At the BooksActually stall at this year’s The Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC), you’ll find new works from Singapore-based comic book artists. Here we speak to Wayne Ree about comics, creation and collaboration.

Tell us about the comic you’ve created, Tales From A Tiny Room?

I wouldn’t describe it as a comic per se. It’s actually a short story collection with accompanying art by a couple of friends – Audrey Chan, Paul Hendricks and Andrew Mason. But then again, Harvey Pekar once said that comics are just words and pictures, so yeah, I guess in the loosest sense, it is a comic! I like to describe the stories as slice-of-life, but heavily filtered through the lens of genre fiction.

There's an interesting short story in it: "Creation Myth" in which "two gods sit on a park bench and compare universes".

A lot of the time, [ideas are] just personal experiences that I’ve given fantastical twists to. "Creation Myth" is really my expression of that rush that I’ve had from collaborating with likeminded people, whether they’re artists or fellow writers.

What kind of response do you get to being a comic book writer in Singapore?

It varies. A lot of people are genuinely interested and ask all sorts of questions about writing and storytelling. Then, of course, there are those guys who’ll immediately ask, “Can make money meh?”

How are comics changing and developing over the years?

It’s the stock answer of any comic fan championing the medium, but they’re evolving and becoming more sophisticated, both in terms of the types of stories they tell and their execution. That comes from a lot of people acknowledging the medium as actual art, thanks in no small part to giants like Will Eisner. The growing awareness that comics aren’t just superheroes allows for more creators to tell a variety of stories.

What advice would you give other Singaporeans hoping to start a comic?

Be open to collaboration. I started writing these stories way before I even considered asking my friends to create accompanying art. When I finally saw what they’d done, I was just blown away, not just because the pieces were absolutely gorgeous, but because each piece added a whole new dimension to the stories I’d written. So many people think that writers tell the stories in comics and the artists just illustrate them. But that’s absolutely untrue. The artists are storytellers, just as much as the writers. Oh, and just go out there and make comics. Because comics are wonderful and the world could always use more of them.