Webcomic On COVID-19 Pandemic In Malaysia By Ernest Ng

Bro comic book artist Ernest Ng, I hate that, bro has been instrumental in our current pandemic situation.

His web comic, Covidball Z, features familiar faces from the news like Director General of Health Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah fighting Malaysia’s fight against Covid-19.

2 years ago we wrote about Ernest comics which mainly focused on his adventures with his four “brothers”.

They featured titles like Here Comes The Bros and Bro Don’t Like That La Bro, Origins: Back To School, in 2014.

“After many years of pretty much sketching my life, I decided to explore current issues because I wanted to try something new, tell stories on different topics and get out of my comfort zone,” a- he told Vulcan Post.

In addition to posting weekly comics for Covidball Z on his social media, he also runs the production house, MacamYes Studios with Dan Khoo.

Drawing addiction

Some pages featured in Covidball Z / Image credit: Ernest Ng

“It takes a lot for me to do new chapters every week,” said Ernest.

When he started downloading his comics in 2010, the thought of giving up crossed his mind.

3 months later he took a few steps back and decided to change his mind.

“Since then, that thought hasn’t really crossed my mind. Mainly because I decided to just focus on enjoying the drawing process and not think about anything else. I decided to become addicted to drawing, ”he says.

The subjects presented in his webcomics are chosen according to the news collected during the week and connected in a single scenario chapter.

“To be honest, I just pick the ones I like and the ones who can easily fit into the script. If a topic goes too far from the plot, I will usually choose not to cover it. Usually I go for the big topics or virals of the week, ”said Ernest.

An animation of the Ernest comic strip

In order to ensure that he doesn’t mistakenly cover fake news, the illustrator will check reports with journalist friends to confirm or debunk the news that passes.

“I will at least make sure I don’t cover fake news,” he said.

He shared that the writing and planning process is one of the most mentally taxing parts.

Sometimes he was already halfway through when something big happened in the news, so the storyline has to be changed to fit the news into its plot.

Featuring familiar faces

The characters depicted in the webcomics are based on definitive characteristics of recognizable political leaders.

Orange skin for the character of Donald Trump, the tired eyes of our Director General of Health and the lips and mustache for our current Prime Minister.

The COVID-19 character is a sick-looking green alien with a buff body clad in spandex. Ernest pretty much winged it for the design of this character.

“Usually, I don’t think too much about it and just go with the first design that comes to mind.”

“I try not to spend too much time designing because the main goal is to focus on the story,” he said.

The characters in the comics look familiar / Image credit: Ernest Ng

He attributes his inspiration to some of his favorite manga since childhood.

“I am a huge fan of Japanese manga and anime so most of the character designs are based on the most popular ones in particular such as Dragonball Z, Naruto, Bleach, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure,” he added. .

The characters of the animated webcomics are voiced by professional voice actors. Some names include Azman Zulkiply, Steven Bones, and Puteri Hana.

Like us, he doubts his job

Because his work parodies current issues, we were curious how Ernest manages to come up with the right jokes while touching the right places with his audience.

“I doubt my own jokes and my story all the time, but I get over that by just posting the chapter online and just hope everything is fine,” he said.

Giving credit to the intelligence of his readers, he makes his day when they manage to catch the subtle jokes he included in the stories.

Ernest published his book, Covidball Z on September 24, which features deleted scenes and additional chapters that weren’t online.

I thought they didn’t serve the main plot too well. But mainly because I thought they were too stupid and made no sense.

Ernest Ng, Covidball Z comic artist

At the end of 2019, Ernest had around 180,000 followers on Facebook and 20,000 on Instagram.

Covidball Z has now pushed those numbers to over 271,000 followers on Facebook and 46,200 on Instagram.

1000 copies of the book were sold on day one and it is currently available for purchase on Shopee.

  • You can read more about Ernest Ng’s work here.
  • You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Ernest Ng, Covidball Z Comic Artist

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