“The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” has won yet another accolade for its bag of trophies in Denmark's Pingprisen 2017. The much-acclaimed Singapore graphic novel was announced the best international comic in the awards at the Storm P Museum in Frederiksberg on 2 June (Friday).
Sharing a same name with an older award which ran from 1986 to 1996, the current Pingprisen was founded by the comics website Nummer9 in collaboration with the Danish Comics Council in 2012. The award is a collaboration between the cartoon magazine Nummer9, the Danish Comic Book, Komiks.dk and the Storm P. Museum.
There were in total seven categories award presented, as well as the Pingprisen honorary award to the intermediary Morten Søndergaard, of whom many refer as Marvel-Morten. The Best Danish Comic Book of the Year was won by "Dansker", the last part of Danish graphic novelist Halfdan Pisket's trilogy about his Turkish father.
"When I was writing and drawing the book, I never imagined it would be read in Denmark, much less win any awards there - so this is a real surprise and honour. I've actually looked up what the award looks like on the internet, and it's one of the nicest statuettes I've ever seen - it's full of character and whimsy, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the little guy in person. " wrote the Singaporean graphic novelist Sonny Liew for his acknowledgment at the award presentation.
Announcing the award for his graphic novel, Liew further wrote on his Facebook page, "Looking forward to seeing that bowler-hatted bird statuette's arrival in Singapore, where he may find himself occasionally being fondly used as a paperweight."
“The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” uses different forms of comic illustrations to depict the life of a Singaporean artist which spans across 60-odd years of Singapore history. The first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and Lim Chin Siong, co-founder of People's Action Party and former Secretary General of now-defunct Barisan Sosialis are depicted side by side within the book.
Liew has since achieved several awards for his graphic novel, having bagged the Singapore Literature Prize, and winning Book of the Year accolade at the Singapore Book Awards in 2016. His comic also became the best-selling local fiction title in 2015, and went on to make it to the bestseller lists at Amazon and The New York Times when it was published in the US.
The graphic novel is also leading the distinguished Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, more commonly known as the Eisner Awards, with the most number of nominations this year. The results will be announced this coming 21 July.
Despite its much-acclaimed success and just before the peak of his recognition, the publication had its approved $8,000 publication grant withdrew by National Arts Council (NAC) under the reason of "sensitive content" depicted in the 324-page comic book.