Malaysian Comics: Benny Wong and Fatal Chaos
In 2007, Malaysian artist Benny Wong won Japan’s first International Manga Award, for a comics in Bahasa Malaysia called Le.Gardenie. Here is an article on Wong, from The Star:
Significantly, the achievement has validated Wong’s ambitions in the local comic industry, which began long ago when he was still a student following manga such as Video Girl, I’s, and Dragon Ball.
However, his father forbade him from reading manga and urged him to concentrate on his studies instead.
“He wanted me to be an engineer. And I was totally uninterested in doing calculations, especially in physics,” the Malacca-born Wong recalled with a laugh.
He ended up studying business administration. But when his friend introduced him to comics publisher Gempak Starz in 2000, he decided to try his hand at being a mangaka, first freelancing for the company, later working for it full-time. (He has since left Gempak.)
So how did Dad take all this – his “rebellion” and his success now?
“My father was ambivalent about my career at first, but luckily my first book, Innocent, was well-received and I started to have fans,” Wong said.
The determined young man worked hard to make a name for himself. “I proved to him then that drawing manga is a viable career and a proper job, so my dad became ‘a little’ proud of me,” he said with a chuckle.
Now, his parents are “very proud” of him. “I totally changed my parents’ thinking!” he added triumphantly.
Since his win, Wong has gone on to work on other comics projects in Malaysia, including Fatal Chaos:
Fatal Chaos is a Malaysian comic by Gempakstarz artist Benny Wong Thong Hou which was first published in the first issue of Starz Magazine. In April 2007, Fatal Chaos was transferred to Starz’s sister magazine Gempak. On September 2007, artistic duties transferred to Juice (Norman Noh) under the alias GempakStarz when Ben resigned from Gempak. This series ran from the month of June 2004 to August 2008 in Gempak’s 211st issue.
This series tells the story about Rex, a teenager who has been expelled 8 times because of his disobedience and discipline problems. One day, he meets Eva, who then suddenly becomes his crush. With his best friend Max, he tries to fit in his new college where he faces a lot of martial arts students, and a secret association, called the Evil Rabbit Gang that are related to his hidden past.
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