Roger and Me


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)


(Beano Fanart by Cheryl Liew)

beano 2s

(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)


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.


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

jeez louis

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

PL826101Film Title Harry P

*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






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.”

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)


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.


Then the NPR Fresh Air review goes on air.

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.


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.


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?


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


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:…/i-was-happy-to-be-invited-…


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

Fresh Air


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

“…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.”







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:



The Art of Charlie Chan is Out!


The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye from Pantheon Books

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye from Pantheon Books is out this week!

It was one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2016, who say that the book is a “stunning tour de force masterpiece of imagined and real history” and that “this multilayered book is a masterpiece“.

The Beat meanwhile calls it the “first superlative graphic novel… easily the first comics masterwork of 2016

Do pick up a copy at your favourite bookstore or online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie BoundPowell’s or Books-a-Million🙂

Riotously funny, heartbreakingly beautiful, fizzing with provocative ideas… breathes life and intimacy into the multi-layered history of Malaysia and Singapore. Sonny Liew has produced a true masterpiece. ”
Tash Aw  (The Harmony Silk Factory, Five Star Billionaire)



MoCCA  (April 02, 2016 – April 3, 201611:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m)

I’ll be one of the Guest of Honors (!) at the MoCCA Festival in NYC in April, alongside Cece Bell, R.O. Belchman, Phoebe Gloeckner and Rebecca Sugar.

Midtown Comics

Paul Levitz and I will also be signing Midtown Comics on April 1, both for The Art of Charlie Chan and the new Doctor Fate trade from DC Comics.

I’ll also be heading to various stores and events in New York, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin and Arkansas, do check out this Blog or follow me on Twitter or Instagram for updates on dates and more🙂

Mulan Gallery presents The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

Finally, those in Singapore, do drop by Mulan Gallery from March 4-24 for an exhibition of original art work from The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye!

Venue : Mulan Gallery
36 Armenian Street
#01-07 Singapore 179934
Exhibition Period : 4 – 24 March 2016

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11.30am – 6.30pm. Closed on Mondays, Sundays and Public Holidays