When Agnes Garbowska first started getting her work published, almost everyone who hadn’t seen her thought she was a tall, black male – mainly because she drew pin-up girls really well. (Flawed logic, we know) Similarly, Camilla d’Ericco worked for comic publishing houses in the early 2000s, she experienced glares from bewildered men whispering to one another as she walked down the hallway: “That’s a girl!”


A Rarity or Not?

The anecdotes above seem to support the general perception amongst people that women are rare, if not under-represented in the comic industry. Are they? And if so, is it easier for women to enter the comic industry now than before?


That was the question pitched to both of them as the annual Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) 2015 held a stage panel on Day 1 entitled “Women in Comics in the 21st Century”. The panel featured the aforementioned Agnes and Camilla, and were also joined by local Singaporean comic artist Clio Ding.

“I don’t think it’s about whether it’s easier or harder. I think it’s just that now, women like comics more than they used to,” Camilla explains. With strong views on staying true to her style of art, the chatty brunette kept the keen crowd entertained with her stories and advice.

“I can’t even tell if there are more guys or girls here (at the event), it’s just amazing.” She was right, we couldn’t tell the difference either.


Hammer of Truth

A variety of sources and polls have published statistics in recent times that show women making up a large proportion of the comic fan community. In fact, found that a significant 46.67% of comic fans on Facebook in the US were female. Camilla says she knows why:


“I think Chris Hemsworth is responsible for that. Because yeah… If all Thor’s were like that, I’d wanna draw Thor.” Clio on the other hand, believes that women were into comics all along.

“Fanboys don’t talk to girls, that’s why they don’t know that girls are out there doing stuff,” the audience snickers. Reprints of her 2 self-published books, “Kevin” and “Libera Nos A Malo”, were also available at the event.

“You can’t tell that the author is female just by looking at the story… Don’t segregate yourself because of gender, ethnicity or age. Its not about you, it’s about the work that you produce.”

Agnes, who worked on characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Grumpy Cat, concurs. “I completely agree. I don’t think it’s easier or harder because you’re a woman. If you can meet a deadline, it doesn’t matter what your gender is.”


“Maybe because mainstream comics then weren’t for everyone, maybe because not as many women like that style, but now there’s so much self-publishing and independent comics… It’s actually cool to be a nerd now.”

So there seems to be a conclusion between them that the matter on under-representation of women in comics isn’t that much of a matter. Rather, knowing what you enjoy doing and working hard to get where you want to is far more important.

You can check out the full panel discussion on YouTube here.


Contraptions and Attractions


2013 saw a record-breaking STGCC attendance of over 40,000 across 2 days, and there was a certain buzz to this year’s event that gave hope to the organizers that the number might be broken, although this year’s numbers hasn’t been released yet.

Unfortunately, this writer can’t admit to being too much of a fan of toys, games, or comics for that matter – and it was rather frustrating at times to be at the biggest event of that genre and not share everyone’s enthusiasm. However, we did learn a couple of things at STGCC 2015, from a point of view of non-geek.


  1. Comics are a Hardcore Passion

We predict that the mindset of most cosplayers is very simply “Go hard or go home”. From a full-body Iron Man suit that can lift up its face mask with the push of a button, to anime fans who knit their elaborate costumes to the most minute of details, you don’t need more proof that these fans have been gearing up for this for some time.


Conversations were struck between strangers who happened to bond over a particular piece of artwork, and full-fledged discussions on superpowers, costumes and character development begin. Comic and manga fans really know their stuff – take our word for it.


  1. Many Flash Occurrences

Ha, that was an easy one to make.

The popular television series “The Flash” is spin-off from “Arrow”, although it wasn’t always intended that way. Grant Gustin’s portrayal of Barry Allen as Flash turned out to be extremely popular and producers made the call to turn it into a standalone series.


After noticing one too many Flash T-Shirts walking about, UrbanWire went on a mini mission to count the number of them being worn throughout Day 1 of the convention – and arrived at the number 12. Although we could’ve sworn there were at least a hundred of them before the counting started (only 2 full cosplays of The Flash though).

It’s fair to say the fastest superhero on the planet has more than his fair share of supporters, even in Asia.


  1. Respect the Artist’s Crafts

As if this needs to be said. Through the panels and interviews with rock stars in the toy, game and comic industries, it’s clear to see how much heart every one of them puts into their work, and why fans all over the world adore them.

Still, there was an incident of theft during the convention, which goes to show that not everyone understands what the art means to its owner. Here are the comments from one of the booth’s artist whose artwork was stolen.


You can’t doubt the passion when they hope the thief enjoys it, aye?


What was your favorite part of STGCC 2015? Tell us in the comments below!