Three years ago I reviewed a comic book from an aspiring artist named Mickey Lam. Lam, a self-taught illustrator based in London with a degree in biomedical materials who was then a secondary school science teacher before committing to illustration work, creates a variety of artworks for his clients, using all types of media. He also writes and illustrates comic books to experiment with his style. With his most recent projects it’s clear that it is time for publishers to take note of not only Lam’s finely honed illustrations, but his excellent writing, too.
I read three recent works by Lam: two from his cheerful Fwendly Fwuit characters and a more serious book about the horrors of deforestation. When I first reviewed Lam’s stylish action book Mr. Yang Fights Aliens here at borg.com I took note of his great artwork. What jumps out at me today is his incredible writing.
As for Lam’s Fwendly Fwuit books, these are perfect for kids of all ages. His first in the series, Summer Adventure, shows the coming together of a banana and strawberry as pals, and reminds of me of Frank Cho’s early writing in his University² comic strips. The content is completely different, but like Cho, Lam’s characters pop off the page from the get-go as fully realized, likeable leads. With his high-quality, magazine-sized follow-on book, Winter Wonders, Lam catapults into the realm of Adventure Time and SpongeBob SquarePants. These are unique and creative characters in the same vein as the outside-the-box critters in those popular lines. His environments visually are superb and his creations, like the Melon Wagon in Summer Adventure and his updated Space Melon Wagon from Winter Wonders, are like imaginative features you’d see in a Hayao Miyazaki movie. Lam could be writing the next Adventure Time series, with his Fwendly Fwuit pals or with whatever the mind of Lam creates next.
His more serious content work, Please Save Our Rainforests!, is entirely different and shows a very clean writing style conveying a message that can change the minds and actions of its readers. Please Save Our Rainforests! is the kind of publication that should be picked up and distributed by groups like Greenpeace and PETA, and reminds me of the classic 1960s Smokey Bear comic books handed out by the U.S. Forest Service carrying Smokey’s “Only you can protect forest fires” theme. Lam’s message in his book is no less important. His characters are cute and adorable, and they are juxtaposed against an effort to spread awareness of the ugly, illegal deforestation in Malaysia for palm oil production in Malaysia involving the mass slaughter of orangutans. The story and the message are completely effective.
Publishers like BOOM! Studios should take note of Mickey Lam’s writing and illustration. He could be our next breakout writer/artist.