Meme of Brian David Gilbert saying 'I'm not your friend and you have no say on what I do with my body'

Of One’s Own

I'm thinking about how it's time I finally do some #Representation work in my storytelling.

I've a lot of complicated, jumbly feelings about writing stories which borrow too much from my life experience. Since forever ago, I've subconsciously and intentionally avoided writing what they call "ownvoices" fiction. I've so many strange stories featuring a varied cast of characters in my roster, but never one set in Malaysia, and never a character who completely shares major parts of my actual identity: Malaysian Chinese, ace, sort of? non-binary, definitely queer, first-gen immigration of Australia, and other biographical fun facts.

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A Year In, Future Forward

It's more or a less year since

  • My last outdoor public event (The Joe Hisaishi Ghibli concert at the Sidney Myer Bowl in Melbourne). There, I sat on a picnic blanket, surrounded by hundreds of people, maskless, eating cherry tomatoes and Woolies chicken drummets, when coughing at a concert wasn't taboo. Also coincidentally shared the same oxygen space as Neil Gaiman. We both enjoyed the concert. How could we not?
  • The first emergency/lockdown escalation in Melbourne, followed by the military-enforced lockdown in Malaysia.The hilarious, incredibly absurd melodrama as Grand Prix week approached, which I witnessed on a front row seat far away from all the actors. I watched as the racecourse was built, as the pre-show concert commenced, as fans from all over the world (especially Italy!) flooded the trams and made their appearances on my streets... only for the whole thing to be cancelled.
  • My return home to Malaysia. The timing could not be better.
    Though I still miss Melbourne and sometimes wish I was experiencing lockdown there instead... on the other hand, the loneliness would drive me bonkers. I'm glad to be with my family and be in my city where most of my friends are.
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‘Comics are a valid art form too!’

On the rare occasions I step out of my bubble (or, I don't even need to: sometimes the call is coming from inside the house), I time-travel to the era before the rise of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman, Marjane Satrapi, etc, and encounter publishing or academic or institutional or creative people who think comics are not a valid art form or even a medium. Despite the fact comics are flourishing in the US, already a core part of literature in Europe and Japan, accessible to a varied audience, and proving itself a strong representational medium for a variety of issues/topics/experiences. But I don't have to reiterate the statistics and official articles and journals to confirm this. It should be as mundanely acceptable a phenomenon as prose books and films in the global cultural consciousness, because it already is a part of said consciousness.

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Writing Alexander, Book 1

Last weekend I received feedback from my editor, A, finally completing the second of a two part alpha reading stage- allowing me now the comfort to feel I've reached far along enough that I can start talking about the thing. The writing thing.

I wasn't sure how to document the Writing Stage of Alexander Comic (or my graphic novels in general). It's not as instant, fast or natural as the rest of the graphic novel making process, when it's just me reading or sketching or drawing, and I can just post a screenshot/photo accompanied with a quip. You can't really show much with writing; only the end result. Additionally, I have this superstitious belief that the period of making a story come to life should be treated as sacred, private, personal. Talking too much about the writing while you're supposed to be doing the work is an invitation for a jinx, or at least... it invites said jinx to me.

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Site Revamp + Artist sites should be more fun maybe?

So I've been lowkey revamping my website/portfolio, which had increasingly become liminal in a Not Good Way since its last major revamp in 2015-2016. Since 2021's a year of studio-dedicated work (aka no Professional Jobs) and a year of reshifting my career goals, I finally found the excuse and the time to clean up, making the site more functional and more importantly, fun to me.

More thoughts below on how I redesigned and compartmentalised my website, which may be helpful to other artists out there who are looking to do the same thing.

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Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She creates the webcomics The World in Deeper Inspection, and The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya; the latter of which is the first Malaysian graphic novel to be Eisner-nominated.

Currently writing and drawing a whole bunch of stuff. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

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me, shitposting in ancient greece:

*carving into stone tablet* if i were achilles i would simply protect my heel

Reminder that I have a website https://reimenayee.com and a blog https://blog.reimenayee.com for a decently active archive of my artwork and behind-the-scenes thoughts on craft, life and other things. Plus resources!!

I found that period of my life between ages 17 - 20 more impactful than preceding years, since it involved starting a new chapter independently, meeting new people outside of my bubble, lots of milestones, so why is this not explored more commonly in fiction and autobio?

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