Singaporean graphic novel ‘The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye’ to get animated adaptation

108 Media will also adapt works by Neil Humphreys and Gopal Baratham

Award-winning Singaporean graphic novel The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye will be adapted for an animated series.

The adaptation will be handled by international production and distribution house 108 Media, which is headquartered in Singapore, the Straits Times reported today (November 9).

Written by Singaporean cartoonist Sonny Liew and published in 2015, The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye tells the story of the titular fictional cartoonist, depicting crucial episodes of Singaporean history in satirical fashion.

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The novel made headlines in 2015 when it had a $8,000 grant pulled by the National Arts Council for its “retelling of Singapore’s history… potentially undermines the authority of legitimacy of the government and its public institutions”, a senior director said at the time.

The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was awarded the Singapore Literature Prize in 2016, becoming the first graphic novel to win. It also went on to win three Eisner awards – the comic equivalent of an Oscar award.

Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye to get animated adaptation Sonny Liew
The book cover of ‘The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye’. Credit: Epigram Books

The upcoming animated series adaptation will span six episodes, each running for around 30 minutes.

In a statement to The Straits Times, Liew said that he had been approached over the years by many companies trying to adapt the graphic novel. But none was able to work out how to successfully adapt The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye to a new medium until 108 Media came along and showed “a level of commitment the others didn’t quite have”.

The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye isn’t the only piece of literature that 108 Media has secured adaptation rights to. The Straits Times reported that the works of Singapore-based British author Neil Humphreys and the late Singaporean literary pioneer Gopal Baratham will also be adapted for different mediums.

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Humphrey’s 2015 crime thriller Marina Bay Sins will be turned into a television series with eight hour-long episodes, with the book’s sequels slated for future seasons.

Baratham’s 1996 mystery classic Moonrise, Sunset is being adapted for a four-episode limited series, and will feature a cast of seasoned local theatre performers such as Neo Swee Lin, Lim Kay Siu, and Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai.

All three adaptations will be produced and shot in Singapore, and are targeted for international release in 2021 or 2022.

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