Penang cartoonist unrolls 151m comic, sets record in Malaysia
The designer Azmi Hussin SAGA Kami The comic is now the longest-running comic in the country, according to the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR).
The artist born in Butterworth, Penang, used 510 strips of paper (A4 size) to create the 151m long comic. December 12, SAGA Kami The comic was launched during an MBR ceremony at Penang City Stadium, which saw veteran cartoonist Datuk Lat as the guest of honor.
It is Azmi’s third entry in the MBR. In 2017, he secured a place in the MBR for producing the highest number of caricatures in 24 hours (with 320 living subjects) and he was recognized for the longest coffee painting (101m long) in 2019.
The Proton Saga, Malaysia’s first national car introduced in 1985, is the star of SAGA Kami. Traveling from Penang, then Ipoh and finally Melaka, it’s a story of family, friendships and Malaysian multiculturalism.
“I was inspired after watching Ola Bola. It was a truly Malaysian film where every community had equal representation. There was no hero per se. It was the subject of football itself that was the central figure so to speak.
âAnd I wanted to create something like that with my comic book. That’s why I made the Proton Saga the hero of SAGA KamiÂ», Reveals Azmi during a telephone interview.
The artist started working on his comic in November and devoted eight hours a day to it. He finished the comic in 30 days. In a mad rush to the finish line, the father of three spent 24 hours finishing SAGA Kami before submitting it to the MBR on December 11.
“It was crazy but I guess that’s normal for an artist!” he laughs.
In the comic, a Malaysian family from Penang purchases a Proton Saga. The owner’s son develops an unexpected bond with the car.
The Proton Saga was then sold, after the owner’s death, to a couple of Ipoh Indians. Eventually, the car was sold to a Chinese from Melaka, who believed the Proton Saga brought him luck.
Years later, the son of the original owner finds the Proton Saga in Melaka and finds his favorite car.
Azmi’s project to create the longest comic book (in Malaysia) started in 2018.
But he couldn’t finance his dream. After receiving a 10,000 RM Art For All Seasons grant this year from Yayasan Hasanah, he had the means to finally launch the project.
Apart from SAGA Kami, Azmi has been working on a series of commissioned murals from cafes and schools in George Town. He also spent three months finishing his new book Tanjong Life: the new standard, which was supported by the George Town Festival. It was a comic book that was created entirely during lockdown.
As for SAGA Kami, Azmi hopes that the comic will be published in book form.
âI thought it would be great to publish it as a book and put it in libraries across the country because of the family and multicultural themes of the comics. I would like it to be a source of inspiration for Malaysians, âhe concludes.