Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Gone Case" - Book Signing At Kinokuniya

Always on the look out for a refreshing read, Red Dot Diva got to know of the locally-created graphic novel "Gone Case" from a few blog articles around the time of STGCC 2010.

Unfortunately, because she was busy doing a one-diva-show during STGCC, she missed grabbing a copy of "Gone Case" at the booth hosted by writer Dave Chua and artist Koh Hong Teng. So, she reminded herself on her frequently updated to-do list, that she should get a copy of the graphic novel after the STGCC weekend.

It was only after Christmas that Red Dot Diva managed to grab herself a copy of "Gone Case", and after reading just three pages into the graphic novel, she was hooked.

"Gone Case" - based on Dave Chua's award-winning novel - is an astute observation of HDB lifestyle through a young boy's eyes. The coming-of-age story of the young boy named Yong, was made even more enjoyable by the familiar yet very detailed illustrations by Koh Hong Teng.

For a second opinion, Red Dot Diva decided to pass on the book to her mom - who promptly sat at the kitchen table and read most of it at one go. There were moments where Mom gave intermittent short bursts of laughter. Apparently, Mom found the detailed drawings and scenes (- like the one of Yong's father doing his morning bathroom rituals, which in turn reminded Mom of Red Dot Diva's dad... - )very amusing in a visual sense too.

So when the "Gone Case" book signing session by Dave and Hong Teng on 8th January 2011 at Kinokuniya Takeshimaya was announced, Red Dot Diva had to go say hello to them in person.

Red Dot Diva was about 15 minutes late for the book signing at 2pm. There weren't that many people at the event, although a few curious Kinokuniya shoppers stopped for awhile to listen to the session. Dave and Hong Teng, however, had their friends and some fans there to support them - including "The Resident Tourist" 's writer/ artist Troy Chin as well as Eisner-nominated comic artist, Sonny Liew.

Seated at a simple set up placed at the book store's "Crossroads", there was a short Q and A hosted by Lim Cheng Tju, who is a pop-culture/ comic-meister and writes for The Comic Journal.

Cheng Tju asked the duo what their thought process was like when creating good sequential art, where the beat of the story is expected to flow seamlessly from one panel to the next. Dave revealed that in order to craft and write a good story, he gives a lot of thought to the tale's ending.

Hong Teng said, "As an artist, you tend to prefer drawing a big scene with a lot of action. But if it doesn't serve its purpose to the story, I think we have to refrain from that. You have to look out for these points, where you want the big scenes to be.. and where you want to throw a little humour here and there."

When Cheng Tju opened the Q and A session to "the floor", Red Dot Diva managed to throw in one question.

Red Dot Diva to Dave: Was there any segment of the book that was particularly poignant to you?
Dave: When we first saw the initial sketches, I saw Hong Teng drew the grandmother sleeping on one half of the bed, and of course, that scene really captured the moment for me. And I told myself that this guy gets it. So I knew that Hong Teng was the right person to adapt the book (to graphic novel).
Hong Teng teasingly added: I actually half-suspected that when I was showing him the pencil sketches and he was like... (Hong Teng made gestures of tears running down his cheeks.)

The crowd laughed because they empathized well with that scene.
Red Dot Diva: Awww..
Troy turned to Red Dot Diva and commented: That sure helped a lot!
Cheng Tju: Yeah, it was very moving...

Troy then posed a question about how Dave/ Hong Teng decided which was the appropriate juncture to split the book story into the second chapter, because that was usually one of the trickier parts of sequential story-telling.

Dave said that they decided on a straight-forward approach with this and simply based the first graphic novel on Chapters 1 to 4 of the original book publication. The main objective was to make the readers look forward to reading the second book.

"There is always a time frame where we can afford to do this," Dave admitted. He said that it is not practically possible to spend a long stretch of time to adapt the entire book in just one graphic novel because they each have other projects to do as well.

With that, the Q and A session ended and fans lined up to get their books signed. Red Dot Diva waited for most to get their autographs before approaching Dave and Hong Teng to get hers signed. Because she had interacted with Dave on the social networks before, Red Dot Diva chatted a little with him and told him that she really enjoyed the book. And so did her mom - whose favourite character was Ah Ma. Dave smiled and said, "Yes... everyone's favourite and most well-loved character." Red Dot Diva also quickly formally introduced herself to Hong Teng.

Amongst the two, Red Dot Diva found Hong Teng to be the more outspoken while Dave was the gentle soul.

For those who are eager for "Gone Case" Book 2, Dave and Hong Teng are targetting for its release in the third quarter of 2011. Also, they are hoping to probably translate the graphic novel into Chinese.


Check out for a second part of this blog post where Red Dot Diva asked Dave and Hong Teng some questions as well as give her review of the "Gone Case" Book 1!

For more about "Gone Case" the graphic novel, check out the website right here!

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