Malinky Robot Comics

Malaysia-born, Singapore based illustrator and comics author Sonny Liew is the creative force behind the Malinky Robot comics. Sonny is currently working on his third Malinky edition, tentatively titled The Balloon Bomb Factory. At the same time he is prepping a Malinky Robot short for the next volume of the Flight anthology.

Sonny created his first Malinky comic in 2003 when he was still a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, as a project for David Mazzuchelli’s class. “Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues was my first solo project. It basically follows the adventures of street urchins Atari and Oliver as they pan handle, go fishing and dream of computer games in the semi-fictional city of San’ya, a near-future city based on the real city of the same name,” Sonny explains. “I was fortunate enough to receive a Xeric grant to self publish. Dealing with printers and distribution was an interesting experience, but I’m glad to let proper publishers deal with those things now.”

Sonny’s biggest comic inspirations were the British weekly 2000 AD, Calvin and Hobbes and the work by Canadian comic artist Chester Brown. “They all gave me a sense of the possibilities of the medium, and made me want to try something of my own. I was also influenced by other visual mediums like movies – from set designs in Bladerunner to the cadences of movies like YiYi and Kikujiro.”

The details of Sonny’s artwork are simply amazing; done entirely in pencil and coloured in on the computer. “I work this way for practical reasons of speed and also just for the softer, sketchier look of the final pages. I’m trying to get the hang of inking though – learning new tools and ways of drawing.”

Sonny is currently working on the third book in the Malinky Robot series, which promises to be a longer narrative and more ambitious in scope. “My hope is still to combine both formal experimentation of form with engaging characters and stories. The story deals to some extent with the relationship between the Second World War and the development of Manga and anime, but it is also about memories and perception and the rhythms of life in the City of San’ya. Its all very vague sounding, I guess clarity would have to be found in the comic itself.”

As for more books in the Malinky series, Sonny says it’s still too early to think about further installments right now. In the meantime he keeps his fingers crossed that Liverpool will win the Quintuplet.

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