A Decade of STGCC #onTOYSREVIL: 2009 (Year 2)

WHAT-IS: "With the 2017 Edition of Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Con celebrating it's “10 Years” anniversary @ Marina Bay Sand Convention Center, TOYSREVIL takes a look back through nearly a decade covering this annual event on this blog, as we count down to the weekend of September 9th and 10th."
Scroll thru to read more of my rambling and link-backs to posts, or you can simply CLICK HERE to view ALL blog-posts on #STCC2009!

STGCC2009 was held from August 13th to 16th - a full 4 Days (including a “Preview Night”) - at the Suntec City Convention Center. The event was double the size of previous years (Layout Plan reposted here) - which meant a heckload of artists and wares to be had!

“On paper”, Key Exhibitors included Blythe (JPN), Dollz Inc. (SIN), Hasbro (SIN), LEGO ® (SIN), MINDstyle (USA), Nanospore (USA), Nintendo (SIN), Upper Deck (HKG), Simply Toys (SIN), tokidoki (ITA), Wizards of the Coast (SIN), and Ugly Dolls - which was the only time they’ve represented in SG, and I will always remember the graciousness of David Horvath and feeling utterly humbled he knew of my lil’blog :)

WALK OF FAME had four distinct names in both the toy and comics field, with Gary Baseman (Who had the prettiest booth helpers of the con) and Joe Ledbetter (Never met either of these two gentlemen, alas), Tan Eng Huat and Brian Bolland (PMG thanks to a friend I scored a signed sketchbook!).

Being in a same locale for a fixed number of days, and yet being unable to cross paths or even get to meet - was a notion I had started to learn, and to accept ... unless there was an effort made in avoid me, innit? LOL

A “convention” is somewhat like a “hunt” .. we hunt for toys and goodies to buy, we hunt for our friends amidst the din of activity, and we need to hunt for folks to meet LOL

Not listed were tons more names and brands familiar to folks in the toy-scene, including Winson Ma, Ultraman Fong, Danny Chan etc. … or simply they were “listed” but there had been too many to filter thru?

“Social Media” had begun growing its influence then, not as much was Twitter being the predominant force then, while fast forward to today, nearly every other artist(s) promote their works on Instagram, Facebook et al, and hardly as many folks email blogs such as mine, with information anymore. The Hunt Begins ANEW, innit?

In my memory, THIS convention had the most impressive selection of professional (toy) artists, compared to every other con in it’s 10-year history, IMHO. And I’ll always remembered this as the year I could not visit them all - even as a fanboy - because I was committed to my own TOYSREVIL-booth … but more on that later :p

As memorable was the booth from Bandung’s MyTummyToys, which featured their artists Breeanz, Marine Ramdhari (who released Jouwe Splashing), cikcuk dun fantasi, and of the relationships I've had til today - which to me is saying something, in this age of "disposable friendships", IMHO ... Hey, I don't bail on my people, ya know? :)

Play Imaginative was launching a slew of products, including Slender Snakes (with Joe Ledbetter), Ugly Hangars, DEVILROBOTS x Kenny Wong Mollys and TOUMA’s Mao Cats. P.I. was by far the largest presence - in terms of toy releases - at the con, remembering this particular year was fraught with delayed shipments, uncompleted packaging etc ... never was tight enough to ask them, and I guess I'll never truly know for sure, and "gossip" remained faded whispers instead...

On the online front, TOYSREVIL was the “Official Blog” for that year’s STGCC - something which I’ve always been proud of - being a Singapore-based blog, authored by a Singaporean blogger, for a Singapore-based convention! My little slice-of-pride, I admit, and proudly so too! Perhaps I had been the only person proud of that, it seems :p ... Aaahhh, those were the days, indeed…

On the “offline front” ... well, I dipped my foot into the pool a little bit deeper that year …

Having tasted the electric-excitement in air, and pounded the convention aisles of STCC2008 in gleeful abandon, I figured it was time to get behind the display shelves, instead of photographing it from the outside! Time for a TOYSREBIL Booth! I was young(er), I was fearless, I was foolish. I had so much dreams then …

And instead of getting a sensible and economical choice of a “Artist Alley” booth, I got greedy and snagged a 3x3 BOOTH instead! I actually fell for the “GO BIG OR GO HOME” mantra OMG LOL

Being sandwiched between Camilla D’Errico (*ALWAYS regretted not getting a Kuro plush then too OMG) and coarse was the icing on the cake, diagonally from Walk of Fame too? Feeling Da Lurve from P.I.Events!

Alas, coarse did not turn up and we’ve not met face-to-face since, alas indeed … BUT, I'll THANK them instead, because their absence left a chance to open up my booth space by leaving out a wall! WHOO-HOO! After that, I'll always want a corner space muahahahahahahaaaa

WHY the heck would a toy-blog need a booth for? Sure as heck not to earn $$$, because that would be ludicrous, innit? I had hoped to promote the TOYSREVIL blog to Singaporeans/fellow Singaporeans, in the hope that MORE folks in SG would read my humble blog, ya know?

Plus, Ive always loved the aspect of setting up shop and hawking my favourite geek-stuff, ever since the days of Sunday Markets at The Substation, and Flea Market at Clarke Quay … pretty ironic as I’ve never been a huge “social” person, so meeting and chatting with folks is always a challenge for me, BUT talking shop with fellow comicbook geeks? CAN TALK FOR HOURS, thanks! LOL

So yeah, I was also looking for fellow toy collectors and enthusiasts, at the least in the collectible toys / “Urban Vinyl” arena, having had fabulous memories and experience with my buddies in the 1/6th-scale hobby.

And in return, I had the opportunity to meet tons of folks! Some have remained friends since - from visiting artists to non-artist folks and fellow collectors, and my circle of fellow enthusiasts slowly grew larger … Do you recognise yourselves in these images? :)

“C-16” was my allocated Booth Number, and I had to first sort out WHAT I’ll have in my booth - from over-spending on large-sized panel/poster printouts (based on my new , based on my production toy :p), to renting an additional display showcase (Add $500 + $100 for lighting, thanks), and buying my own bar stools, and getting into severe debt with bringing untested and unknown” toys to sell … Good l'fashion desparate GREED got the better me, admittedly, but I have splendid photos of the booth to show-off, years later, innit? HAH!

[ ANTZ vs YOKA ]

I did all the graphics both offline and online for promos and printing…

Local blog, local convention, and I knew I wanted “local artists”! I pulled in favours and got two of my then fav artists to help: ANTZ and PHU! - who both did toy-releases and signings, with PHU’s Rebel Pilot (who fit MyTummyToy’s P-77 perfectly too!) and ANTZ’s Thunder Ape Mini G-Robot. Besides doing “live demos” of their custom art (both of whom worked on 10-inch tall YOKAs from adFunture), ANTZ contributed customs on display, and as well we got to preview PHU!’s “Rebel Yoka”.

The highlight of my booth offerings, was the TOYSREVIL YOKA - thanks to Eddi Yip of adFunture (whom I’ll be eternally grateful to) - blister packed and launched at STGCC2009!

Limited to 100pcs, they have since long sold out, and I’ve regretted ever since not saving a few more behind to give away to friends … looking at the short term goal of recouping my massive expenditure of boothing, I had immediately lost sight of the long term aspect of keeping “dreams” alive, and through the years of resultless hustles - where more production toys were lost in the process - this Yoka is thus far the ONLY production toy the blog had ever done, and I am left with pictures of it :)

I had been pretty active in the papertoy-scene (on the blog) for the past couple of years since, and had even TWO special edition paper-crafts available at C-16, from Jack Hankins / Horrorwood and Sjors Trimbach! Besides my own penchant for the craft the scene at toycon was pretty much the best representation and selection I had seen thus far since.

All the excitement aside, both blogging about and helming my own booth, left me with a experience that had since colored my every decision (related to toys and blogging about toys) thereafter. I felt I had needed to experience all aspects of the con, to be able to cover it in future events. I was still freelancing at that time and had some disposable income to fall back on, so it was a “risk” I was willing to take, and I am utterly glad I took it. The "result"? Well, you Win some, you Loose some, I reckon :p

I’ll end this fab walk down memory lane instead by quoting myself from my “aftermath” post, which frankly had not changed the past years…
REALITY BITES: "The concept of blogging and selling at the same time proved too lethal a combination of circumstances, which led to the inevitable failure on both ends. Convention coverage in miserable tatters and sorely lacking, while the black-hole of financial debt grows ever larger with every dollar-count. I would argue the non-financial gain has been more than adequate to balance the lack (and it has been, moreso than I had imagined and hoped it would be) but the scales tip for the negative, in the physical plane of mundane existence, and into oblivion I slide (throw me a rope, why doncha?). Self-satisfaction and customer-happiness do not pay my bills, dollar-bills do. The happiness of others (and of myself) makes me work harder for it, of course - heh :p"
"One of the best part of the Con experience, at the end of the day, was having my family supporting me throughout, from prep to post-event - and of them being immersed in the pop culture I dwell in on a daily basis, and for them to know and understand what it is. Because a toy culture shouldn't be about just "buying" and "collecting". If that colors me naive, then frak it, bathe me in the radiance of a kindergarten crayon rainbow."

P/S: Thanks to Nicole "The Baroness" for the Booth Crash video! I love it that I could see myself (before my Stroke the following year), and my late Dad in the background! :)