The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

You must’ve heard by now about how Singapore’s own Sonny Liew bagged a whopping six nominations at the Eisner Awards this year for The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.

Not only is it the highest number of nominations achieved by a Singaporean, it beat out industry heavyweights like Kurt Busiek, Ed Brubaker and Brian K. Vaughan for the most number of them.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye provides an alternative look at the history of Singapore through the eyes of a fictional cartoonist. Fans may recall how the Malaysia-born Singapore citizen had his NAC grant for the book revoked after claims that it didn’t meet the requirements due to its “sensitive content”.

Despite that, sales of the graphic novel have gone from strength to strength, and was the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Award for 2015. It even made the best-of-2016 lists in several notable publications like The Economist, proving that the graphic novel’s merits went beyond that of just controversial content.

We reached out to Liew to ask what it was like in the road to getting nominated, and whether the Eisners were the goal he had in mind when he tarted working on The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye:

“It’s something you sort of think about, at the back of your mind – but you also have so little actual control over these things, all you can really do is work on the book for its own sake, to tell the best story you can…[It’s] something you can dream about, but not something it makes sense to worry too much about…”

Sonny Liew at a previous edition of STGCC. 

Liew has been nominated for an Eisner before (as the editor for comics anthology Liquid City), but it’s still a fantastic achievement. While Singapore has recently hosted a whole bunch of geek entertainment events like red carpets, exclusive press junkets and the like, it’s great that Singaporean talent is finally making waves in the entertainment industry, and not just in film or TV.

We’ve since been upgraded to an “exotic” location featured in several major productions, and this year finally sees production starting for Crazy Rich Asians, based on a novel about an elite (and rich) Singaporean family. It’s also heartening to see that Crazy Rich Asians has cast Singaporean actors and is looking for local extras.

The Eisner Award winners are chosen via votes submitted by comic book professionals, and the results will be announced at a ceremony in July this year at Geek Mecca San Diego Comic Con.

The Geek Crusade team wish Sonny the best of luck!