#SpeechBubble Memories: BigO & Unrequited Drawing Dreams

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I followed BigO magazine primarily because of it’s comics features. Never been a huge follower of the music scene (until much later, regrettably), I had oft look to articles concerning comicbooks - which are a dime-a-dozen in the western scene, but I was as well intrigued with the point-of-view from closer to home.

Singapore has been and still continues to be a fantastical melting pot of cultures, so much so I had been able to consume Marvel/DC comics, Chinese manhua, 2000AD weeklies, 老夫子 (“Old Master Q”), and cartoons from LAT at any given chance and time!

My main source used to be the literal neighbourhood mama-shop (convenience store), until I reached a point where I could somewhat afford to visit air conditioned comic-book stores, and even then, they were regulated to Western comicbooks, but included tons of “independent” comics from the mid-to-late 90s = exactly what I was looking for - besides the usual superhero-fare - that I had used to discover in Big’O’s pages!

(I never owned nor seen the interior pages of this comicbook tho … I wish copies of the pages/page-art could have been showcased / exhibited, in addition to the covers … yes I am greedy).

BigO however, was slightly a chore to find, at least for me. I’d missed owning the early zeroxed editions, but had started an earnest collection from when the mag went all gloss-ified (I still remember the apprehensive joy of purchasing the first issue…).

Through the times collecting issues in the past, I was exposed to a myriad of local and regional artists, like Eric Khoo’s (I’d collect his stuff before I knew he made movies, even before I got into the film industry in the first place LOL), and a sampling of others - whose work in the comics section in the national newspaper kept me enthralled more (thanks Kelvin Chan and Colin Goh!).

Truth be told, BigO and the arts feature inspired me to draw as much and even nearly sent in artwork submissions for! But I chickened out (but for the fear of rejection, frail-ego’d creature that I was) and never did do anything beyond doodling to myself and posting on my blog hahaha

[ More decades old doodles HERE ]

I’ve never truly felt I “belong” in the scene, and still do not - not that there is any reason to be in the first place, as I’ve never taken part or had even a part of the scene, except for gawking on as a “tourist”, as I had through all these years, right up to today, a tourist still; taking snaps of the Speech Bubble exhibition, and blogging to myself about my experiences and memories LOL

I have since reconciled at my “need” to be part of the scene, as I am doing okay being a tourist, and enjoying what I may find and/or read! Doesn’t stop the “desire” though, but I reckon tis either I do something about it, because blogging about it sure won’t make any difference LOL

The need to “belong” has since fade from my aspirations and vocabulary, as much as the days where I’d dreamt of having my comicbook art posted on the glass panels of Comicsmart in Serene Center, or having my art published in fanzines (now I do my own fanzines instead heehee :p).

I essentially stopped collecting BigO, because the coverage for comics dried up. Just as well, I suppose, as by then, I had formed up my own opinions and impressions of the comics I’ve read and viewed, and needn’t have someone else tell me how to tell about it - not so different from the blogs I keep these days as well, for as much “opinions” some folks might want to read about and agree (or “disagree”) with, everyone else has their own impressions formed, isn’t it?

I do miss the sense of “discovery” when flipping thru the pages to find the comicbook sections tho …

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Fast forward to the NOW, I’d rather “discover” or “re-discover” new or old goodies - and the “Speech Bubbleexhibition at National Library really did that for me - and have a chance to reminisce the good old times about them too :)

Speech Bubble to me, is not “just” an exhibition, but also a trip down memory lane, and in the days to come, I have a coupla old tales to share with you folks, of the many personal journeys in comicbooks I have taken thru the years.

Thank you for reading.