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Interview with Kenfoo on his new book, Freedom Love Forever
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Interview with Kenfoo on his new book, Freedom Love Forever

2 March 2010
JF Koh

Freedom Love Forever, published in November 2009, is a 340-page hardcover book featuring several of Kenfoo's previous short works, but presented as a wildly connected narrative featuring a number of new characters. While the book is at times surreal and cathartic, the overall style is tongue-in-cheek with a wacky and irreverent sense of humour.

What is the story behind the creation of Freedom Love Forever?

There is no story behind its creation. But there is, however, the creation behind the story. And that is me, Kenfoo, the bastard child of comics.

But how did you convince Adrian Teo to publish Freedom Love Forever?

Funny you should ask. First of all, Adrian is a very strange man. I didn't ask him to publish my book. He asked me... and he agreed without even reading it. Then I began to think to myself that maybe he's not of very sound mind. Well he's a big fan of comics, and a wonderful supporter who's contributed so much to the local scene. But he is a very, very strange man indeed. His actions are as unabashed and perplexing as the things that spew from his mouth. Once, he even bought a car in some strange attempt at conceptualizing some strange comic project! I must say; this man is so wildly ambitous in so ludicrous a sense, that he must be stopped!! Sometimes when he looks at me, I feel like I'm looking back through the ass of a monkey. But i guess he's still alright, and I'm not complaining. Strangely enough, we're actually collaborating on a new comic right now, written by the atrocious mind of Adrian Teo himself, and drawn by the genius that is me.

Why do you draw and write comics?

I do it because my parents hate me.

If your parents stopped hating you and started to love you instead, would you then lose your creative mojo and stop doing comics?

Huh? I think that answer can only come from another me from a parallel universe of which that reality is true.

Imagine this. Some evil ninjas break into your home one night and chop off both your hands so that you cannot draw anymore. Yes, I know it's cruel, but it could happen. What will you do then?

I will become a singer, of course. Have you heard me sing? I have the voice of an angel.

I'll take your word for it. How did you get started drawing and writing comics?

First, I discovered paper. Then I discovered the pen. Then I discovered that I was an art genius.

What would you say is the source of your artistic genius?

Why, my genes of course. Like all great artists, I wasn't made. I was born.

What are the most important tools of an artist such as yourself?

Tools? Like what? Paper and pen? Well, paper and pen then, I guess. What a stupid question! Don't ask me stupid questions!

Drawing and writing -- which came first?

Drawing, of course.

What makes your comics different from others?

It's not any different from others. In fact, it's completely the same as others. Because, as everyone knows, different is BAD. People want the same things, so I give them the opposite. Wait... did I just contradict myself?

Is there usually a message in your stories?

I like to think that there are.

Among all your stories, which are your favourites?

Ah, my favourite story... it would have to be my very first comic that I self-published at the tender young age of 24, called Dragon Glade! I borrowed 5 grand from me old man to publish it. Of course, I had to lie that the money was for a degree course in Lego Robotics. I still don't know how I pulled that one off. And I never paid him back of course.

Anyways, it was called Dragon Glade! Yes, what fond and bitter memories I have of Dragon Glade. Now, mind you, this was an exceptional comic on many levels. It was an old school fantasy comic somewhat in the key of Dungeons & Dragons. So ambitious its form, so ground-breaking its dark humour, and so extremely intricate its characters, that no one seemed to grasp its brilliance. And that was how it also failed on so many levels. What can I say? I'm just way ahead of my time.

How does one get hold of a copy of this elusive "Dragon Glade"?

Ahhhhh, JF. I see where you are going with this. Firstly, you must know that Dragon Glade has long been out of print. So of course, no one can get a copy anymore. By now, it's already worth a hundred times its price. I still do retain some copies of course, and no, I'm not giving you one. Ha ha.

Would you say you are more of an optimistic or pessimistic person, and has this changed over the years?

This question is too personal. I don't want to answer it. It's too painful.

Who is your target audience? Or do you not think about that when you create a comic?

You're absolutely right, JF. I don't think about that at all!

What are your childhood influences when you were young?

Don't talk to me about my childhood influences, goddamn you!!

Okay, okay! What kind of comics do you currently dig?

I like Doraemon, Pokemon, and Digimon.

Do monsters deserve some love?

What are you talking about?? Of course not! They are all ugly, and must therefore be destroyed!!

What kind of characters do you enjoy creating the most?

I like creating characters that carry large swords bigger than themselves, who fight evil, dress scantily, are super-powerful, and always win the day. They must also be super good looking, cute, and hot! And they must be out for revenge because someone killed their whole family too.

If you could be any one of your characters, which one would it be?

What a strange question. I reckon I will be 'Bird' in 'Bird Bird'?

Do you get any fan mail from groupies?

No, I don't...

Should kids be reading your comics?

Of course they should. Not only kids, but everyone else too.

If a publisher of children's books came along and offered you a million bucks to do a comic book for them, what ideas do you have in mind?

What a delightful question! Of course I would do it, but that's not my point. Ideas? Why would I tell you?? But the thing is; I HAVE actually completed a children's book of my very own recently, and I hope to have it published one day, soon. Hmm... Maybe that monkey Adrian will be crazy enough to do it again. He IS a strange man, isn't he? Yes, he is...

What is the direction of your future comics?

My direction is no direction. As my imaginary mentor Bruce Lee used to tell me in my sleep: "When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style."

Freedom Love Forever retails in Singapore at these fine stores: