'THE BOAT' is an interactive graphic novel based on the acclaimed short story by Nam Le and produced by SBS Interactive. It combines brushwork, animation, text, sound and archive to tell the story of 16-year-old Mai, whose parents send her alone on a boat after the Fall of Saigon.
The project was launched in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and 40 years of Vietnamese resettlement in Australia.
VIEW THE INTERACTIVE COMIC AT HTTP://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/THEBOAT/
‘MA’ tells the story of a young married couple forced to flee their homeland by the escalating Vietnam War. In Malaysia’s refugee camps, they treasure pockets of silliness and romance as they learn to raise two boys and await news from home and of their uncertain future.
“The quiet moments, where the parents are still with their children, are rendered carefully and it really feels like you’re watching this moment in time, through tears that occasionally blur the scene from view ... a real life that was lived and experienced. ‘MA’ feels like that. I am here now, I was lucky.” — Faesthetic
“5/5, A touching and painful story to read at times, but Huynh does a wonderful job of making it relatable on the human level with his storytelling.””— Comic Bastards
“It’s an old story ... one that’s backed up by nothing but fear. Huynh’s book is compelling precisely because he turns that fear around...The sensitivity and power of his brush strokes is held in check by a sense of restraint as he lets the images tell the story for him.”— Rob Clough
"Writer and artist Matt Huynh works in the corridors of history where world events interact with the personal... There’s an urgency to Huynh’s writing. It’s a rush towards the unknown, the narrative unfolding. Finding itself with each page, each panel. Huynh’s ink wash painting is the voice of memory. The shallow fog of looking back." - Evil Tender
This collection of comics takes an emotional, historical, social and psychological trip through Sydney's historic Chinatown district. The stories spotlight a seldom-exposed side of the neighbourhood, experienced by those who live and work in the area and hidden to visitors behind tourist attractions. These stories of childhood, business, local clubs, student life and migration encompass a wide breadth of tones and weight – from anecdotes of the everyday and slice of life observations to the significant, life changing, whimsical, frustrating, and poignant.
Developed with the support of 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art.
Launched at the Sydney Opera House for Graphic Festival.
'Double Dragon Kung Fu Academy' was exhibited in the Society of Illustrators 54 Sequential Art Annual.
“Huynh prefers to let the diaspora speak visually by revealing what is hidden. In one of his earlier comics on Sydney’s Chinatown, “Double Dragon Kung Fu,” the step-by-step preparation for a New Year’s parade unfolds like a martial arts instruction manual. It’s a lyricized self-training coursebook, starting from spartan aerobics and building up to a full-fledged lion dance in a lavish banquet hall, and hand-building their own stage—a forest of slim pillars topped with tiny platforms, between which the lion dancers will spring nimbly in glittery furry pantaloons, the whole team melding into a singular mythical corpus. The lions lunge and bow in imperial splendor, but soon the team dissembles into the sum of its parts—a circle of friends, perched on a new horizon, bound by something deeper than tradition.”
- Matt Huynh Inks Stories of an Inherited War, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, by Michelle Chen.
CAB is a graphic novel collection of short autobiographical comics drawn from the experiences of a dozen ordinary residents and visitors to the suburban South-Western Sydney migrant community, Cabramatta. Cabramatta's migrant hostel attracted a generation of migrants after the Vietnam War, creating Australia's largest non-Anglo-Celtic commercial district.
Select short comics currently appear within the anthology, 'Growing Up Asian in Australia' where it is studied as an assigned curriculum text for the Victorian Certificate of Education.
PRAISE FOR 'CAB'
“As always, Matt Huynh continues to surprise and impress with his exploration of new graphic novel material in the Australian context. One of my favourite forms of Australian comics is the regional anthology, but there's never been been one like this before - one that redefines what’s possible in this form of media.” — Ink Spot, Australian Cartoonists' Association Journal
Chef Peter Wu currently works at Phởmo - Barangaroo, but this comic was drawn and edited from an interview I conducted with Peter and his mother years ago.
We'd met at Lee Tran Lam’s recommendation because I was writing an article for a magazine, interviewing second generation Vietnamese in the restaurant industry to discuss tensions between assimilation and 'authenticity' for migrant children. In the unfinished dining room of a restaurant they were preparing to open, we talked about what honoring tradition and loyalty look like when a new culture, community and environment demanded innovation and transformation for old traditions to survive and reach new audiences.
When the magazine article fell apart, I had remembered Peter's mother's restaurant was in my hometown and thought to adapt Peter's story for an expanded 11th year anniversary edition of CAB, my comic anthology of true stories from Cabramatta.
I made the CAB comics aiming for readers to feel like they were in conversation with my contributors. I'd transcribed and edited interviews for the brevity of comics, but always wanted to impart each voice's distinctive syntax, something Peter possessed and fitted well alongside the other stories.
When the anniversary edition didn't publish in time for my solo exhibition at my hometown museum, I was glad to be invited by Leah Jing & Rachel Ang to join their crowdfunded Australian comics anthology alongside HUMYARA MAHBUB, JASON PHU, LEE LAI,PEO MICHIE, SAFDAR AHMED and URBIGFROG. I'm glad this very small glimpse of a much larger project has survived. I'd love another chance to revisit it in the future, but until then please enjoy the comic in full here or pick up a copy of the recently published Comic Sans Anthology. Risograph printed by Glom Press. Published as an imprint of Liminal Magazine. Launched at Melbourne's Sticky Institute.
My comic ‘Oracle Bones’ was published by The Massachusetts Review. It weaves together heroin in Cabramatta, a royal ritual for fortune telling, and the first evidence of written language.
The earliest evidence of language came from oracle bones discovered by Chinese farmers digging for ‘dragon bones’ to grind into medicine. A diviner carved questions into the oracle bones with a burning metal rod. The King read fortunes from how the bones cracked, and his prognostication was added to the bones and the bones burnt in a pit.
I used this history to reflect on my own community’s lost historical record and ritual of burning and injecting white crystal. I grew up in a working class migrant community with first generation kids in gangs in Australia’s heroin capital. If, like me, you managed to grasp some clue that you wanted to become an artist, there weren’t readily available mentors or audiences to guide and support your work.
If, like me, you managed to scramble and bumble your way into working as an artist and later in life had the opportunity to elevate voices from your community, you might turn around to find an entire generation of stories and artists that were sparsely recorded and lost to time. Young artists lost to gangs, drugs or, more ordinarily, mum and dad’s ushering you into stable office jobs. Trying to paint an accurate picture of our experiences is only further distorted by turning to ‘official’ records, because this history’s been told through the lense of hegemonic news and entertainment media, memoirs by lawyers and detectives and quotes from politicians with political interests.
I lament the loss of an entire generation of potential artistic expression and record. Not only of my own particular experience, but of any young migrant community and marginalised identities growing up without access to resources, a means to equally voice themselves and combating the same pressures to quiet their voices. It might be too late to excavate my own experience from beyond the ‘fiction’ category, but not to elevate and display today’s diverse, young marginalised migrant voices.
An illustrated adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen's essay, ''On True War Stories'. I'd encourage you to seek out the essay in full, it's one that I've thought about a lot over the years.
This was commissioned for a special edition of The Massachusetts Review on Asian American literature by guest editor Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis.
The piece is printed in full and uncropped as a double-sided color gatefold insert.
An Australian gothic story about a pair of kidnappers on the run. When they're separated from their victim in a storm, they take refuge in an abandoned hotel but find themselves trapped between the storm outside, the mysteries inside and racing against time.
PRAISE FOR ‘MAGPIE, MAGPIE’
“Huynh is an explorative storyteller — always looking for new ways to engage the reader and tell his stories ... It’s a treatment often used for reading superhero comics on a digital device but Huynh’s work becomes all the more urgent and ethereal on a computer monitor.”
— EVIL TENDER
“Matt’s latest work is an interesting, soulful exploration of expressive mark-making using bamboo and sumi. His comics are intimate and quiet, marked with moments of explosion. The last half of the book—a wild series of Muybridge-style gestures of magpies in flight— is worth admission alone.”
— PAUL POPE (BATTLING BOY, BATMAN YEAR 100)
“This eerie and desperate ghost story drips, spurts and dances from Matt Huynh’s brush. Powerful storytelling in brilliant black and white.”
— JAMES VICTORE (VICTORE, OR WHO DIED AND MADE YOU BOSS?)
“Moody, evocative and powerfully drawn - another universe of ink”
— MOLLY CRABAPPLE (DRAWING BLOOD)
“I am typically more of a fan of print than webcomics but I have never seen anything in this format before and was captivated through the entire reading experience. Magpie, Magpie is such a disturbingly beautiful piece of work. I loved it. I am gonna read it again right now.”
— FAREL DALRYMPLE (THE WRENCHIES, POP GUN WAR)
'Harri' is a series of short comics following runaway Harrietta Lynn's new beginning in New York City. In...And Some Change, Harri searches for something worthy of her writing back to the home she desperately ran away from
PRAISE FOR ‘HARRI, AND SOME CHANGE’
“5/5 - It’s a pure comic book and artistic experience that I’ve found is rarer and rarer in the comic medium, making this a breath of fresh air.”
— COMIC BASTARDS