You thought we were done with our Merdeka/Malaysia Day celebration of all things graphic? Wrong! Our blessed country is an exciting place for art and we're not short of talent.
So who do we have this time?
Once Upon a Miao (series) by Jian Goh
An autobiographical (probably) series featuring the adventures of the author and his friends, portrayed as anthropomorphic animals (the author claims humans are harder to draw), during their days in school. Miao hails from Kuching, Sarawak, and the series is mostly about him, his family and friends, and his formative years. Besides the food, environment, and vernacular, growing up in Kuching isn't all that different from growing up elsewhere in Malaysia. Poignant at times but mostly funny, Miao's childhood and boyhood stories form a window to life in East Malaysia, bridging two halves of a country separated by the South China Sea.
My Giant Geek Boyfriend by Fishball
This cosy, autobiographical slice-of-life comic is about the life of a mismatched Malaysian couple, in terms of height (and maybe more). How does a girl manage with a boyfriend who's so tall, he might as well be Optimus Prime? Somehow, they have it all worked out. This volume is drawn from the online collection published on Webtoons, which updates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The comic, also called My Giant Nerd Boyfriend was nominated for a Ringo Award for Best Humor Comic.
Paradigma Guru (series, Malay) by Pokcik Fingernailz
Syasya is a teacher at a secondary school, but she doesn't really want to be one. Then the fateful day when she walks into a classroom and starts hearing voices – the thoughts of the students – and one of those practically screams "I WANT TO KILL MYSELF". Thus begins her life as a mind-reading, or more precisely, mind-eavesdropping educator. Other teachers could only dream of such an ability, which Syasya starts useing to help students in need. But what's the story behind Syasya's sudden gift? And will it prove to be more trouble than it's worth?
The Library of Curiosity by Cross and Asa
Coming home from class via Petaling Street, Form Two schoolgirl Lily is whisked off by a stranger trying to shake off a stalker into what looks like a Chinese medicine hall. Except that it only looks like one from the outside. This is how a hapless teenager found herself in a library of literal memories, supervised by a grumpy ah pek and his two more-capable assistants, who hand her a "pass" to the place. No new chapters seem to have been produced since the first one and the comic is not widely available (you can find it here), but the quality and dangling plotline has us begging for more.
Jejon di Jepun (series, Malay) by Jonsuraya
Part diary and part travelogue, this series tracks the author as she furthers her studies in Kyoto, Japan. For someone who has spent almost three unadventurous decades in Malaysia, the prospect of studying in another country and being immersed in a foreign culture seems daunting, but Jejon is up to the challenge ... or is she? Don't be put off by the cutesy illustrations – this collection his hilariously and heartwarmingly Malaysian in essence, and perhaps a clarion call to step out of our comfort zones.
Sprawl by Felix Cheong and Arif Rafhan
A hardboiled detective, his partner, and a bar girl. Their lives mesh at the scene of a murder where a minister who allegedly committed suicide two decades ago is found dead again. Steeped in the tradition of noir comics, Sprawl seamlessly blends poetic verse with gritty, evocative art into a novel whodunit. The writer and poet, Felix Cheong, is Singaporean, but the art is the work of local boy Arif Rafhan, an artist who has collaborated with other authors and coloured some of Lat's illustrations, among other things.
Sadly, this wraps up our comic and graphic novel selection for now. Just a reminder that, in conjunction with National Comic Book Day, MPH Bookstores is offering MRewards members a 15% discount on selected comics and graphic novels from 18 to 30 September at all our outlets.
We hope you'd love these selections and we also hope to have more picks for you to ponder and marvel at. See you soon!