Interviews

In Wayne Ree's 'Tiny Room'

By Zaki JufriEvents - 25 August 2014 2:43 PM

In Wayne Ree's 'Tiny Room'

Comics, toys and otakus in cosplay are not the only things you can geek out to at this year’s Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) happening at the Marina Bay Convention Centre on 6 and 7 September.

Since 2008, the convention, besides showcasing the latest and hottest offerings in geek-culture, is also a hotbed for new creative talent, such as the likes of Wayne Ree, who is launching his new book ‘Tales from a Tiny Room’. 

Published by BooksActually’s Math Paper Press imprint, the book is a collection of 11 short prose pieces, with accompanying art by Audrey Chan, Andrew Mason and Paul Hendricks. 

Making its debut at the event, the indie bookstore’s booth will feature works from its comic and genre-centric collective, The Comic Strip. 

Ree, a 32-year-old copywriter, will launch his book alongside other new creators as well as familiar names in the Singapore comic scene, including Gene Whitlock and Troy Chin. 

He told inSing: “I like to describe the stories as slice-of-life, but heavily filtered through the lens of genre fiction. A bit sci-fi, a bit fantastical, but at their core, mostly human stories.”

Ree originally planned to self-publish, but a friend introduced him to the people at Math Paper Press.

He said: “I have been writing short stories sporadically and throwing them online since 1999. I've always wanted to release a short-story collection, but never felt I was ready – until about two years ago. I started working on the stories, then talking to a few friends about contributing illustrations."

””
Artwork from 'Tales From A Tiny Room'

How far back did you begin developing the book and what can you tell us about the inspirations that led you to the stories?

I started planning this two years ago, which would explain why a few characters are aged 29 or 30, instead of being decrepit 32-year-olds. A lot of the stories are very much inspired by real events, just given fantastical twists. Some of them reflect my frame of mind when I wrote them. There's a story in there about post-holiday blues that has almost nothing to do with travel, for example.

What has been your favourite part of the book or character to tackle? 

I couldn't really pick a favourite character, even though I torture some of them more than the others. My favourite part of putting the whole book together though was... well, just writing the stories, really. There is nothing quite like that rush when you've worked out a story idea and you start banging it out like a mad man.  

What makes the stories different?

I think the same thing that makes any story different: When I wrote them, they were my stories. There's a part of me in all of them. I'm on a roll with the pretentious-sounding answers, aren't I?

Growing up with comics, obviously there has to be some form of art to go with your work. Can you tell us more about the artists in your book?

Andrew and Paul are designers first and foremost, so they're influenced more by guys like Duncan Fegredo and Dave McKean than anyone else. Audrey describes her style as "if anime and western comics had dodgy unprotected sex", so take from that what you will. 

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Artwork from 'Tales From A Tiny Room'

Influences and inspirations?

Aside from the slew of writers I'm going to list for the next question? Jim Mahfood is a big one. He's an artist with a style that he describes as Visual Funk, and he has made a career out of doing what works for him. He has done comics, as well as art for companies like Nissan and MTV, but through it all, he has stuck with his Visual Funk style. His art is never compromised and he always looks like he's having a blast.  

Favourite writers?

Geez, where do I start? Ray Bradbury is high on that list. 'The Martian Chronicles' was the first sci-fi book I read and I've been hooked since. Douglas Adams, William Gibson, HP Lovecraft, Hunter S Thompson. Ed Brubaker is one of those writers who, whenever I read his stuff, I just get angry at him for being so damn good. Warren Ellis, very specifically for 'Transmetropolitan' (with Darick Robertson) and 'Planetary' (with John Cassaday). Mark Waid, who is also such a gracious man in person. 

Tell us about the last book you read that you loved.

It has been a while since I read a book that warranted the L-word. I've really dug a lot of them, sure, but I think the closest I'm getting to love is what I'm very slowly making my way through right now: my friend Delilah Des Anges' Shakespearean noir 'Brown Bread, Boys: A Tragedy'

If given the power to greenlight a movie blockbuster, what unrepresented or “unknown” (to the mainstream, at least) science fiction or fantasy book or comic would you love to see on the big screen?

There were a lot of rumours flying around before about Guillermo del Toro doing an adaptation of HP Lovecraft's 'At the Mountains of Madness'. I would get that made in a heartbeat.

Which genre movie theme do you feel is the most played out at this point: zombies, vampires, or superheroes? Or do you think these still have a leg to stand on?

I think all of them not only have a leg to stand on, but could flourish if given the right story. 

Who is the greatest fiction or fantasy villain who has yet to become a household name in mainstream pop culture?

Two words: Cthulhu fhtagn.

The Comic Strip by BooksActually | Date: 6-7 September 2014 | Time: 10am-8pm | Venue: Lot #H21, Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention, Hall B & C, Level 1 Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands | Tickets: $19-$25 from http://www.singaporetgcc.com/tickets-queues

Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) 2014

Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) 2014

Date Sep 06, 2014 - Sep 07, 2014

VenueMarina Bay Sands Singapore

Ticket PriceS$19.00 - S$25.00
 (excludes booking fee)