Official Press Release
It’s a good day for Atari and Oliver, two residents of the working-class city of San’ya. Thanks to a bit of luck and a large denominational bill they find, they’ve seen a giant robot movie and they’ve gotten a visit from their friend Misha in their junkyard clubhouse. The boys relish the day, and in this first story of Xeric Award-winning artist Sonny Liew’s Malinky Robot: Bicycle, the art reflects their mood in its mellow and quiet coloring.
“Bicycle is about friendship definitely, an attempt to capture the rhythms of the day spent with friends, just hanging out,” says Liew. “A lot of it is just that, capturing certain moments, ordinary events that somehow have some kind of inner glow.”
But Misha is moving away to the suburbs in Sanrio, and moments like this are going to be rarer for the trio. So after Misha has moved, Atari and Oliver plan a trip to Sanrio, riding off on “borrowed” bicycles and finding freedom in the woods outside the San’ya, which Liew based on a laboring district in northeastern Tokyo. The look of the book changes to the signature penciled style Liew employed in his self-published hit Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues. Once Atari and Oliver meet up with Misha, the three boys discuss their friend Mr. Bon Bon and learn that they all know something a little different about him.
They share their knowledge about Mr. Bon Bon in a series of stories that Liew calls “a kinda sorta Rashomon thing,” referring to the Akira Kurosawa film, which shows the same story through the point of view of four different characters. In Bicycle each boy’s story about Mr. Bon Bon is illustrated in a different style. “The style used in each story is meant to reflect the sensibilities of each storyteller,” Liew explains. In Misha’s story, for example, Liew employs a loose, alternative comics style, while Oliver’s story takes on the format of a newspaper comics page and Atari’s depicts Mr. Bon Bon as a gritty action-comics hero.
The boys learn that there is something tragic in Mr. Bon Bon’s past and begin to piece together the circumstances that led to it. But there is a truth to what has happened that exists only to Mr. Bon Bon and that they cannot discover. In the end, says Liew, Bicycle shows “the unknowability of others, how we know a person only in small ways.”
“Sonny has a real sensitivity for the subtleties of human interaction and emotion,” said SLG’s editor-in-chief Jennifer de Guzman, “but there is also lightheartedness and fun in his stories. He captures how life can constantly swing between happy and sad and everything in between.”
Malinky Robot: Bicycle, is a 48-page digest-sized comic, with sixteen pages of color, scheduled for release in December 2005. For a preview, visit SLG Publishing’s website, www.slgpublishing.com. Creator Sonny Liew was the recipient of a Xeric grant in 2003 for Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues and was artist on the Vertigo hit mini-series My Faith in Frankie. Fans of his art will not want to miss SLG’s Disney comic Wonderland, written by Tommy Kovac and drawn by Liew. It is slated for release in 2006.
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