SINGAPORE - After a flirtation with the movies last year that drew a record turnout, the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention is going back to basics.
The focus this year will be on comics, collectibles and, in particular, the creators behind some of the most popular works today.
Guests this year include Humberto Ramos, a Mexican artist known for his Spider-Man work; Alex Solis, creator of The Famous Chunkies line of overweight superheroes; and Simone Legno, an Italian artist who is behind the popular tokidoki brand of clothing and toys.
Also on display: comics featuring the first Singaporean superheroes.
More than 210 exhibitors from 13 countries will have booths this weekend, up from 180 exhibitors last year.
Last year, more than 40,000 fans turned up for the weekend event, growing from 34,000 the year before. A large number was drawn by the Iron Man movie tie-in, featuring the Hall of Armour from billionaire Tony Stark's mansion and the sale of coveted limited-edition Iron Man figures.
This year, the spotlight will fall on Artist Alley, a space reserved for creators. All 166 booths have been taken up, with 33 of them featuring people making their debut at the convention.
Ms Rita Magnus is senior manager of the Pop Culture cluster at Reed Exhibitions, the show's organiser. She says: "The sold-out status and the number of newcomers at Artist Alley are very encouraging for us. We are thrilled by the increasing number of people who recognise our show as an effective conduit that reaches out to the pop culture-loving crowd."
Among those making their debut at the convention are the Singaporean superheroes of SupaCross. Created by United Kingdom-born, Singapore-based artist Jerry Hinds, the comic books feature the adventures of D Temasek, an art student from Lasalle College of the Arts, and Singapore Sling, an "academically challenged" female secondary three student, among others. The series of comics books, launched earlier this year, will be on sale, with Hinds attending, along with a Singapore Sling cosplayer.
Hinds is president of the Association of Comic Artists (Singapore), which will have a booth at the convention offering live art demonstrations, fan art for sale and discounts on comic art courses.
Elsewhere at the convention, Ramos, who is famed for his manga-influenced style, will be appearing for the first time at the convention. He is known for his work on the comic books The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man and his own series, the fantasy-horror work Crimson.
Another pop artist at the show is the Chicago-based Solis, one of the most most popular designers on T-shirt website Threadless. He will be showcasing his well-known The Famous Chunkies series of overweight superheroes.
He will be showing the first toys based the the tubby characters, which he created with Singapore-based toy producer Mighty Jaxx. Fifty pieces of The Chunky Knight figure (a Batman character with a weight problem) will be available at $150 each.