In the week leading up to the 2017 Will Eisner Awards voting deadline this Friday, the Comics Beat will feature a series of “For Your Consideration” posts highlighting a number of the nominees as a celebration of their well-deserved acknowledgement. We’ll feature some never-before-seen behind the scenes content and some of the books’ gorgeous interiors. We encourage all of our readers to check these titles out and all of the eligible comics industry members to vote for the titles they think best exemplify what make comics great.
We at Comics Beat are simply in love with Sonny Liew’s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, which is up for six Eisner Awards this year including Best New Graphic Album, Best Writer/Artist, Best U.S. Edition Of International Material (Asia), Best Colouring, Best Lettering, and Best Publication Design. It has racked up more Eisner nominations than any other title this year.
In our Best Comics of 2016 feature, entertainment editor Kyle Pinion pointed to it as one of his definitive favorite OGN of the year. In his words:
Sonny Liew’s contemplative rendering of Singapore’s history by way of a fictional (but all too real on the page) cartoonist is an enrapturing experience. Not only is it a powerful bit of sequential storytelling that challenges Liew to play within a number of different comic genres, art stylings, and narrative formats, but it also gives him an opportunity to view the changing landscape of his homeland through the viewpoint of an artist. I’m not sure I read a more tragic tale than that of Lee Kuan Yew and Lim Chin Siong, and thanks to Liew’s masterful storytelling, I instantly went to Wikipedia to learn more about a corner of the world that I was woefully under-educated in. You can read my full review here. Please do. And then pick this up. It’s still the best OGN of the year in my eyes.
Pantheon recently discussed some of the praise the book has received and controversy it has inspired in a press release:
The book was the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize in 2016, and was lauded by many, including the Economist, the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and the A.V. Club, as one of the Best Graphic Novels of the year, with the NPR’s John Power describing it as “a startlingly brilliant tour de force… at once dizzyingly meta and deeply heartfelt”.
It was thrust into the national spotlight in Singapore after the National Arts Council withdrew its grant for the book just before it was launched, claiming that it breached funding guidelines through its “retelling of Singapore’s history (which) potentially undermines the authority or legitimacy of the Government”.
Sonny Liew was gracious enough to provide The Beat with some exclusive thumbnails from The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye as well as an early draft design for Charlie and a page that didn’t make it into the final version of the title:
Check out of all of our 2017 Eisner coverage.