Putting The Comic in Comic Fiesta: Cheeming Boey

Comic Fiesta really emphasized the “comic” part of their name this year, bringing in a few notable traditional comics and webcomics creators as panelists. Cheeming Boey, a renowned Malaysian comicker was invited Comic Fiesta for a panel on Day One. He was first known for his illustrations on foam coffee cups, but that was soon superseded by his daily webcomic, I Am Boey, and his autobiographical graphic novel series, When I Was A Kid.

His panel was a Q&A style affair that focused on his 5th and latest book in his series When I Was A Kid 5. So, read on for some insights that you might have missed from his panel.


Why the simplistic art style?

Source: Chapter 207: The Book. (2017). I Am Boey. Available at: https://iamboey.com/9019. (Accessed: 11/1/2019)

The reason was simple, it’s something we all are deep inside as Malaysians, lazy. Initially, he had the mouth of characters shaped like a “3”, but he has since gotten lazier and started using a “7” or “C” shape for the mouth. After some time, he learned that it was not the artistic skill that people craved. He knew that anyone at the creative corner could produce better art than his. But what people want is a good story. So, he chose his childhood stories and drew them out, thus When I Was A Kid was born.


His inspiration for his latest book, When I Was A Kid 5

Source: When I Was A Kid 5. (2018). Cheeming Boey’s Facebook post. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/BoeyCheeming/photos/a.247264672006973/2054287481304674/?type=3&theater. (Accessed: 11/1/2019)

For his 5th book, he wanted to dedicate it to his father. The reason being his father is the 5th brother in his family; in Hokkien, his nickname is “5th Brother”.

How the title “I was born in a time of war” started was with Boey asking his father what toys the father had when he was a kid. Boey’s father replied saying “I didn’t have any toys.” Boey asked “Why? What kid doesn’t have a toy?” and his father just said “I was born in a time of war”, thus the title was formed. The core premise of the book follows the stories of his father’s life during the war.


The secret behind the 5th book’s structure

Both covers shown in the images above are the front and back of Boey’s 5th instalment of his book series. The book is mirrored, meaning that reading from the left tells the story about his father, while the right side’s tells the story of his mother, and you guessed it, they both meet at the centre.

As for the reason why this happened, it was pretty hilarious. Boey’s mother told him, “Why you only write about your father? It’s going to be a very boring book!” Boey got triggered and decided to make a side for his mother and make it as hilarious and ridiculous as possible.


I personally can’t wait to get my hands on the 5th instalment of his hit book series. Have you gotten the book already? Write your thoughts in the comments below!

If you haven’t bought it yet, click here to get yourself a copy!

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