Five Questions With STGCC 2016 Special Guest Emma Rios

Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) 2016 has just unveiled its line-up of renowned pop culture personalities — including renowned Spanish cartoonist Emma Rios, who has worked for Boom! Studios (HEXED) and Marvel (DOCTOR STRANGE, AMAZING SPIDERMAN), as well as her creator-owned productions thanks to Image Comics.


Emma has just published I.D., her first solo graphic novel, and currently co-edits the ISLAND magazine with Brandon Graham. She also co-creates PRETTY DEADLY with Kelly Sue DeConnick and MIRROR with Hwei Lim.

Emma took a couple of minutes off from her daily routine to answer a few questions about her art, how she got started in the business, and some advice from the heart for fellow artists.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I feel like I’ve been drawing comics since forever, but never thought it could be a real profession to me because in Spain, while there is a really nice scene, the industry is not yet developed enough for an artist to make her/his living from it.

I studied architecture and my plans were basically working as an architect and keep doing comics on my own far from being professional, until I realized my work seemed to work pretty nicely for big markets, like the American one. I remember having a couple of interviews with editors but, like everybody in this business, even if my feedback was amazing it took a while, and some luck too, to finally make it. I owe Mark Waid specially, who was the one that asked for me to work in Strange, my first real gig at Marvel; this helped me a lot in terms of starting from a really nice position, without many proofs and fill ins.

Who are your major influences as an artist and illustrator?

My mother is an art teacher, so I grew up pretty connected to painting and art in general since I was very little. Picasso, Goya, Monet, Buonarrotti, Rodin… Going to museums since I was a little child educated me a lot in terms of aesthetic sensibility, I think.

It’s always difficult to talk about favorite cartoonist and influences. In my case it depends a lot on the projects I’m doing.

I remember paying a lot of attention to Gene Colan and other classics like John Buscema, specially when I was working on superheroes. Hiroaki Samura taught me a lot about how to depict action on pages and his work in Blade of Immortal is a big influence for Pretty Deadly, alongside with classic manga like Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, or other works by Shirato Sampei. My friend Brandon Graham actually calls Pretty Deadly spaghetti manga.

I think that Katsuhiro Otomo (Editor’s Note: OMGOMGOMG!!!) was the creator who made me think about how much of a dream would be drawing comics forever. And my favorite cartoonists today are Taiyo Matsumoto and Daisuke Igarashii.

Cinema influences me a lot, too: Sergio Leone, Kurosawa or Tarkovski among others. Also books: Le Guin and Stanislav Lem are huge influences for Mirror for example.

Videogames too, I’m specially in love with Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series, also with old JRPGs from the nineties, as well as more recent jewels like Gone Home or The Last of Us.

Your original characters are your babies so we won’t ask who is your favourite, but among the characters you worked on with Marvel, who was your favourite and why?

I’m going to say Stephen Strange, basically because I have been in love with Steve Ditko my whole life and because it was probably the one I drew the most during my time there. Also he’s a cretin ha ha, which makes him very human and interesting to develop as a character.

What was the most surprising thing you experienced while working with Kelly Sue DeConnick?

I love how connected we are while working and how hard we try to surprise each other one page at a time. Kel is amazing and she is, and will be, an inspiration for life. We became best friends through doing comics we love with a lot of freedom to express ourselves, and this, I assure you, it’s a really nice way to get to know somebody.

If you could share one piece of advice with female artists who would like to break into the market, what would it be?

I always recommend to be true to oneself, to be honest with the work you’re doing and, more than anything, to never forget to have fun with it no matter what. Don´t do what you others expect you to do, do what makes you happy as a creator.

Women in comics still have a lot of bothersome things to deal with, but there are a lot of us already and we’re becoming more and more everyday. I recommend to support each other, to participate in collectives and associations and to remember comics is a wonderful language everybody can appropriate.

Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention 2016

Get to meet Emma Rios at STGCC 2016 — slated to take place from 10th to 11th September when Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) takes centre stage at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Level B2, Halls E and F. Tickets are priced at SGD19 for a one day pass and SGD28 for a two day pass. Click here for more VIP package details.

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

About Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC)

The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention combines the best of pop culture from East and West to Asia, uniting the worlds of comics, anime, toys, collectibles and games. It is the pre-eminent event in the Asian market that fits with other shows in the Reed pop culture portfolio, including New York Comic Con (NYCC), the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Star Wars Celebration, PAX, NYC – Special Edition and OZ Comic Con. STGCC will reach out to a whole new world of fans in Asia and opens a vast market with exciting opportunities for companies to break into the Asian market and/or reinforce a growing presence. Fans will experience a showcase of pop culture’s coolest and latest products, and be thrilled by personalities and characters from the worlds of superheroes, villains and realms of fantasy. STGCC’s vision is to deliver quality content and spread the currency of cool in Asia and aims to be the leading catalyst for the pop culture industry. is an Official Media Partner of STGCC 2016.

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