BONITA CHOI MING-YUI
NOT ALL locally produced comics are of a violent nature. Take Debbie Ho Siu-wan's creations. The former advertisement designer has transformed stories from the Bible into a series of illustrated flip books.
Available at the Hong Kong Book Fair, on at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre until Monday, the four booklets target young children and teenagers, and are aimed at spreading the word of God.
Each flip book tells a story from the Bible and is illustrated with sequential drawings to give the effect of a moving picture.
Ho decided to incorporate animation into her comic books because she recalled similar comics from her childhood, and realised they were not readily available today.
As a Protestant, she wanted to share Christianity with the public.
The artist believes that many young people today have low self-esteem, and that they need to discover their self-worth.
'Apart from entertaining, I want my comics to inspire and educate,' says Ho. 'My target group is from children aged two to students in Form Three, because I believe children absorb morals better at a younger age. Anyway, learning begins very early.
'These flip books are designed to encourage loved ones as well. The stories give strength, and the blank pages at the back leave a space for writing personal messages.'
Ho says illustrating the comics was an enlightening, and peaceful experience. Because her stories relate to nature and everyday objects, she felt a connection to the miracle of creation. She admits that her personal experiences influenced her decision to create the books.
Another influence was the support of her friends, whom she feels helped her widen her perspective.
The books are called The Worldly Creations, A Cup Of Miracle, Rainbow In Your Noodles and A Ladder From The Sky. Ho says the unconventional titles were chosen to intrigue readers, and to bring a contemporary twist to the stories.
To suit Hong Kong's culturally diverse readers, the comics are available in both English and Chinese. In future, Ho hopes to reach a wider market.
'The English is quite simple, and students will find it easy to understand,' says Ho. 'The market is not only in Hong Kong.'