Comics creator, Erica Eng this month became the first-ever Malaysian winner of an Eisner Award, the comics industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Eng’s webcomic, Fried Rice, which depicts the life of a Malaysian teenager, clinched the Best Webcomic award at this year’s Eisner ceremony, which was held virtually amid the coronavirus.
Her work was the top pick edging out fellow nominees Cabramatta by Matt Huynh, Chuckwagon at The End Of The World by Erik Lundy, The Eyes by Javi de Castro, and reMIND by Jason Brubaker.
In a recent interview, Eng described Fried Rice as “a work of autobiographical fiction” that revolves around Min, 17, an aspiring artist and animator from Johore who visits her relatives in Kuala Lumpur.
Erica’s art is familiar and nostalgic, giving us a slice of Malaysian life with every update. Her comic inspiration is Lat, and she hopes to depict a modern Malaysian life for international and local audiences. The story (about 200 pages) is actually based on her own experience after graduating high school and journey to become an artist and animator.
It is also reported that Malaysian-born Singaporean comics creator Sonny Liew had previously won three Eisners in 2017 for The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.
Erica credits her win to her parents and her faith.
“Thank you mom and dad for your unending support and prayers,” she said on Instagram. “And thank you to my Malaysian brothers and sisters who’ve inspired me with your lives to set this story in our own beautiful country.”
Here’s to more wonderful creations from you Erica. Congratulations!
Here’s what you need to know: The Will Eisner Comic Industry Award is akin to the Academy Awards of the comic industry. The votes for the awards are only open to comic industry professionals, and we have had four Malaysian’s nominated for this coveted award. Nominations in each category are decided upon by a five- to six-member jury that consists of at least one comics retailer, one librarian, and one academic researcher. They are then voted on by comic book professionals and presented at the annual San Diego Comic-Con.