The Singapore Comics History Crowd Source

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Hoping to crowd source for information on Singapore’s Comics History🙂

http://bit.ly/22C8RHE

The link above leads to a Google Doc that anyone can add suggestions and comments to. Please help fill in things you feel are missing or erroneous🙂

With feedback  from fans, creators, publishers and more, hpoefuly we can have a more inclusive history of local comics🙂

ps: The categories and placements are all tentative, we’ll reoragnise things once we have more information at hand

Roger and Me

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I’ve never met Roger Langridge* – though somehow ours paths have crossed over time. Above is his pinup/review for The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, which he did with Manga Studio for the first time🙂

I first encountered his work when I bought a copy of Fred the Clown, and there was an energy and style that reminded me of the Beano and Dandy cartoons I loved growing up (my mom would buy them from a bookstore in Seremban and me and my sis would copy pictures off ’em, Dennis the Menace, Billy Whizz, Roger the Dodger, the Bash Streets Boys and on and on)

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(Beano Fanart by Cheryl Liew)

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(Beano fanart by me)

For some reason Marvel comics put us together for a Spiderman short called “Nightmare Commute” in 2010, and it was one of those odd moments when you find yourself in contact with someone’s work you’d read and assumed would always be at that author-reader distance. (Another was working with Marc Hempel on My Faith in Frankie, having read  Gregory)

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After that, I’d ask  Roger to do pinups to help promote Malinky Robot and The Shadow Hero as well, and he’s always game despite his busy schedule.

And I got the chance to sort of return the favour with an alternative cover for his series Abigail and the Snowman a couple of years back.

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I guess the point of all this is maybe partly about the way the internet has allowed us to connect and work together in ways that would have been a lot more difficult when we were still using faxes and snail mail.

But more than that – Roger’s generosity (and those of many others, from David Mazzuchelli to Robb Mommaerts,  Gene Yang to Aaron McConnell) reminds me of the need to be less solipsistic myself, less caught up in work and deadlines.

To try to always ask:

What Would Alan Rickman Do?

or again

and again

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Ok back to erasing now, don’t-call-me-I’ll-call-you :p

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*edit: As it turns out this is a Lie, as Roger remembers : “…it was at the San Diego Comic Con… at a bar across the road from the convention centre, at some Disney-related thing. Charly LaGreca (of the Indie Spinner Rack podcast) introduced us, but it must have been after we’d already done the Spider-Man story, because I recall telling Charly we already “knew” one another through collaborating on that.

Yipes! Blur Sotong as usual :-0

 

 

 

Economizing

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The Economist reviews The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (March 12 2016 Print edition)

“A touching, thoughtful meditation on Singapore’s relentless progress…. Like any other country, Singapore means different things to different people. Its detractors admit that modern Singapore is safe, well-run and has achieved remarkable material progress since it became independent just over 50 years ago. And even its defenders admit that Singapore restricts civil liberties… Sonny Liew’s brilliantly inventive “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” weighs those costs and benefits.”

http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21694495-touching-thoughtful-meditation-singapores-relentless-progress-lion-city-march

This magazine used to be de riguer reading in junior college days for everything from history to economics and the General Paper :p

 

 

The Books Sales Detective (part 1)

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The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye hit the international shelves last week, and the biggest question on my mind was of course: is anyone out there going to buy this book?

It’d done really well in Singapore partly due to the hoohah over the NAC’s grant withdrawal, and the pre-release reviews had been excellent – but there were all sorts of obstacles in the way: (a) there was no way of knowing how much interest there would be in a book set entirely in Singapore and dealing in large part with its history and politics, and (b) I’m not JK Rowling.

As with The Shadow Hero, Amazon’s sales rankings seemed to be the easiest way to track sales, so I clicked on the book page every other day to see how things were going.

With more good reviews and previews from a couple of comics sites, the book seems to hover somewhere in the 20,000-40,000 range the first week. It’s not exactly a house on fire.

This feels like it could be a disaster. Like most cartoonists, I dream of having a Neil Gaimanesque career where we get to pursue personal projects that are somehow also commercially viable. Bills need paying, the future needs planning, and even if death consumes us all in the end, there is still the hope you can make a decent fist of this time you do have here. And having a book sell well means you get to go to the publishers with the next book you want to write/draw and ask for a bit more advance, get a better page rate. If the book sinks into semi-obscurity, then its maybe back to the drawing board. Everything is tied up in a bundle of hope, fear and anxiety, there’s really no escape, except maybe by replacing it with a different bundle of hope, fear and anxiety.

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Then the NPR Fresh Air review goes on air.

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/07/469512468/charlie-chan-hock-chye-offers-a-heartfelt-take-on-aging-art-and-history

Despite spending a couple of years in the US, I’ve never really listened to NPR (my staple media diet in the RISD art school days were late night reruns of Star Trek TNG and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), so don’t really have a clear sense of just how big a deal it is in the scheme of things.

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As it turns out, lots of people listen to NPR Fresh Air, and the very kind review sends the book spiralling up the Amazon charts – at one point it maybe reaches #174.

The A.V. Club posts a positive review as well, and at this point the book is up there with the likes of Maus, Persepolis and Patience in the Literary GN category.

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These things can be a bit misleading though, as this article recounts:

Behind the Scam: What Does It Take to Be a ‘Best-Selling Author’? $3 and 5 Minutes.

How many book you need to sell to get up the rankings seems to be a bit speculative, and being a nominal best seller doesn’t mean you can start buying Expensive Things.

So I’m not sure what exactly I’ve learnt so far in terms of actual books sales – that will have to wait till actual numbers come in from the publisher.

One thing I was curious about for now though: what were the actual best selling books out there at the moment on Amazon?

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As it turns out, eating and dieting are a major preoccupation.

And everybody loves Harry Potter.

Now: is anyone out there going to read this post?

And so it begins again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant Robot

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Illustrator and fellow RISD-ite Antoine Revoy did a pinup for The Art of Charlie Chan…! See his blog (and a colored version of the image) at:

http://antoinerevoy.tumblr.com/…/i-was-happy-to-be-invited-…

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Antoine is also releasing an intriguing Japanese horror influenced graphic novel called “Playground” from First Second soon, do check it out! http://www.pastemagazine.com/…/exclusive-first-second-annou…

Fresh Air

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NPR Fresh Air reviews The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye!

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/07/469512468/charlie-chan-hock-chye-offers-a-heartfelt-take-on-aging-art-and-history

“…a startlingly brilliant tour de force…. At once dizzyingly meta and deeply heartfelt, the book spans 80 years and in its complicated layering remind me of everything from Maus and The Tin Drum to, believe it or not, Ulysses… a Valentine to cartooning, to old buildings and street food, to heroes written out of official history, to ordinary people trying to make a better life.”

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Launch Week

charlie_chan_hock_chye_sepiaThe Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was released this week internationally!

The always amazing Robb Mommaerts did a pinup (see above!), do visit his blog to see more fantastic artwork🙂

Some early reviews:

An Amazon link to buy the book here🙂

Some interviews: