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Artist’s new graphic novel illustrates childhood fantasy in vivid watercolour

Long’s childhood inspired Cua So (Window), the 82-page colour comic book. Along with exploring the Old Quarter and its ordinary people, the story delves into mystery and horror.

Artist's new graphic novel illustrates childhood fantasy in vivid watercolour
Artist’s new graphic novel illustrates childhood fantasy in vivid watercolour

In Long’s tale, told through watercolour paintings, a boy is locked inside his house after school while his parents are at work.

He climbs up on a chair to look through the window, and a giant locust with a human head appears.

It takes him and flies him over the city through the night.

“Window is not only a way for the boy to escape to an open space outside his house, but also a way into another world,” Long said.

“The story ends with the boy returning home with a pair of wings on his shoulders, which represents his imagination being winged.”

Long, who paints illustrations for Kim Dong Publishing House, said the comic book was not only made for young children. People aged 12 to 16 and even older can enjoy the story, which was published by Nha Nam Publishing House.

“Adults who love Ha Noi can experience nostalgia in the story, while children can find games, dreams and childhood desires,” he said.

“Horror lovers can find satisfaction in details like the human-faced locust, and the meeting between the boy’s body and soul.”

Long said the story was based on his childhood memories living in a small room on Hang Bo Street.

It had only one window, small and high up near the ceiling.

“My childhood was confined into a small room, but also shined with twinkling lights of imagination,” he said.

“I was very curious about things outside that small window. I dreamed of being able to fly through the window and see the city.”

Long made the comic in two years, after participating in a workshop in Denmark with local painters and writers.

Long has illustrated various children’s books, such as De Men Phieu Luu Ky (Diary of a Cricket), Su Tich Chu Cuoi Cung Trang (A Legend of Cuoi and the Moon) and Lich Su Viet Nam Bang Tranh (A Painting Book of Viet Nam History).

“Long is a distinguished illustrator,” noted writer Le Phuong Lien. — VNS