Đặng Quang Dũng

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Mèo Mốc
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BornĐặng Quang Dũng
(1992-10-21) October 21, 1992 (age 29)
Hà Tĩnh province
Pen nameMèo Mốc
OccupationComic book Artist
NationalityVietnam
Period2014-present
GenreComic book
SubjectChildren; Teenagers
Notable worksNhật Ký Mèo Mốc; Tây Du Hí; Ly & Chũn; Nào ta cùng ăn
Notable awardsDe Men Award 2021

Đặng Quang Dũng (born Oct 21, 1992), known professionally as Mèo Mốc or "Mok", is a Vietnamese comic artist and graphic designer. He is best known for writing comics for all ages, most notably “Nhật ký Mèo Mốc” (Diary of Meo Moc), as well as “Tây Du Hí” (Humorous Journey to the West) and “Ly & Chũn” (Ly & Chun). Altogether, he has published 15 books and many other web comics.

Biography

Đặng Quang Dũng was born in 1992 in Hà Tĩnh, Vietnam, later moved to Hà Nội with his family during the 90s. He started picking up drawing comics as a hobby as early as elementary school, initially redrawing pages from Doraemon comic books so that he could share it with his classmates[1]. He attended Foreign Trade University for a bachelor in International Economics before attending LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore in 2015[2]. After graduation, he worked as a creative writer at Google Singapore before returning to Vietnam to work on his 6th volume of “Nhật ký Mèo Mốc" as well as many other titles.

Pen name

Dũng is better known by his pen name “Mèo Mốc”, which means Moc the Cat (sometimes Mok the Cat). The pen name originated from his old nickname, “Black Mokona”, which he used when active as a hobbyist comic artist on the internet during high school. Dũng has shortened the name “Mokona" into “Mốc", and combined it with “Mèo" (Vietnamese for “cat”, his favourite animal) to form the new pen name “Mèo Mốc"[3]. The pen name is also used to name the main character of his comic book series “Nhật ký Mèo Mốc", which is based on his real life events.

In 2016, when writing a short comic called “Lửa" ("Flare") for an online comic contest, Dũng used a new pen name called “Nyomm”. This was because he wants the audience to be objective when reading his new comic.

Writing career

Đặng Quang Dũng began his career as a freelance comic book writer in 2011 at a local comic book company. His job was to write and illustrate some small gag comic strips, as well as to illustrate children’s picture books. It was during this time that Dũng started his own webcomic series, later known as “Nhật ký Mèo Mốc” (Diary of Meo Moc).

“Nhật ký Mèo Mốc” was originally created as a visual diary so Dũng could share with his friends on Facebook what happened around him everyday through a comical lens. His mascot and also his pen name, Mèo Mốc was the main character in this first series. After going viral, the series was adapted to its first volume in Oct 2014 by SkyComics[4]. The first volume stayed as a best-seller on Tiki, Vietnamese e-commerce platform, for several months[5]. As of 2021, there are 6 volumes of the “Mèo Mốc" series with roughly 80,000 copies sold nationally.

In April 2021, Đặng Quang Dũng announced the release of “Mèo Mốc Black Book". This is supposed to be a black and white edition of the “Mèo Mốc" series with a significantly cheaper price. “Mèo Mốc Black Book” volume 2 is due to be released late 2021.

“Tây Du Hí”, created in 2015, was Dũng's second comic book series as a professional writer. On its first two volumes and the first half of volume 3, the story was presented in yonkoma format. On the 3rd volume, Dũng decided to depart from writing another comedy series, saying it is too similar to the “Mèo Mốc" series[6]. This resulted in a much heavier tone in the second half of volume 3, and starting from volume 4 the story is presented in traditional comic format with a long run adventure/ action storyline. As of 2021, there are six volumes of “Tây Du Hí" being released with roughly 45,000 copies having been sold nationally.

In 2019, he released a new comic book title, “Nào ta cùng ăn!” (Let's eat!). This entry marks a milestone in his career, being his 10th published comic book, his first standalone comic book and his first comic book published by Nha Nam Publishing and Communications JSC[7]. This was also the first year when there was no “Mèo Mốc" book released.

In 2021, he released “Ly & Chũn - Tết là nhất, nhất là Tết!” (Ly & Chun - Tet is the best). The book won him second prize in the De Men (Cricket) Award for children’s literature and art. There was no first prize that year, with Nguyễn Nhật Ánh winning first prize in the year before[8].

Achievements

Dũng is among Vietnamese comic artists who have the highest number of printed copies, with over 200,000 copies accumulated so far[9]. In 2019, Dũng was nominated in Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Vietnam and was recognised as a potential seed[10]. In June 2021, his comic book “Ly & Chũn - Tết là nhất, nhất là Tết" won him the Cricket Desire award[11][12]. This is the second prize of Dế Mèn (Cricket) Award, an annual award to honor art and literature works dedicated to children. Dũng's comic book was the first one ever of its category to win this award.

Written Works

Series

  • “Mèo Mốc" (Meo Moc, 6+ volumes, 2014 until now)
    • “Nhật ký Mèo Mốc” (Diary of Meo Moc, 2014)
    • “Mèo Mốc - Chuyện đèn đỏ & cái lỗ đen vũ trụ” (Meo Moc, Story of the red traffic light & the black hole, 2015)
    • “Mèo Mốc - Hành trình tới Singapore” (Meo Moc, Journey to Singapore, 2016)
    • “Mèo Mốc - Hãy ngắm nhìn bầu trời!” (Meo Moc, Let's look at the sky!, 2017)
    • “Mèo Mốc - Ơ, sinh nhật rồi này?” (Meo Moc, Hey it's already my birthday?, 2018)
    • “Mèo Mốc - Và Xuân sẽ lại về” (Meo Moc, And the Spring will come back, 2020)
  • “Mèo Mốc Black Book” (Meo Moc Black Book, 2+ volumes , 2021 until now)
  • “Tây Du Hí” (Humorous Journey to the West, 6+ volumes, 2015 until now)

Short stories

  • “Nào ta cùng ăn!” (Let's eat!, 2019)
  • “Ly & Chũn - Tết là nhất, nhất là Tết" (Ly & Chun - Tet is the best, 2021)

Online Comic

  • “Mèo Mốc" (Meo Moc)
  • “Con Oe”
  • “The Landscape"
  • “Những âm thanh từ thế giới khác" (Sounds from another world)
  • “Cái bóng" (The Shadow)
  • “First Contact"
  • “Lửa" (Flare, under the pen name Nyomm)
  • “Vị quê" (Flavor of hometown)
  • “Đặc vụ chìm ở quanh ta" (There are secret agents around us)

Social activism

Fight against the 2018 fake news incident

In 2018, a Vietnamese textbook’s teaching method was under scrutiny because of viral falsified information. The misunderstanding deepened with the false concern of a new “Vietnamese alphabet” where squares and triangles would replace all Latin letters. Accompanied by memes and tabloids[13], the incident escalated so badly that it was all people talked about for months, even to the extent that many verbally attacked the professor behind this teaching method, accusing him for destroying elementary school children’s ability to learn Vietnamese[14].

Unlike other artist peers who jumped on the bandwagon to make fun of the situation, Dũng took the time to research and consolidate all the facts into a bite-size comic named “Khoa học cùng Mèo Mốc - Bảng chữ mới?” (Science with Meo Moc - A new alphabet?). The comic was even used by mainstream media as reference to counter attack the fake news[15], which effectively put down the fake news days later.

Comics during Covid-19 time

To help spread necessary knowledge amid the Covid-19 epidemic in Vietnam, Dũng wrote a lot of informative comic strips telling people the correct way to wear a face mask, health and hygiene precautions that can prevent Covid-19 infection, and what common vaccination side effects people may get[16].

Controversies and censorship

In November 2016, the third volume of “Mèo Mốc", “Mèo Mốc - Hành trình tới Singapore" was flagged by the The Department of Publishing, Printing and Issuing for containing inappropriate contents: Specifically, the book was accused for promoting endangered animal hunting, and for being vulgar when the character Mèo Mốc was seen said “poop" in a comic page[17]. Public’s opinion was divided, while some found that the decision was justified, many others found the judgement was too harsh and unreasonable. In fact, the comic page that has been flagged for promoting endangered animal hunting was actually a satire made in collaboration with WildAid Vietnam in order to promote Nail Biters, a campaign against illegal rhinoceros hunting. Nevertheless, the book was recalled for content adjustment.

The fact that this incident happened months after the initial publishing date of the book also created confusion among readers and comic creators, and raised concern of how local comic books are more vulnerable to censorship compared to manga[18]. One month after being recalled, “Mèo Mốc - Hành trình tới Singapore" was reissued with the controversial contents being removed and replaced. Apart from content changes, the reissued edition also has a different cover art, making this the only volume in the “Mèo Mốc" series to have two different covers.

References

  1. "Đằng sau nhân vật Mèo Mốc "láo nháo" nhất Facebook chính là anh chàng này!". Kênh 14 (trang web). Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  2. "Cơn sốt 'truyện tranh' hiếm hoi của trẻ em Việt Nam: Bay bổng cùng 'Mèo Mốc'". Thể thao & Văn hóa. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  3. "Mèo Mốc - Mốc hóa cùng truyện tranh Việt". Văn hoá Việt. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  4. "Thế giới truyện tranh của Mèo Mốc". Hànộimới. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  5. Mèo Mốc (2018). Mèo Mốc - Ơ, sinh nhật rồi này? [Meo Moc, Hey, it's already my birthday?] (in Vietnamese). Vietnam: SkyComics. ISBN 9786048868284.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  6. Mèo Mốc (2018). Mèo Mốc - Ơ, sinh nhật rồi này? [Meo Moc, Hey, it's already my birthday?] (in Vietnamese). Vietnam: SkyComics. ISBN 9786048868284.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  7. "Cơn sốt 'truyện tranh' hiếm hoi của trẻ em Việt Nam: Bay bổng cùng 'Mèo Mốc'". Thể thao & Văn hóa. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  8. "Winners of second De Men Award announced". Vietnam Plus. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  9. "Những họa sĩ truyện tranh có lượng đăng ký xuất bản lớn". Zingnews. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  10. "Hạt mùa sau". Forbes. Vietnam: Forbes. February 2020. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  11. "Five Artworks share similar prize at De Men Children's Arts Awards". Sài Gòn Giải Phóng. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  12. "Tôn vinh tác phẩm văn học nghệ thuật vì trẻ thơ". Nhân Dân. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  13. "Trào lưu chế 'tròn, vuông, tam giác' đang chiếm sóng mạng xã hội Việt". ZingNews. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  14. "Đừng xúc phạm thầy Hồ Ngọc Đại và thầy Bùi Hiển". Báo Giáo Dục Việt Nam. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  15. "Tiếng Việt công nghệ giáo dục: Từ nhầm lẫn đến trào lưu 'tròn, vuông, tam giác'". Thanh Niên. Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  16. Mèo Mốc (2020). Mèo Mốc - Và Xuân sẽ lại về [Meo Moc, And the Spring will come back] (in Vietnamese). Vietnam: SkyComics. ISBN 9786043044928.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  17. Mèo Mốc (2016). Mèo Mốc - Hành trình tới Singapore [Meo Moc, Journey to Singapore] (in Vietnamese). Vietnam: SkyComics. ISBN 9786048830526.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  18. "Làm truyện tranh khó trăm bề". Tuổi Trẻ. Retrieved 2021-09-20.

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