Lizzie Zany The Comic Artist and Illustrator
Review by Natasha P.

catman money.

As Malaysians, many of us grew up with comic culture deeply ingrained into our upbringing, in one way or another. Whether it was DC, Archie and Friends or Lat, we have all spent at least a fraction of our lives being entertained by comic books. The beauty of comics is that they are highly accessible, although the way we consume them has changed.

Lizzie Zany, 25, has taken up the challenge of keeping comics alive through her digital illustrations. Her work is cutesy and comedic, much like the artist herself. It is also very relatable and feels very Malaysian, as she finds a way to touch on socially and culturally relevant topics in a light-hearted way.


Her most notable work is her series “Lizzie & Catman”, which centres on herself and her friend, a talking cat in a cape. Catman, despite his name and the cape he wears, is not a superhero and does not possess any kind of unusual power, other than the ability to talk. Usually, he is presented as the main character in the series while Lizzie plays a supporting role. The illustrations are playful and seemingly simple, but manage to reveal the many sides of Lizzie’s bubbly personality. The colourful palette and the simple blocky characters are easily digestible and perfect for quick consumption on Instagram as a nice, short escape from a hard day’s work.

catman 47 cover
catman 55 cover

Through her illustrations, Lizzie explores different topics that are close to her heart. In Lizzie & Catman #55, she talks about the various inspirational figures in her life. These figures, who are all women, include a vegetable vendor at the market, a doctor, a stay-at-home mother, a rubber tapper, and the late Sameera Krishnan, a transwoman who was murdered in what was believed to be a hate crime. Lizzie’s depiction of everyday women as inspirational figures in her art reminds us that art does not have to be overly complicated and complex to create profound meaning and impact.

Like Lat, she pokes fun at Malaysian quirks, taking on some of our lesser-known tendencies. In #47 of the series, Catman gets angry at a shop customer who kicks up a fuss at having to pay an extra 20 cents for a plastic bag, despite not having brought her own grocery bag. The ability to make us realise our less savoury habits and laugh at ourselves is a key element in Malaysian comic culture. I think a key element to comics is their way of impacting the audience through social commentary with humour or satire, despite being colloquial and accessible.

pop mercun rgb


Lizzie’s other comics have a more introspective tone and she narrates them with her own voice. In “Dear Charis”, she expresses a conundrum about not drawing comics for the past (almost) two years, and all the worries and doubts that come with the seeming lack of productivity. She states, “Dear Charis, I know it’s late but I really, really need this. I hope you’ll give me a chance to find myself in my art again”. Anyone, regardless of whether we are artists or not, can relate to feeling uninspired, some to the extent of feeling the dreaded impostor syndrome. She also uses her introspection to relay positive messages. Her comic “Nope” is just three panels long and says, “efforts to contain the sun is futile”, serving as a very nice reminder to readers to never dim their shine regardless of what life throws their way.

Her purely illustrative work is also wonderful, bringing to mind San-X’s Sumikko Gurashi characters in the cutesy way they are drawn. She has a handful of standouts in this collection. My personal favourites are “Pup Fiction”, a remake of the very famous Pulp Fiction movie poster which features none other than a dog in place of Uma Thurman, “Pop Mercun”, a promotional poster for “Lizzie & Catman” drawn in the style of the classic Pop-Pop firecracker box, and “Catman Money”, featuring Catman in place of Tunku Abdul Rahman on the hundred ringgit note. Lizzie’s playful reimagining of popular culture is both heart-warming and familiar.

Selesa

Lizzie’s art is nothing other than wholesome. It astounds me every time art manages to touch me, especially through its simplicity and relatability, both of which are qualities that are very much present in her works. According to Lizzie, it is important to her that her art helps people feel a little less lonely ,and it shows. There is always a special quality in the way comics are able to touch you. It’s about experiencing the art as a story as much as it is about the art itself, which isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to art. Lizzie’s strength is her ability to share with her audience the mundanity of everyday life - the highs, lows, and collective conundrums.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the author's own and do not reflect those of CENDANA. CENDANA reserves the right to be excluded from any liabilities, losses, damages, defaults, and/or intellectual property infringements caused by the views and opinions expressed by the author in this article at all times, during or after publication, whether on this website or any other platforms hosted by CENDANA or if said opinions/views are republished on third party platforms.

Natasha P. is a participant of the CENDANA - ASWARA Arts Writing Mentorship Programme 2020-2021.

Share this article
Copyright © 2021 Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) | Terms of Service 
Ooops!
Generic Popup