LOYAL comic-book fans remained undeterred despite having to fork out an entrance fee for the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention held over the weekend.
Event organisers Reed Exhibitions charged visitors $15 for a day pass and $25 for entrance on all three days. It was held at Suntec Convention Centre from last Friday to yesterday.
The annual convention, now in its third year, had fans raving about its top-notch line-up which included the Marvel Comics team and Japanese girl pop group AKB48.
The event had drawn over 21,000 visitors as of last Saturday evening.
The previous two conventions were free of charge. Event organiser Reed Exhibitions was unable to reveal total figures at press time, but said that it appeared "on track" to meet its target of about 30,000 to 45,000 visitors.
Its success is pegged to Singaporeans who are showing a growing interest in comics, games and toys, said Mr Paul Lee, vice-president of business planning and development at Reed Exhibitions.
"The event also creates a platform for aspiring talents to reach out to established creators," Mr Lee added.
Marvel Comics' international talent scout, Mr C. B. Cebulski, was also here to review the portfolios of artists in Singapore.
It is understood that several Singaporeans have been shortlisted and those chosen may be offered contracts to work for Marvel.
The Marvel entourage, made up of writers and illustrators behind superhero comics like Spider-Man and Iron Man, was also here to meet fans.
Copywriter Wayne Ree, 28, applied for time off from work just to attend the event last Friday and Saturday.
Luckily, his boss is a comic-book fan too, and let him go.
"I have been keeping track of my favourite comic illustrators and writers. I just flipped when I heard that they were coming here," said Mr Ree, who has been an avid comic-book reader since he was five.
He spent his time at the convention rushing from panel sessions chaired by comic artists - such as David Lloyd, co-creator of V For Vendetta - to their autograph sessions.
He admits that he spends an average of $300 a month on his hobby. Mr Ree said: "I don't remember any other time when I was smiling this much."