Badang NDP comic turns folk hero into superhero
Badang story to be featured during National Day Parade
The story of Badang is an old Malay folk tale dating back to 1843.
However, the National Day Parade (NDP) 2016 Committee decided to portray the folk hero as a superhero to make it more relatable to young people.
The illustrator of Badang comic, Mr Elvin Ching, 39, told The New Paper recently: "They wanted a superhero comic theme to run throughout the comic and that was totally up my alley.
"It's what I do and what I'm very passionate about."
Mr Ching, who enjoys drawing superhero comics in his free time, added: "I like how it is a refreshing take to NDP and how we are incorporating superheroes into the story."
Mr Ching has been a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist for eight years.
PASSION: Mr Elvin Ching has illustrated books such as the Danger Dan series. TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
He was approached by the creative director of this year's NDP, Ms Beatrice Chia-Richmond, 42, and the writer of the comic, playwright Michael Chiang, 60.
A Temasek Polytechnic graphic design graduate, Mr Ching previously illustrated children's books like the Danger Dan series and Liquid City.
Badang comic is his most high-profile project yet.
It tells the story of a young fisherman who defeats a water hantu (Malay for ghost) and gains superhuman strength to help the villagers. (See report below.)
The story will also be told through the performances at this year's parade.
Ms Chia-Richmond had said in an earlier interview: "The legend of Badang is a tale of courage, strength and resilience."
The eight-page black-and-white comic with a coloured cover will be included in the fun pack of this year's parade.
TNP will also publish the comic in full in our National Day special on Aug 9.
Mr Ching said that after he first heard about the story of Badang from Mr Chiang, he likened the character to another superhero.
"He (Badang) is very much like Captain America - just a simple person who wants to do good for his community."
The illustrator took about three weeks to finish the hand-drawn comic, sketching and shading in pencil before digitising it.
He also wrote part of the text with Mr Chiang.
Mr Ching said he was happy to be part of the project.
"It's a little bit of a lucky break for me since it's not every day that we can relate such a myth to an archetype like Superman.
"The project came very naturally for me - it's just great to get a project like that when I'm almost 98 per cent there, having drawn comics all my life," he added.
ABOUT THE COMIC
The story of Badang and the Singapore Stone begins with a young fisherman named Badang, who discovers that the fish in his nets had all been eaten up.
Curious, he waits and finds that the culprit is a fearsome creature.
Badang courageously fights and capturs the creature, which turns out to be a water hantu (Malay for ghost).
In return for its freedom, the water hantu grants Badang his wish. He asks for superhuman strength, which he then uses to help villagers.
Soon, he comes to the King's notice and Badang is chosen as his royal guard.
Many come to challenge Badang and in one particular test, he is asked to lift abig boulder that sits on top of a hill.
Badang lifts the boulder and flings it into the Singapore River.
The comic claims that the Singapore Stone, which sits in the National Museum today, is a large fragment of the boulder.