- Posted May 27, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Malaysian Games & Comics Convention (MGCC) 2012
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Last weekend KDU University College hosted the Malaysian Games & Comics Convention (MGCC) between May 19th and 20th. The 2-day event was much more intimate and personal as it brought together both local Malaysian talent as well as popular foreign talents. Some fans dressed up as cosplay characters including children. Various vendors were allowed to showcase their products on stage including the Malaysian crowd funding site Pitch-IN. Several talks and interviews were also given including the History of Malaysian Comics, Style and Market Demand for Comics, and interviews with comic artists Billy Tan, Leinil Yu (Supercrooks), and Carlo Pagulayan (Hulk).
History of Malaysian Comics
Moderator Muhamad Azhar Abdullah shared the history of comics within Malaysia between 1920 and 2004. The medium began within Malaysian newspapers with only one panel before evolving into a 3-panel comic strip during the 1950s. The comic strips had a much more Western influence during the 1950s as there was more room to tell a story. During the 1970s the comic medium emerged as a one page story bringing other genres including horror, sci-fi, and romance to attract a larger audience. The romance comics were heavily influenced by Bollywood films aimed at attracting a female audience.
By the 1980s Malaysian comics were primarily aimed towards a male audience expanding and becoming more diverse which led to the first Malaysian anthology comic called Apazine. During the end of the decade, Datuk Lat published Malaysia’s first graphic novel called Mat Som in 1989 leading to more graphic novels during the next decade.
During the 2000s many comics were self-published and short-lived as competition increased within the Malaysian market. The current market consists of scattered readers, who enjoy various styles of comics from Western comics like Marvel and DC Comics to Japanese Anime and Manga.
Style and Market Demand for Comics
Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid AKA Datuk Lat appeared on the panel hosted by History of Malaysian Comics moderator Muhamad Azhar Abdullah. Datuk Lat explained how styles follow trends which centered on finding style and identity. The first Malaysian stories were humorous stories about daily life before they evolved into escapism. He believes the media influenced the stories of the 1950s including characters such as detectives, undercover agents, and gangsters. Datuk Lat was influenced by legendary Malaysian icon Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr. P. Ramlee and discovered there was a demand in the local Malaysian comic market.
Comics were considered a non-necessity as parents provided money for food and drinks rather than supply money for entertainment. However children saved their extra money at the end of the week to watch a delayed movie from Hollywood. One such movie was Charlton Heston’s The Ten Commandments which was shown 10 years after its initial release in 1956. Datuk Lat also mentioned “protest songs” from artists like Bob Dylan whose songs became anthems for US civil rights and the anti-war movements against Vietnam shaped his storytelling styles. These songs encouraged the search for truth and peace which Datuk Lat admits would not be revealed until decades later. Much of Datuk Lat’s work promoted social harmony and understanding through his cartoons.
Malaysian Crowd Funding with PitchIN
Co-Founder of PitchIN Sam Shafie promoted his site which will be launched on June 12th 2012. PitchIN is modeled after the popular US-based crowd funding site Kickstarter. Crowd funding is developing a community of people who are willing to pool their financial resources together to bring a project into fruition. Mr. Shafie offers the platform for individuals living within Malaysia and currently has six categories including technology, games, publishing, music, photography, as well as film and video. Comics are under the PitchIN category yet however Mr. Shafie assures the crowd as the site matures, more categories will be added to the site.