About to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Old Master Q (老夫子), a Chinese-language comic strip well-known in Chinese-speaking communities around the world, will soon become the first comic to be auctioned by Christie’s, the world-renowned international auction house.
Created by Alfonso Wong (王家禧) in Hong Kong in 1963, using the characters of his eldest son’s name, Wong Chak (王澤) as his pseudonym, the comic strip uses idiomatic four-character sentences for titles, with the comic’s content — usually ranging between four and six panels — portraying the meaning of the title. Since 1995, Alfonso Wong has left his son Joseph Wong in charge of the comic.
The comic strips developed a distinctive, refined artistic style and was quite humorous for its length, with the three main characters, Old Master Q, Big Potato (大番薯) and Mr Chin (秦先生) each having distinct personalities.
Amid the many good turns of fortune for the comic series — a feature film airing in January last year, becoming colored and being offered on smartphones — the series will also be featured in a Christie’s auction house in Hong Kong on Nov. 26.
Christie’s — headquartered on London’s King Street and New York’s Rockefeller Plaza, and owned by Groupe Artemis — is as of the first half of this year, the largest fine-arts auction house in terms of sales, with US$5.7 million in global sales last year and, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Kelley Crow, US$3.5 billion this year.
Three sets of works will be offered at the auction — two four-panel comics and colored book cover-art — drawn by Alfonso Wong in 1967 and 1968 respectively.
Both Absent-mindedness and the Waste of Talent (心不在焉, 大材小用) and Television Facsimile — It makes Sense! (電視傳真, 言之有理) reflected the changing times in the late 1960s and how people were forced to adjust as society marched on.
The cover, titled Flower Throwing, Durian Eating and Umbrella in the Rain (灑花, 吃榴槤, 下雨打傘), was used for a reprint collection, with rich colors and lines.
An arc with flowers, drizzling rain and the waves symbolizing smells at the same time portray three different atmospheres.
The auctioned items will be displayed at a pre-auction exhibition in Taipei tomorrow and Wong Chak will be present.