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Editorial – Issue 11

Will Comic Embassy make a profit or suffer a loss of income if this is a business entity rather than a community project?

I cannot help but think this way as every project will come to an end eventually and the question of what is the next step for us (or me) will need to be addressed. For those who are seeing this post for the first time, let me fill you in on the details.

Comic Embassy is a campaign the three of us (Oscar, Cheng Tju and myself) put together to promote local comic artists and their art. This involves having a physical space (@ Tekka Place) to exhibit comic art, selling local comic publications and conducting talks and workshops on comic-related subjects for the public in the hope of increasing public awareness of SG comics and their creators. We hope that people will get to know more about local comic artists and credit them for who they are and as original comic creators.

Left to right: Axl, CT Lim, Oscar Ng, See Kum

The 10 comic artists involved in this campaign are known as “Comic Ambassadors “ and it signifies “every artist is an ambassador for their creation.” They represented the comics community and their role is to engage the public through meaningful public events. We have James Leong and Collin Yap as the ambassador for the month of June, which is followed by Alan Bay and Foo Swee Chin (FSc) in July. We shall see the rest of the ambassadors, Sean Lam, Sam Lay, Clio Hui, Clio Ding, Kang Jing and Rixou Liu Jiahui in August. You can view the exhibition at Comic Embassy now.

We did a good show during our soft launch in June and followed by a successful community day on 16 July. I define success as having huge traffic of people attending our event on that day itself. You can view the video here. The question here is are we able to duplicate the same results every month or as and when we want whether it is rain or shine?

Community Day at Tekka Place
Community Day at Tekka Place

Let us side track and take a look into the biblical story of Noah’s Ark. God instructed Noah to build a vessel that can house his family and every animal species he can find to get ready for a big disaster. He did that and his family and the animals survived the Great Flood. What I find interesting (more amusing) is do the animals enter the ark willingly as if they know that there will be a flood. I have no answer for that, but to get the animals to enter the ark willingly it is either they have been instructed by God too or the ark has a powerful attraction which they cannot resist. 

Coming back to Comic Embassy. Do people come to the embassy because of the exhibition? Can it be that the comic books are so rare you can’t buy them elsewhere except here? Or is it possible that our Comic Ambassadors are the reasons why people want to come to meet them in person and get a book autographed? That is possible too. But to bring in any traffic, you will need more than just a reason or goal for people to attend an event, not to mention leveraging on social connections and sending invitations to many groups of people if you want them to come.

Community Day at Tekka Place

Comic Embassy as an explorative community project, this campaign can pass with flying colours if we really go all the way out to pull in crowds. But as a business entity, that may not be the same story. You will need a good business model and leverage on connection to sustain in long term just like any form of business. It needs to be a profitable business in short.

Perhaps the missing link here is a great flood (everybody’s problem), or else there is no true value for an ark (solution to a common goal), isn’t it?

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Ho See Kum
Founder of SG Cartoon Resource Hub

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