Wed, Sep 09, 2015 - Page 5 News List

‘Old Master Q’ to stand test of time, author says

By Wu Po-hsuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Joseph Wong, second-generation author of the Old Master Q cartoon strip, stands with a 1.7cm tall statue of the main character in an undated photograph. Joseph Wong plans to market smaller models of Old Master Q toward the end of this year.

Photo: Chien Jung-Fong, Taipei Times

Although Alfonso Wong’s (王家禧) comic series Old Master Q (老夫子), a Chinese-language comic strip well-known in Chinese-speaking communities around the world, has since been passed to Wong’s son, Joseph Wong (王澤), the latter is confident that the comic strip will withstand the test of time.

First published as a four-panel series in 1960, the comic strip, known in Chinese as Lao Fu Zi, was very well-received in papers and magazines up until the 1990s, when Alfonso Wong began suffering from health problems.

It was at that time that Joseph Wong stepped up and gradually took over the publication of the comic strip and the management of its spinoffs.

Joseph Wong said that readers of the comic strip span multiple generations and do not seem to be confined to national boundaries, and he has seen second-generation or third-generation children of Chinese descent in the UK and the US who, despite being barely able to speak Chinese, are still drawn to the comic strip.

Children in Mexico and other South American nations also visit their local Chinese bookshops specifically to pick up the comic strip, Joseph Wong said, adding that he believes the comic strip has a sort of allure that inspires a child’s innate yearning to doodle.

“It’s a state of mind that is most natural and it seems to be preserved in people,” Joseph Wong said, adding that he believes that was the reason for the comic strip’s resounding success.

Like brands such as Louis Vuitton, or the indispensable spices in Indian cuisine, Old Master Q has become a classic over the years, Joseph Wong said.

Following auctions of Old Master Q items at Sotheby’s in both 2008 and last year, the production of toy figurines is planned later this year by Old Master Q ZMedia in conjunction with Japanese company Be@rbrick, as well as plans to make life-size models of Old Master Q and other characters.

Joseph Wong said he has wondered whether the comic strip would still be remembered if it had ceased when his father had become ill and he had not stepped up to succeed him, but it has has always been there and it is continuing to adapt to modern times.

Originally reflecting the culture of Hong Kong, the comic strip has moved on to incorporate Joseph Wong’s own experiences of Hong Kong and Taiwan over the past 20 years.

However, Joseph Wong said that he is not the deciding factor on the value that society places on the comic strip; that is up to the public.

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