Thu, Apr 11, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Cartoonist says weight kept him inside as boy

By Wu Po-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Mei Mei, a character created by cartoonist Mr HH, contemplates a hot dog.

Photo courtesy of Mr HH

Self-taught cartoonist Mr HH said he had been so ashamed of being overweight as a boy that he hid at home to avoid gibes and stares.

The artist is known for his plus-sized female comic character “Mei Mei” (美美), which became an Internet sensation in Taiwan.

Now in his 30s, he has 1.57 million followers on Facebook and said that he would travel to Hong Kong in June to arrange a display of some of his work at CoBo House, a popular restaurant.

Mei Mei was originally created as a supporting character, but her unexpected popularity among fans led to her promotion to a member of the main cast, Mr HH said on Saturday last week.

The character is beloved by his fans because she is a confident, tough-minded person who does not mince words, he said, adding that she makes smart-aleck comments about common situations in life that cause frustration.

A strip in which Mei Mei says that “I am not exhausted because I am tired, I am exhausted because people are tiring” is a fan favorite, Mr HH said.

“Thin, beautiful and handsome people get all the attention,” he said. “I created Mei Mei to be an inspiration to readers who have lost their self-confidence or think they will not be loved because of their figure.”

People should not let “social media darlings” dictate how they feel about their bodies and he hopes the comics give heart to their readers, Mr HH said.

To stand out among a plethora of cartoonists and illustrators in Taiwan, artists should aspire to put a personal stamp on their work and express ideas that are relevant to society, he said.

“I am interested in crossing over to the fashion industry and maybe find collectors who like to buy my work,” Mr HH said. “I want Mei Mei to claim her place in high art.”

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