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Baffled Bunnies and Curious Cats to the Rescue: Covid19 Comix from Singapore

by Sonny Liew for Bunker Bloggers (originally published on the author’s FaceBook page on March 16, 2020, reblogged by permission of the author)

“Baffled Bunny & Curious Cat” by award-winning artist, Sonny Liew, based in Singapore, depicts how Covid-19 temporalities and the exigencies of queerantine care are played out in different sites around the world, in this case on the island state that has been praised for its efficient handling of the coronavirus threat. Working with Dr Hsu Li Yang, Liew sketches out familiar pedagogies of contagion control and their interplay with bureaucratic politicking and inaction. While subtly raising questions about the circulation of folk myths around preventative “cures,” the comics also suggest that a more effective global communication of viral containment may save more lives in the pandemic that knows no borders.        

The comic above was done back in late Jan, and contains what now seems an error in the 8th panel, when the novel coronavirus was still thought to be less infectious than the flu. That’s partly why Dr. Li Yang Hsu insisted on dating the comics, to make it clear that information was limited and conclusions were in a state of flux. Still: it felt important to try to play some small role in dispelling ideas like “the flu is worse, it’s just media hype”.

The next comic we worked on about mask usage had to be revamped midway through the process as Singapore changed the previous messaging about not wearing masks unless one was ill, again highlighting how quickly things were moving in the crisis.
A tribute to Singaporean healthcare workers.

Sonny Liew’s multi-Eisner winning The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was a New York Times and Amazon bestseller, and the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize. Other works include The Shadow Hero (with Gene Luen Yang), Doctor Fate (with Paul Levitz) and Malinky Robot, as well as titles for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, DC Vertigo, Boom Studios and Disney Press.”

With grateful acknowledgement of the support of  “SPHERiC (NMRC/CG/C026/2017_NUHS)” for this collaboration with Dr. Hsu Li Yang.

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