Saturday, December 17, 2011

Malinky Robot: Collected Stories & Other Bits

by Sonny Liew

I was a little surprised to see how many of the stories collected in this book I've read before, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of Sonny Liew's unusual comic.  Malinky Robot is about Atari and Oliver, two kids (actually, I'm not too sure what Oliver is; he looks a little like a wool-less sheep) who hang out in the city of San'ya, a post-urban sprawl of slums.

The two kids have some pretty simple adventures, involving stolen bicycles, a rare Stinky Fish, and the joy of found money (a large denominational bill, no less).  They don't go to school (although their friend Misha does), and they are well known to a group of older men like Mr. Bon Bon the construction worker or Mr. Nabisco, who builds robots.

Liew's work captures a sense of childhood, but also the unending possibilities of the urban experience.  Some of the stories don't even involve them - there is one nice story that focuses on the loyalties of Mr. Nabisco's domestic robot.  Anything goes in Liew's world.  I particularly like the way he utilizes a variety of homages to week-end comics strips to fill us in on Mr. Bon Bon's sad past.

Liew is a very talented artist and his work conveys a number of emotions.  It is my hope that we will be seeing more of Atari and his friends soon.

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