Sonny Liew

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Sonny Liew
Sonny Liew at STGCC 2014
Born (1974-09-26) 26 September 1974 (age 48)
Alma materVictoria School
Victoria Junior College
Clare College, Cambridge
Rhode Island School of Design
Known forSingaporean comic artist and writer of The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
Notable workThe Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (2015)

Sonny Liew (born 26 September 1974) is a Malaysia-born comic artist/illustrator based in Singapore. He is best known for The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (2015), the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize for fiction.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Seremban, Malaysia, Liew attended school at Victoria School and Victoria Junior College in Singapore.[2] He went on to read philosophy at Clare College in Cambridge University in UK and studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001.


His first foray into comic illustration was with Singaporean tabloid paper The New Paper in 1995, contributing a comic strip titled Frankie and Poo. A compilation of the strips was published by Times Publishing in 1996. Shortly after his graduation from Rhode Island Liew got his first break into the American comics industry when Shelly Bond signed him on for Vertigo Comics' My Faith in Frankie together with Mike Carey and Marc Hempel.

His work has appeared in the Flight Anthologies edited by Kazu Kibuishi, and he has served as editor of the Eisner-nominated Southeast Asian comics anthology Liquid City [3] from Image Comics. In 2011, he was nominated for an Eisner award in the pencilling/inking category for his work on SLG and Disney's Wonderland, written by Tommy Kovac. Other titles include Marvel Comics' Sense and Sensibility adaptation, First Second Books' "The Shadow Hero" with Gene Luen Yang, An origin story for the obscure Golden-Age comic book hero The Green Turtle, who is thought to be the first Asian-American superhero[4] and DC Comics' "Doctor Fate" with Paul Levitz.

He is also the creator of Malinky Robot, a Xeric Award recipient in 2004 and winner of the “Prix de la Meilleure BD” (Comic Album of the Year) at the Utopiales International SF Festival in Nantes in 2009.[5] He was a recipient of Singapore's Young Artist Award[6] in 2010.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye[edit]

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was first published and released by Epigram Books in 2015. It charts the life and career of a fictional comic book artist, the eponymous Charlie Chan Hock Chye, and by weaving together fact and fiction, and different genres, tells the story of the formative years of Singapore's modern history and the history of comics.

Shortly before the book's release in Singapore, the National Arts Council withdrew its grant of $8,000 for the title, citing "sensitive content" and its potential to "undermine the authority and legitimacy" of the government.[7][8][9] The comic became the best-selling local fiction title that year.[10] The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was published in the United States by Pantheon Books in 2016 and went on to make bestseller lists at Amazon and The New York Times, which was unprecedented for a Singaporean graphic novel.[11] Besides winning the Singapore Literature Prize, it also won the Book of the Year accolade at the Singapore Book Awards in 2016.[12] It was awarded the Pingprisen for Best International Comic in 2017. At the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, Sonny Liew and The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye won three Eisner Awards—Best Writer/Artist, Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Asia, and Best Publication Design. It was also nominated for three other Eisner Awards—Best Letterer, Best Colorist, and Best Graphic Album - New.

List of selected works[edit]

Godshaper #1 (2017, Boom! Studios)

  • Variant Cover Artist

Shadow Hero Comics #1 (2017, Panda Express)

Revolutionaries #1 (2017, IDW Publishing)

  • Variant Cover Artist

GI Joe Vol.8 #1 (2016, IDW Publishing)

  • Variant Cover Artist

Transformers Lost Light #1 (2016, IDW Publishing)

  • Variant Cover Artist

Optimus Prime #1 (2016, IDW Publishing)

  • Variant Cover Artist

M.A.S.K. Mobile Armored Strike Kommand #1 (2016, IDW Publishing)

  • Variant Cover Artist

Doctor Fate Vol 4 #1-12, #15-16 (2015-2016, DC Comics)

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (2015, Epigram Books; 2016 Pantheon Books)

  • Creator, writer, artist.

Jim Henson's Storyteller: Witches (2015, Archaia Entertainment)

  • Cover Artist

Americatown #1 (2015, Boom! Studios)

  • Variant Cover Artist

Hacktivist #1 (2015, Boom! Studios)

  • Variant Cover Artist

Abigail and the Snowman #1 (2014, Boom! Studios)

  • Variant Cover Artist

Warm Nights Deathless Days: The Life of Georgette Chen (2014, National Gallery Singapore)

  • Creator, writer, artist

The Shadow Hero (2014, First Second Books)

Malinky Robot: Collected Stories & Other Bits (2011, Image Comics)

  • Artist, Writer

Vertigo Resurrected: My Faith in Frankie (2011, DC Vertigo)

Sense and Sensibility (2010, Marvel Comics)

  • Artist. With Nancy Butler (Writer).

Au Pays des Merveilles (2010, Bao)

  • Artist, Co-Creator. With Tommy Kovac (Writer).

Le Tour du monde en bande dessinée vol 2 (2009, Delcourt)

  • Artist, Writer

Pride and Prejudice (2009, Marvel Comics)

  • Cover Artist

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #50 (2009, Marvel Comics)

  • Artist. With Roger Landridge (Writer).

Wonderland (2009, Disney Press)

  • Artist, Co-Creator

Malinky Robot (French Edition) (2009, Bao)

  • Artist, Writer

Liquid City (Vol. 1, 2, 3) (2008-2014, Image Comics)

  • Editor, Artist, Writer

Wonderland (2006-7, Slave Labor Graphics/Disney Press)

  • Artist, Co-Creator . With Tommy Kovac (Writer).

Re-Gifters (2007, DC Minx)

Flight (Vol. 2, 5, 8) (2005–11, Image Comics/Villard)

  • Artist, Writer

Malinky Robot: Bicycle (2005, Slave Labor Graphics)

  • Artist, Writer

My Faith in Frankie (2004, DC Vertigo)

Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues (2002, Self-Published under Red Robot Productions)

  • Artist, Writer

Marvel Universe Millennial Visions (2002, Marvel Comics)

  • Pin-up Artist

Frankie & Poo: What is love (Incomplete and abridged) (1996, Times Books International)

  • Artist, Writer


  1. ^ "S'pore Literature prize goes to graphic novel for first time". The Straits Times. 15 July 2016. Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  2. ^ hermes (12 February 2017). "Lunch With Sumiko: The art of Sonny Liew". The Straits Times. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  3. ^ Khouri, Andy (26 December 2008). "LIQUID CITY: Image Anthology Spotlights S.E. Asia". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  4. ^ Yang, Gene Luen (15 July 2014). "The Shadow Hero". First Second – via Amazon.
  5. ^ Rédaction, La (3 November 2009). "Les 10es Utopiales cherchent des Mondes Meilleurs". Wartmag. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  6. ^ Nanda, Akshita (13 October 2010). "Young and arty". Straits Times. Retrieved 13 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "NAC withdraws grant for graphic novel publisher due to "sensitive content"". TODAYonline.
  8. ^ "NAC pulled grant from comic as it 'potentially undermines the authority of the Government'". The Straits Times. 3 June 2015. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Graphic novel 'undermines Govt's authority': NAC". Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Sonny Liew novel in 3rd print run". The Straits Times. 26 June 2015. Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  11. ^ hermesauto (18 March 2016). "Fictional graphic novel The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye makes bestseller lists on Amazon and New York Times". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Singapore Book Awards: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye wins Book of the Year". Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.

External links[edit]