Let’s play a word association game. What comes to mind when the words “Action Figure”, “Games” and “Comics” are mentioned? If the word is "geeky", then you are not alone. It used to be that nerds were unpopular and always depicted in society as nothing more than just people that the “cool kids” in school bully. But in today’s world where superhero movies are dominating Hollywood, where anime characters have been prevalent in our culture for years, is it really a bad thing to be labelled a geek? From mainstream shows such as Naruto and One Piece to more obscure manga adaptations for the true blue Otakus, this “geek culture” is now occupying a large part of the daily entertainment needs of many of today’s youths.
As a true blue geek myself, when I heard that the Singapore Toys, Games and Comic Convention (STGCC) was back this year for the 9th instalment, I just knew I had to be there.
One of the many life-like figures on display. Here we see Captain America in front of the Hulkbuster.
The two-day event was to be held at Marina Bay Sands Expo Hall E & F, and I was all ready to feel like a child again. Although I am a self-professed nerd, it was admittedly my first time attending the STGCC – don’t ask me what I was doing with my life before this!
As I exited Bayfront Station unable to contain my excitement, I was met by a blast of loud music from the Ultra Music Festival venue which was situated directly across the Expo halls. I thought about how ironic it was that two entirely different events, which catered to two very different groups of people were located just a stone’s throw away from each other. But I walked on anyway and made a beeline for the convention area. The first thing that jumped out at me were the enthusiastic fans who were parading around the entrance feverishly. They were all cosplayers who were applying their makeup and adjusting their costumes to make sure that their costumes were up to standard.
For the more casual fans who were there to just get their hands on coveted merchandise, they were intrigued by the life-like costumes that walked amongst them: from a squadron of Stormtroopers, to US special OPS Marines, to the occasional Deadpool characters and Spidermen walking around – it truly was a sight. The main bulk of cosplayers though were traditionally decked out in their favorite anime characters and the entire getup was a sight to behold.
For me, the highlight of this year’s convention was clearly the display of the life-like models by XM studios. The figures were mostly of 1/4 scale but looked extremely realistic. A long snaking queue was a result of an exclusive brown Wolverine figure that was on sale, encouraging droves of people to stand in line for hours waiting to get their hands on it. Another highlight was the Hot Toys and PopLife booths that sold their main products of Cosbabies and Funko Pop respectively. Again, there were equally long queues for both booths owing to the highly coveted exclusive figures that were being sold. Among the exclusives stood a Merlion Funko Pop of variant colour and Cosbabies from the latest Suicide Squad movie! Another show stealer for me were the adorable Disney Tsum Tsums that were on sale and gave a twist to the more conventional action figures and comics that are usually on display. There definitely was something for everyone!
One of the more popular stands (Source: Shaunchng)
Other cool things I saw meandering around the hall were posters for sale of all-time favourite movies and shows at very affordable prices, with the frames thrown in. The posters ranged from Sherlock to Dr Strange some shops even allowed the option to preorder posters that were yet to be released. There were JPOP fans also grooving to anime tunes that a DJ spinning, almost as if they were in the midst of a mini-clubbing session. On the other side of the convention hall, there was an Overwatch gaming competition concurrently ongoing, bringing to the exhibition a lively atmosphere for fans of the game to witness epic battles between professional teams. The battles were intense and definitely worth watching, especially when one could slurp endless cups of free Mountain Dew from the Mountain Dew booth beside the arena.
Walking around and taking in the sights, I also observed that the convention centre was very cleanly laid out. The right side of the hall was allocated for the sales booths of the toys, action figures, and comics, whereas the left side catered to the gaming enthusiasts. I noticed that there had been a conscientious effort to ensure that no two big companies were side by side to preempt the likelihood of queues forming and blocking the already narrow walkways.
All in all, the convention was an amazing experience and I must say, it definitely has something to offer everyone. I’m chiding myself for jumping on the STGCC bandwagon so late, so I’ll definitely be heading down next year again to soak in the sights and immerse myself in the geek culture and the fandoms that I belong to. I thoroughly enjoyed the festivities, and also walked away with a lighter wallet, having bought a number of exclusive Funko Pops that included a special Merlion Funko Pop as well as Harry Potter themed ones. That made my day but the ultimate satisfaction was really just being around people who were passionate about what they loved.
An Astro Boy Funko I added to my collection!
So please cast aside your previous assumptions of STGCC and go experience it for yourself next year. You’d never know – maybe you might end up geeking out!