A graphic story that inspires with delight
Only rarely can a book inspire such delight and joy as this. It is a treasure of graphic storytelling, not least because it does things that only graphic storytelling can do.
It works on several levels, wonderfully. Liew presents the fictional life story of Chan, an elderly comics artist in Singapore, through reprinting his work, from full strips to scraps of crumpled paper, and framing it with interview-style sequences featuring Chan, and sometimes Liew.
Simultaneously, he presents the compelling modern history of Singapore, as Chan lives through social and political change and folds it into his comics work with varying amounts of subtlety.
Meanwhile, this is also the history of comic books, reflected in Chan’s changing style and adding a layer of fun for comic book fans who can spot the references.
Everything here is gorgeous and rewarding, adding up to one of 2016’s most important graphic novels. It’s perfect.