Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 36

The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

by Sonny Liew
Genre notes: history, subversive trolling of a nation, art, comics
320 pages
ISBN: 1101870699 (Amazon)

This book is a marvel and ingenious.

Sonny Liew’s graphic novel masquerades as a retrospective collection of the life’s work of Singapore’s greatest cartoonist, Charlie Chan Hock Chye. In truth, there is no such artist, and the book is instead a roundabout way for creator Liew to unveil a counter-narrative to the Singapore Story, the official explanation of Singapore’s path to independence and success. Liew’s examination of Chan’s comics across the decades brings light to the less-than-shining moments of Singapore’s recent history and the policies of Lee Kuan Yew and lost an art grant from Singapore’s National Arts Council for his trouble. A fantastic example of entertainment as more than entertainment; also a nice, brisk introduction to the island nation of Singapore.

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