Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC: Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian.

On Webcomics

So I gave a talk at the library a few weeks ago, titled Worlds Beyond Marvel & DC. This talk focused on comics outside the superhero genre with a heavy serving of webcomics, and I had so much to cover that I literally talked for an hour! My voice was so raspy by the end of it.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC at library@orchard, Singapore.Here’s the talk publicised on the video wall at library@orchard.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC.Photo by library@orchard.
About fifty people took time out to attend the talk on Saturday, including some well-known names in the industry! The. Anxiety. Was. Real. Here I was gushing over how pretty Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland was.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC.Photo by library@orchard.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC.Photo by library@orchard.
I also made a handout for the audience to reference some of the titles I touched upon during the presentation, mainly because I was going through my slides so fast, and as an audience member, I’d have appreciated not being distracted trying to listen to someone talk while copying down titles at the same time.

The handout also included excerpts from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics on the visual language of the medium when I analysed why some comics were particularly awesome. Credit for that goes to Suf, who had given a talk about the visual language of comics a few years earlier, so I didn’t have to pore over the book to retrieve the relevant information for the handout. He was even generous enough to give me access to his personal collection a while back when he found out that I was working on my slides! I haven’t read Blacksad, but it looks like I’m gonna have to thanks to his strong advocation for the title.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DCBy a stroke of luck, Scott McCloud went on the 99 Percent Invisible podcast in January, which gave me new insights into his thoughts on comics. These easily-digestible titles cataloguing the medium are a must-read! I call them the bibles of comics.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DCOne of my earlier slides also showed some samples of comics I created in school a long time ago to show how my reading habits were affected by my personal taste in art styles and genres… basically giving a reason as to why I was talking about non-Marvel and DC titles.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DCCareful, your favourite webcomic may be utilising alt text as a way to serve up the punch line. Younger me did not realise I’d been missing out on so much until hundred of pages into the comic back in the day. Also, I thought that this Dinosaur Comics strip was pretty apt for my talk!

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DCI even showed off my humble comics collection. Having a bad case of clammy hands and living in a very small space naturally caused me to gravitate towards digital reading (which was a large part of why I talked so much about webcomics and how they’re awesome). These are the precious hardcopies left over after rounds of purging.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC.Photo by library@orchard.
I brought in some titles that wasn’t in the library’s collection from my personal stash – Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian, Macanudo by Liniers (in Spanish, which I can’t read), F*X*T Magazine (now defunct), Barbie Fashion issues #18 & #36 (my only Marvel comics), and three trades I got from Free Comic Book Day way back when to give away to the audience in exchange for comics recommendations. Guys, go read Apocalyptic Horseplay that an audience member recommended!

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC: Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian.Photo by library@orchard.
Cathy Malkasian is seriously one of my favourite authors. To think that I only knew about her by literally judging a book by its cover once upon a time at the bookstore! Random fact – Percy Gloom unexpectedly brought me to tears with how wholesome it was.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC: COSH Studios comics.Photo by library@orchard.
Pimping some titles from the library, including brand new copies from COSH Studios, a local initiative creating stories that’s uniquely Singapore.

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC.Photo by library@orchard.
My friends – Ottie, Ai, and Sal, in the front row for support! Here I was talking about how relevant webcomics could be by using an XKCD example of that CSI Miami meme and how it was one of those times when I didn’t need to refer to Explain XKCD (but here’s the explanation anyway).

Talk on comics beyond Marvel & DC.Photo by library@orchard.
Later on, Ottie mentioned how he cringed throughout my talk because of how I broke all the rules of presenting that he explicitly teaches people not to do, but he also told me never to change because it just seemed to work on my audience. Check out that look on his face. 😂

It’s already been a few weeks, but I finally felt like I could think about the talk and not feel tired. Still, the people I met because of it made it all totally worth it – creators that I got in touch with to learn more about their webcomics (shoutout to The Devil is a Handsome Man), people in the audience who had never read comics before, those who were totally on the same page as I was throughout the talk and who even gave me recommendations on Instagram comics… someone even came up to tell me how he chose to attend the talk instead of a one-time film screening, and that he wanted to let me know how much he enjoyed it! So touched by these kind souls.

Still, it’ll be a while before I could do this again. This talk simply cemented the fact that I really am an introvert.


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