Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Chee Yang Ong Interview (for

While Malaysian artists doing work for American comics is not a new phenomenon, the recent issue of IDW's Transformer All Hail Megatron #13 showcased for the first time ever work by a fellow Malaysian in the pages of an official TF comic: Chee Yang Ong. The following is a transcript of an online interview with him:

All Hail Megatron #13 cover

Tell us a bit about yourself; how long you've been working, past/current gig.

I've been working pretty steadily in comics since 2002, I think. Here's a list of my books:

  • George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (Steve Niles)
  • Wake the Dead (Steve Niles)
  • Tag (Keith Giffen)
  • Tag: Cursed (Mike Leib)
  • Second Wave (Michael Alan Nelson)
  • Ward of the State ( Christopher E. Long)
  • The Foundation (John Rozum/Kody Chamberlain)
  • American Freakshow: The Terrible Tale of Slothboy (Niles)
  • Challenger Deep (Andy Schmidt/Andrew Cosby)
  • Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (Andy Schmidt)
All Hail Megatron #13 interior artwork

You're one of the few Malaysian artist in the field (Billy Tan, Tan Eng Huat), how did you get your break?

Steve Niles (the co-creator of 30 Days of Night) hired me to work on Wake the Dead. And that put me through the proverbial door.

Did you do any work locally (Malaysia)?

I did do some comics for a local comic magazine called Komikoo.

Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan

How do you feel and what's it like being one of the few local artist to break into the US market?

It's been somewhat lonely, LOL. There's only a handful of us here who do that and we usually stay at home and work.

Regarding Transformers, are you a Transformers fan?

I WAS a fan, LOL. I used to watch the cartoon all the time and I could sing every tune from the TF movie. But then I grew up and never got back into it. So having a chance to revisit all these characters by drawing the TF comics has been a trip down memory lane for me.

Freakshow interior artwork

Unlike recent fan favourite TF artist you didn't come from the fandom (Don Figueora, Guido Guidi). Nor is your art associated with anime style/mecha subject (EJ Su). How did you get picked up for the gig?

Thanks to Andy Schmidt. I worked with Andy on a comic called Challenger Deep at Boom! Studios. And when he became editor at IDW, he was nice enough to bring me over to do some Star Trek and TF comics.

Cthulhu Tales cover

Your style and orientation has so far been towards genre/pulp comics, e.g. horror/scifi. How do you feel transitioning towards more mainstream subject and a different kind of audience?

It's been challenging. And it keeps my job fresh and interesting. At one point I think all I was doing was zombies. But now, I'm all over the place. I like it.

We've only seen a single story by you so far but there seems to be precedence in your work which evoke early UK Marvel. Your style could easily be mistaken by somebody who's worked for 2000 AD and the way you combine toy/cartoon aesthetic. Conscious or incidental?

Hmmm.... A bit of both? LOL! I'm not sure. I think it's because I read the old TF comics. I've never read the Dreamwave run or before I started drawing TF, the IDW run. But I didn't consciously go out and try to emulate the old comics either.

Chucky cover

Any more upcoming TF work?

The Bumblebee miniseries with Zander Cannon.

Favourite TF character and TF story you would like to draw most.

Soundwave! I guess that already tells you what TF story I want to draw.

All Hail Megatron #16 cover

Chee Yang Ong's Deviantart account:
Chee Yang Ong's art blog:

Interview by K.A.

Exclusive sketch for Transmy :)

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