To say that Singaporeans aren’t well-acquainted with comic books is a mistake, because most of us grew up being entertained by the likes of Japanese manga One Piece, Naruto, and works by American powerhouses Marvel and DC Comics.
But how many of us can say the same about local comic artists?
Throughout the years, Singaporean comic artists have always been a bunch that are somewhat under-the-radar, but have a niche, loyal following.
Recently, though, local comic book artist Sonny Liew brought the community to the forefront with his highly-acclaimed, award-winning work, The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, which also a New York Times bestseller, and had received a lot of love from readers worldwide and locally.
Singapore has no shortage of talent like Liew, so we have decided to compile a list of those who are spreading their art, mostly depicting scenes of our everyday lives, online.
Since 2007, Singaporean Evangeline Neo has been creating and publishing her own works online, and is a well-known name on our list, with over 97,000 fans on her Facebook.
In 2014, she took her work to another level and published a book, “Eva, Kopi and Matcha“, which was focused on the cultural differences between Singapore, where she was brought up in, and Japan, where she was based for a few years. Due to cute, yet informative nature of the book, it was even translated into Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese for sale in Indonesia and Vietnam!
She currently has a new book on sale, “Eva Goes Solo“, so if you’re interested, grab a copy!
Taking ‘stick’ in its most literal meaning, creator Ashly, better known as “stickgirl”, creates simple, yet quirky works that all of us can relate to.
Her works have a slice-of-life appeal, and are usually created in light of her thoughts towards whatever’s buzzing in Singapore at the moment. Take for example her post on how Joseph Schooling’s Olympic Gold basically owned Pokemon GO in terms of Facebook feed coverage.
3. Rex Regrets
Created by Jerry Teo, a military and technical illustrator by trade, Rex Regrets is one of my personal favourites.
His page is a humourous look into the tragic handicap of a tiny-armed T-Rex in doings everyday tasks; and for some reason, each iteration somehow speaks to us as well. The art has been compiled into a book, and sold as merchandise like badges, mugs and postcards for T-Rex lovers – most recently at local comic convention Singapore Toys, Games and Comics Convention at Marina Bay Sands.
Updates come every Monday, so do follow him on Facebook for a weekly dose of tragedy!
Very much inspired by Japanese manga, Daiyaku, or Daiyaku Studios, was formed in 2009 as an “avid art group”, and currently also dabbles in Illustrations, Graphics and Social Media Marketing.
Fronted by mascots Daiya Aoi (a blue-haired girl) and Aitori (a blue bird), their works depict everyday life in Singapore and also aim to “promote the awareness of [Singapore’s] vibrant doujin community”. They also sell merchandise, with one being “Arupii Kun“, which gives the ERP we dread a brand new, kawaii (Japanese for “cute”) image.
Trust us, you’ll need to see it to believe it.
Created by a Singaporean-Malaysian team known as “Botakgie” (Botak, aka bald, and Angie), Badly Drawn Comics not only touches on everyday Singaporean woes, but also offers a peek into their life as a (absolutely adorable) couple.
Their appeal comes forth in how relatable each post is, and how they help us look at day-to-day grievances (I particularly connected to this one on forgetting to bring an item to work at the last moment, in spite of constant self-reminders) in a more light-hearted manner.
6. Chew On It
I’m sure all of you remember being greeted with Chew On It! comic strip every weekend in The Straits Times, among other classics like Calvin and Hobbes, Baby Blues, and the adorable Sherman’s Lagoon.
While not as social media-savvy as the rest on the list (he only has a blog), his comics have definitely been entertaining Singaporeans, young and old alike, for the longest time – since 1988, to be specific. Describing his drawing style as “anatomically incorrect” in an interview with The Straits Times, he revealed that inspiration for his strips come from “reading the news and observing what goes on around [him]”, and is “partial to doodling about things that [he finds] exasperating”.
If only we had the talent to do the same for all the annoyances around us!
Consistently producing posts with a very realistic style of art, what strikes us first about Daniel Wang (better known as Ol’Dan), the artist behind the page, is that he’s a huge fan of pop culture, especially Star Wars and Game of Thrones – but who can fault him? He reimagines the characters in different situations, like in a Stephen Chow movie, hit TV show LOST, and even in a Korean drama!
He has a blog which he uses to showcase his full-colour works.
Started in late 2012 by a founder only known as Citizen Dan, who was “decidedly not afraid to enter the controversial realms of politics, religion, gender issues, or treading on any other such tender ground”, the page definitely lives up to its name.
With an aim to react to local happenings with a strong dose of satire, Singaporeans on Facebook have been entertained with Citizen Dan’s local twist on Star Wars when the fever hit us last year, and local figures (some political) imagined as Pokemon during the epidemic that struck us just a month ago.
Also not afraid to poke fun at the usually serious business of politics here, the page offers us fresh perspectives which we can choose to love or hate, depending on our personal stance.
We Can Only Look Forward To More In The Future
With Facebook being a great platform for artists (not only comic) to showcase and share their talent, I personally can’t wait to see more rising talent appearing on my feeds.
Do you have any favourites? Let us know!
Feature Image Credit: Evacomics, BadlyDrawnComics, BitterStickgirl