I was approached by HELP Family Service Centre last year. They wanted a comic book that can help people understand some of the difficulties faced by single-parent families. I've turned down comic projects because the projects were basically commercial, and I didn't quit my full-time job so I can draw forgettable commercial comics. But this one is different. I feel this one can really make a difference and challenge me creatively.
Suffering the loss of one parent is traumatic for anyone. It doesn't matter if the loss is due to death, divorce or any other reasons. The remaining parent and child/children learn to cope - what they need is respect and understanding, not scorn or pity.
Sometimes, people look down on divorcees - "It must be your fault that the marriage did not work out!" - and their children - "You don't have a dad or mom, you have no future!". These views are not helpful, ignoring that these families can still strive to do their best in life. In fact, the loss of a parent may cause the remaining family members to value and love each other more.
I interviewed 3 families. They were generous in sharing their stories, and I'm sure they hope that their sharing would help other people in similar situations. It took me several months to work their stories into storyboards, and finally comic frames. The drawing took a few more months - that's on top of my own Sir Fong comic schedules! But finally the book is printed! Hopefully, the pictures will speak volumes and reach out to a larger readership than books of written words can!
HELP is a non-profit organisation. So the comic books will not be for sale in the bookstores. If you're lucky, your school or organisation may invite them over to give talks, and that's when the 48-page comic book will be available for free! I'll be looking forward to feedback from HELP when they start sharing the comic books in 2011!