP’s yearly Singaporean geek affair, in the form of STGCC, has constantly set itself as a high standard in terms of comic conventions, and has maintained its status as one of the best pop culture events in Southeast Asia. There may have been a few gripes during the event, but none of which had put a damper in the proceedings. The Akiba Zone still has the potential to expand, and possibly get more exposure as the years go by. Plus, the GGXP section might need a bit more exhibitors and interesting attractions to keep attendees coming in, but featuring a number of indie developers and hosting the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) is definitely an interesting feature of STGCC.
More than 10 years in the spotlight, STGCC has nowhere to go but up. And in the two years that we’ve been in attendance, we’re absolutely positive that the best will be better.
OTK! would like to thank STGCC, ReedPOP, and Mutant Communications for inviting us to be one of their media partners for the event.