The Shadow Hero #3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2014 by sonnyliew


Cartoonist writes about this experiences drawing comic. What he says in the third paragraph will break your heart/blow your mind/astonish you beyond all measurable measure.”

Ok, maybe not :p

Anyway, the third digital issue of Shadow Hero is out! :)

Written by Gene Yang (who recently won the LA Times Book Award for Young Adult Literature!) and drawn by myself, the published book is out in July but you can read the e-versions now! :) Available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, or B&N Nook!


The visuals for interiors were always a little trickier to find then exteriors – most photographs from back in the day focus on shots of buildings rather than the rooms inside. Fortunate circumstances did lead to a good source though – I’d been in NYC for the comic con back in 2011, and took a trip to the Museum of the Chinese in America (, where Gene had artwork up as part of an exhibition of Chinese-American cartoonists (GB Tran was part of it too!)


Elsewhere in the exhibition there were a set of  photogrpahs of Chinatown interiors by a photographer called Robert Glick

IMG-20121017-05601 IMG-20121017-05602

When I got back to Singapore, I looked him up on the interweb and found some really great photos:

They were taken in the 1980s, but that’s part of the appeal of the photos I guess – there’s a sense of time standing still, even if only for a little while.

Anyway, some reviews for Shadow Hero #3 below, thanks for all the kind words, all! :)

Comic Bastards



FanBoy Comics

I was quite excited to see my name mentioned at the MOCA exhibition too! :p


And for everything else:








The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye Preview No.2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 25, 2014 by sonnyliew

Here’s another preview of the Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, excerpts from the first 25 pages or so.

(See the earlier preview here:

It’s still a work-in-progress draft, so please excuse any typos! :p

005 006 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 019 020 021 022 023

Shadow Hero: Process (No Recess)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 22, 2014 by sonnyliew


The Shadow Hero script was the first I ever worked with with detailed thumbnails already included, and the clarity of pacing, comic timing and general storytelling in Gene‘s layouts were so spot on, most of the time I just had to follow them as they were.

Where there were changes, it usually felt like for-the-sake-of-change rather than any improvement in storytelling.

Same, yet Different, is about all there was :p


In any case, I’d do the revised thumbnails and send them over to Gene and the folks at First Second for approval, and once the go ahead was gotten, it was on to the pencils.


These days, I make a scan of the pencils and print them out on A3 paper – mostly it’s out of Fear of Bad Inking, since it gives me the option of reprinting a page and starting over, rather then the horror of ruining your one and only page of pencils :p


After that it’s the inking…


Then the color flatting (where I had invaluable help from Xueling, Clement and Junjie)


And finally adding a tone of two to make everything pop a bit more :)

The pages above are from issue 2 of the Shadow Hero, do get your E-copy before they, erm, run out! :p

Some early reviews, including an “A” from the Pullbox  (Myke likes it for the”quality of the script” , “the beautiful and cheery aesthetic and charming plot” and it’s “unique tone and appeal“) and over at Goodreads!


Shadow Hero: Enter Mr.Han?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 20, 2014 by sonnyliew


When I first saw the thumbnail sketch Gene did of one of the villains the Green Turtle faces (see above), I was 99% sure he was based on the the character Mr.Han (played by the late  Shih Kien) from Enter the Dragon.

The black outfit, the sharp nose, the claw… and he was, after all, the main baddie in one of Bruce Lee‘s best known movies.


But when I asked Gene about it, he’d never seen the movie before!

Strange coincidences, strange attractors,  the mysteries of the world :)

Here in any case are the sketches for the character, my homage of sorts to Mr.Han. Look out for him in upcoming issues of The Shadow Hero!




Shadow Hero: The Backgrounds Strike Back

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 19, 2014 by sonnyliew


The Shadow Hero is out today in e-format, available from Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Nobles! :)


We used 1930s San Francisco as our main visual guide for the story, with locales ranging from provision shops to casinos, police stations to restaurants. A lot of visual reference was required, and aside from buying as many books of 1930s Chinatowns as I could get my hands on, there was of course the internet.

Below is a sample of the collated pictures! (Click on it for a slightly larger version)


See if you can match any of the images used to panels from the book!

(No prizes unfortunately, besides the quiet satisfaction of being just a little sastified :p)


Here meanwhile is another character sketch. Hank is on the lower tier, but who’s the old fellow with the moustache? Find out in… The Shadow Hero! :)

Shadow Hero Character Sketches Set#1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by sonnyliew


With the imminent release of the first E-chapter of The Shadow Hero, by myself and Gene Yang, here are some of the early character sketches….

They ultimately ended up looking like they do in the panels above, but Hank’s parents went through several permutations in the design stage…



Well, actually Mother was always based on the actress Chen Pei Pei; in more recent years known for her role in “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon“, but who first became a star back in 1966′s “Come Drink With Me“. Most of the tweaks were with the hairstyle :p



Father’s appearance underwent a bigger shift, ultimately based loosely on another Shaw martial arts star, Ti Lung.

father-2  father-v2

(The rationale was that the Shadow Hero could be based off the actor in his younger days, and Father on his older, present, self.)

TiLung-115-b ti_lung_1

younghank youngparents

Finally, a bunch of drawings of young Hank, and young Mother :) Drawings all done with ink, coloured in Photoshop.

Stay tuned for more! :)

Mask of the Phantasm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 16, 2014 by sonnyliew


Always a little conflicted by presentation choices made by the Straits Times in their comics coverage, where they favour photos of creators rather than artwork from the books.

You’d think that readers would be more likely to pick up a book if they had a better idea and imprint in their minds of what the cover or interior pages looked like.

ShadowHero-Ecover-1-rgb-550x843 ShadowHero-Cov-final-small

The existing model works for non-illustrated books, but comics is such a visual medium it seems odd to confine the images to small thumbnails (TV and Film I guess avoid that since you  can do both with a shot of the actor in a  scene).


But maybe that’s wrongheaded, and in the context of limited space on a page (as opposed to the acreage afforded on websites), a focus on personalities does make sense. And probably we should all be grateful for any coverage at all, in this oversaturated world :p

Still: What  would make you more likely to buy a comic?

Anyway, buy an E-copy of The Shadow Hero this week, or get your pre-orders in! :p



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