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Advertise on the Tentacle

July 12, 2017

Comic Book Rising Like the Phoenix

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – "Borneo Boys'" is back from the dead. Like Lazarus, it has been revived! I thought it was long buried, gone and forgotten.


For those of you who are new at, or just plain forgot what I am talking about, here is a brief recap: Borneo Boys was a comic book created by yours truly and his wife Suriani. It combined both the history of Sarawak and the English language. It consists of two boys who meet and go on adventures.


I thought it would be excellent for schools and tourists as it also had a reading section, plus a map, and a translation of local foods. Boy was I wrong.


We tried to sell them to schools and other places, but no such luck. We contacted over 250 businesses, both here and on the Peninsula (West Malaysia) several times but came up with zip. I ended up sitting on the waterfront peddling them to tourists behind a blue table. See a previous column for that nightmare.


Fast forward to last month. I was reading the local Borneo Post when I saw an article about how English was really being touted. As an afterthought, I told my wife to contact the secretary of the government agency responsible for this push.


She talked to him, and he said to send a letter. This was the same game we played before, but I thought one more try could not hurt. We sent the missive and did not hear from anyone for about a month.


Suddenly, a phone call came from the secretary saying the number two man wanted to see us, would we attend? Of course, we agreed with a faint glimmer of hope that "Borneo Boys" would be revived. The Minister, after a long conversation, wanted a number from us for 1,000 copies of "Borneo Boys."


Making a comic book is not easy. First we have to have someone who knows the history of the area. Since the total history has never been written down before, I had to perform that task. Then, I had to come up with a story where my characters could participate in the action.


I drew my story board with stick men on how I thought the action should take place. I took my drawings to two artists and explained to them what I wanted. The artists then took my stick figures and made a comic book. We had to check each fact to make sure the history was accurate. In the middle, will be a pull out section written in English for the older children.


I am a bit ambivalent about reviving this project which I thought was gone forever. However, I am retired, my historical publications will be published and this will be (maybe) a nice respite as I sail into senility.


If you would like a copy, and I don't know why you would because when I advertised two years ago nobody purchased our hard work, send me your country for international postage. I will then send you the total amount plus $3.00. You can pay via Pay Pal.


...Life is good. . . . .


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