Lao Fu Zi creator Alfonso Wong dies: 7 things about the evergreen comic and the artist

Alfonso Wong, the creator of Lao Fu Zi or Old Master Q comics, with his son Joseph Wong in 1995.
Alfonso Wong, the creator of Lao Fu Zi or Old Master Q comics, with his son Joseph Wong in 1995.PHOTO: OMQ ZMEDIA

Popular comic artist Alfonso Wong Kar Hei, creator of the well-loved Lao Fu Zi or Old Master Q comic series, died on New Year's Day. He was 92.

Staff manning the official Old Master Q comics website told The Straits Times on Wednesday (Jan 4) that they "have a lot of comic strips to keep us smiling during this sad time".

Wong previously said his life was like a comic strip, according to press releases provided to The Straits Times on Wednesday by OMQ ZMedia, the Taiwan-based distributor of Old Master Q comics.

Here are seven things you may not know about the comics and its creator.

1. Wong was born in Tianjin and later migrated to Hong Kong


Comic creator Alfonso Wong died on Jan 1, 2017. PHOTO: OMQ ZMEDIA

Wong was born in north-eastern China's Tianjin city in 1925. He migrated to Hong Kong in 1956 at the age of 31.

2. Lao Fu Zi comic characters first surfaced 56 years ago

 
 

Lao Fu Zi characters were first seen in a comic collection called Little Comics in 1961. The serialised comics made their debut a year later. The comics are still being produced today, by a team of artists overseen by Wong's eldest son Joseph Wong Chak. Alfonso Wong stopped drawing the comics in 1997, handing the baton to the younger Wong.

3. Nicholas Tse starred in Lao Fu Zi movies

The first Lao Fu Zi movie was aired in 1965, starring Hong Kong actor Ko Lo Chuen as Lao Fu Zi.

Perhaps the most well-known flick is the 2001 movie, Old Master Q 2001, starring Hong Kong actors Nicholas Tse and Cecilia Cheung.

The comic characters in the film, including Lao Fu Zi and his sidekick Da Fan Shu (Big Potato), were computer-generated.

4. Christie's has auctioned Lao Fu Zi comics

Famed auction house Christie's in 2012 put up Lao Fu Zi comic strips for auction for the comic's 50th anniversary.

Three cover drawings sold for HK$100,000 (S$18,600).

5. Sotheby's exhibited original drawings in 2014


Sotheby's has previously exhibited Lao Fu Zi works. PHOTO: OMQ ZMEDIA

In August 2014, original drawings from Lao Fu Zi comics were exhibited at the Hong Kong branch of auction house Sotheby's.

On display were 121 works from 1968 to 1983, worth HK$50,000 to HK$100,000, curated by Wong's eldest son Joseph.

The exhibition also saw 128 works sold out.

Lao Fu Zi was also the first comic to be auctioned by Sotheby's, in 2008.

6. The first Lao Fu Zi cafe in Hong Kong opened last year


A Lao Fu Zi-themed restaurant was opened in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district in September last year (2016). PHOTO: OMQ ZMEDIA

A Lao Fu Zi-themed restaurant was opened in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district in September last year (2016).

The eatery serves more than 100 dishes of Hong Kong-style western cuisine and has a 1960s feel.

The restaurant opened after two years of preparation and has five dining segments themed after famous cartoon strips.

7. It has pop-culture street cred

Lao Fu Zi's influence extends beyond Asia. In 1995, Lao Fu Zi made an appearance at San Diego's Comic Con.

Fashion houses such as Prada, Givenchy and Gucci also incorporated Lao Fu Zi into their products.

In 2015, a series of Lao Fu Zi Bearbrick toys were released by Medicom and Milk magazine.

SOURCES: China Daily, Christies.com, Omq ZMedia, The Wall Street Journal