Date King 1: Singapore Dating by Adrian Teo and Kenfoo

Title: Date King 1: Singapore Dating
Loved it
Author: Adrian Teo
Illustrator: Kenfoo
Publisher: Epigram Books
Elements: Singapore, Graphic Novel
Series: Graphic Novel 1 of the Date King series

datekingAh King is a Singaporean guy desperate for love. Armed with an average personality and a clueless, straight-talking attitude, Ah King shows his true self in this book, warts and all (mostly warts!). Join “Date King” on his misadventures and laugh out loud as he searches for the girl of his dreams in this first book of a brand new series.

For the first ever graphic novel review here, I’ve chosen to delve into Epigram Books’ Date King. I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to illustrators and art styles in the Southeast-Asian region, but never fear! I will try my best to do justice to the graphic novel.

The artwork features characters that are almost chibi-like with its short limbs and round faces–though of course, it could be a reflection of the stereotypical Asian look. The major contrast comes to the eyes of the characters–neither large nor rounded, it brings some maturity to the facial features. Despite any use of bold strokes, the characters are the focal point of the art.

Credits: Epigram Books
In the case of our titular character Ah King, his perpetual side-eye seems to bring an oozy sleaziness to the character that perfectly complements how the character is written. I am quite fond of Ah King–he’s not the average Singaporean man looking for love. Perpetually down on his luck when it comes to the dating scene, be it through circumstance or his own actions, he’s a constant loser in the game. And this leads me to root for his success somewhere along the way, if only to see if any of his (blatantly hilarious, misguided) ‘advice’ works for him.

We don’t get to know much about any of the characters aside from Ah King. There’s not much plot to the Date King; instead, what we have is a faux-glossary of the common stereotypical types of players in the dating game, from the Ah Beng to the Bankers, so on and so forth. Real life, everyday Singaporean concerns are handled with a sly tongue-in-cheek approach–this is less an analysis or criticism of the issues the average Singaporean faces, and more a feel good graphic novel that is perfect for reading during the commute.

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