Lian-Hee Wee

Drama of the Uncanny as the Aesthetics of old Master Q

Date & Time

9.5.2023, 1:15 PM CET


Trainee Centre Online


Alfonso Wong’s long-running Old Master Q, arguably the most well-known and popular series in the history of Hong Kong comics, is commonly thought of as hilarious comedy with a streak of social commentary. Focusing on the previously neglected ways Wong plays with elements of the uncanny (in a general sense, that which is disturbing and beyond familiarity), this talk explains that Old Master Q is really a more variegated and sophisticated opus of storytelling. Through an analysis of three modalities in the comic’s narratives – the “funny uncanny”, the “horror uncanny”, and the “as-is uncanny” – a connection is drawn to Hong Kong’s cultural imaginary and to Western visions of the dark Otherness of the universe as expressed by H. P. Lovecraft, Eugene Thacker and others. Old Master Q in all its creativity is rooted in Hong Kong and in the more universal depths of human experience, such that no critic may reduce it to a simplistic feed-off on cultural sources from mainland China or elsewhere.