Marvel’s talent scout on the lookout for comic artists in Singapore

Chester Bror Cebulski (right) is a talent scout for Marvel who will be at the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention 2017 to review portfolios of aspiring artists. — Picture courtesy of STGCC/ TODAY
Chester Bror Cebulski (right) is a talent scout for Marvel who will be at the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention 2017 to review portfolios of aspiring artists. — Picture courtesy of STGCC/ TODAY

SINGAPORE, Sept 9 – To be Marvel’s next comic star artist, you need to be more than just a skilled artist. You will also need a keen sense of humour, a love and understanding of Marvel characters, and a healthy dose of originality, said Chester Bror Cebulski, Marvel’s talent scout in the region.

Cebulski, who is the comic giant’s vice-president of international business development and brand management in Asia, said: “You have to have a good sense of humour – one of the things we’re known for in our content. (Our characters) are always saving the world in dire times but (still) having a good time and that’s the way we see working at Marvel.”

An original art style is also key. “I always tell every artist that it’s okay to have grown up imitating other artists, or being influenced by their style. But you have to remember there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation. You should cross that line to originality,” added Cebulski, who is be in town for the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) this weekend (Sept 9 and 10).

“I’m looking for something I don’t already have. Every marvel comic has its unique look and I’m looking for that next unique look,” he added.

Cebulski, 46, also noted that that Singaporean artists have unique styles. “With Singapore, I’ve found that there’s a great (number) of influences, and they don’t just take everything from Japanese comics like other Asian artistic communities do. They’re heavily influenced by Marvel and other such Western comics as well due to their English-speaking nature.”

The American, who has worked for the comic giant for 15 years, is now based in Shanghai. What he loves most about Singaporean artists, he said, is the level of detail they put into the world around their characters in drawings.

Cebulski also praised local graphic artist Sonny Liew, who has done work for Marvel, and recently became the first Singaporean to bag an Eisner award, the comic industry equivalent of the Oscars.

“(To win an Eisner award), it takes a lot of hard work and a good idea. Sonny put a lot of effort into the book and I remember when he showed (the book to) me the first time when he was starting it years ago.

“You have to be open to criticism and he was willing to share his work, take my opinion and use it.”

The annual STGCC this weekend will see a gathering of comic fans, toy collectors, gamers, and cosplay and anime enthusiasts. There will also be panel discussions with industry heavyweights, appearances by cosplay personalities and sale of limited edition merchandise.

Meanwhile, for aspiring Marvel artists, Cebulski will be on the lookout for candidates who “have respect for the (Marvel) characters and the job, who understand the legacy they’re joining and who are ready to give 100 per cent commitment”.

“Marvel is not just looking for a good artist, but someone who has the personality to be in the Marvel family.”

“There are people who just want to draw for Marvel so they can have it on their resume. They use it as (an ego boost) or a calling card,” said Cebulski, adding, that is not going to work for Marvel.

What’s new at the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) 

The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) returns to Marina Bay Sands this weekend (Sept 9 and 10) to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a host of new activities.

Apart from the usual line up comprising fan favourite personalities, industry veterans and the release of limited edition merchandise, this year’s edition also includes the inaugural Good Game Experience (GGXP), which is a series of gaming tournaments. A hall will be dedicated to hosting live eSports tournaments for three games: Defence of the Ancients (DOTA), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and Vainglory. 

The champions for DOTA and CS:GO will represent Singapore in the regional qualifiers in the Philippines in October. 

The new Akiba zone, inspired by Tokyo’s famous Electric Town, will be a mecca for Japanese music, anime and cosplay enthusiasts. World renowned cosplay professionals such as Leon Chiro, Shimo, Siutao and Iori Moe will also be present for meet-and-greets. 

Not to worry if you encounter a cosplay costume malfunction: swing by the costume repair station managed by STGCC Champion of Cosplay 2016 winner, Erika Jean Garbin, where she and her partner will provide fix-ups. 

There will also be a new experiential Star Wars zone, complete with life-sized vehicle replicas, game and collectibles. For example, catch the replica of Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer from the upcoming movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a replica of Rey’s Speeder signed by film director JJ Abrams and a replica of the interior of the Millennium Falcon.

There will be panel discussions and this year’s line-up of industry heavyweights includes Marvel talent scout Chester Bror Cebulski and veteran artist Arthur Adams.

Some rare festival limited edition exclusives that will be on sale include collectible figurines of Thor, Iron Man, Batman and Ghost Rider. Another ActionCity exclusive for the 10th anniversary of STGCC is Singapore’s favourite cultural icon, Mr Kiasu, in figurine form. The creator or Mr Kiasu, Johnny Lau will be autographing the collectible on Sept 9 from 3 to 4 pm. — TODAY

Ticket prices range from S$7 to S$85 (RM22 to RM270), depending on the category and duration of the pass. More information is available at

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