Old Master Q

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Old Master Q
Cover of Old Master Q vol. 44. Art by Alfonso Wong.
老夫子
(Lǎo Fūzi)
Genre
Author Alfonso Wong
Original run 1962 – present

Old Master Q (Chinese: 老夫子; pinyin: Lǎo Fūzi) is a popular Chinese manhua created by Alfonso Wong. The cartoon first appeared in the newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong in 1962, and later serialised in 1964.[1] The comic is still in publication today.

The comic is copyrighted by WangZ Inc, a company established by Joseph Wong Chak (Alfonso Wong's eldest son) in Taipei, Taiwan.

Characters[edit]

The series' cast is lead by Old Master Q, an elderly, lanky man dressed in a distinctive traditional Chinese attire. Supporting characters include Big Potato (Old Master Q's identically-dressed contemporary with a stumpy, big headed build), as well as Mr. Chin, Mr. Chiu, and Miss Chan, who are all represented in more modern, progressive attires. In the context of the strips, Old Master Q, Big Potato and Mr. Chin are close friends while Mr. Chiu often plays an antagonistic role toward the trio; Miss Chan is often portrayed as a love interest to Old Master Q.[1]

Format and themes[edit]

The overall theme of the comics centers around humour, with characters usually portrayed in a variety of social statuses, professions and time periods, ranging from beggars and office workers to actors and ancient warriors, which allows for a wide variety of scenarios to explore. More outlandish situations incorporate surrealism, close encounters with aliens, ghost sightings, and the afterlife. While each comic is typically produced as short strips of four, six or twelve panels, longer comics have been produced revolving around lengthier adventures of the main cast pitted again gangsters in modern Hong Kong or warriors in a wuxia setting.

While Old Master Q comics primarily focuses on humour, it also reflects changing social trends, particularly from the 1960s to the 1980s. The comics would sometimes feature societal problems in urban life, such as poverty, petty thefts and secret societies. It also poked fun at fashion,[2] contemporary art[3] and rock music. The comic strips sometimes also bemoan the decline of ethical or moral values in modern day living. Characters often display acts of selfishness or misery, although the comics occasionally display good values like filial piety. The language barrier between the Chinese language and the English language is also depicted in some comic strips, illustrated with Old Master Q's difficulty communicating with foreigners, especially Westerners.

The comics has, on rare occasions, express serious views on major political changes taking place in Hong Kong during the 1960s-1980s. It had previously criticised overly Westernised Chinese, who were often shown in the comic strips kowtowing to Western interests than the local Chinese. The run-up to the handover of Hong Kong to China following the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 also became a point of interest, as a few comic strips were published through the late 1980s and early 1990s expressing the characters' fears of handover, frequently represented in a numeral of the year it would take place: 1997. Some of these comic strips also depict direct assault of representations of the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China, occasionally in the form of caricatured depictions of Deng Xiaoping. The handover was later depicted in more a positive light in the years leading to the actual event, possibly representing a changing perspective from the author.

Films[edit]

The comic series was made into many Cantonese and Mandarin cartoon animations, one of which combined live actors and advanced CGI graphics. The list of Old Master Q movies is as follows, in chronological order:

English Name Chinese Name Release Date Type Casts
Old Master Q 老夫子 3 August 1965 film
Old Master Q and Big Potato 老夫子與大蕃薯 19 May 1966 film Suet Nay (雪妮), Ko Lo-chuen (高魯泉),
Lydia Shum (沈殿霞)
Old Master Q Triple Rescue of Foolish-Ming 老夫子三救傻瓜明 13 July 1966 film
Old Master Q 老夫子 8 March 1975 film Leung Tin (梁天), Betty Ting,
Roy Chiao, Sai Gwa-pau (西瓜刨),
Law Lan
Mr. Funnybone 我係老夫子 2 October 1976 film Lee Ching (李菁), Wang Sha (王沙)
Ngai Tung Gwa (矮冬瓜), Lau Luk-wah (劉陸華)
Old Master Q Strange and Interesting Adventures 老夫子奇趣錄 18 November 1978
Colour Old Master Q 七彩老夫子 16 July 1981 cartoon
Old Master Q Water Tiger 老夫子水虎傳 10 July 1982 cartoon
Old Master Q & "San-T" 山T老夫子 4 August 1983 cartoon
Old Master Q 2001 老夫子2001 5 April 2001 film Nicholas Tse, Cecilia Cheung,
Alfonso Wong
Master Q: Incredible Pet Detective 老夫子反斗偵探 20 December 2003 cartoon Eric Tsang, Chapman To,
Andes Yue, Lee Ka-yee (利嘉兒),
Dexter Young (楊天經)
Old Master Q – Fantasy Zone Battle 老夫子 – 幻想區域争斗 2003 TV series
Master Q 老夫子 2004 TV series
The New Unbeatable Old Master Q: Shaolin Detective Agency 無敵老夫子新傳:少林偵探社 2005 film Law Kar-ying, Karen Tong (湯寳如)
Old Master Q and Little Ocean Tiger 老夫子之小水虎传奇 2011 film Deng Chao, Zhang Hanyu, Elva Hsiao

Dispute on plagiarism[edit]

Some cartoonists and readers claim that the idea of Old Master Q was actually created by Peng Di (朋弟) in the late 1930s and not Alfonso Wong. They allege that the cartoons first appeared in the newspapers and magazines in Beijing (Peking) and Tianjin (Tientsin). The character created by Peng Di resembled Old Master Q which is currently[when?] being copyright by OMQ ZMedia Ltd. The character by Peng Di wore similar clothing and had a matching personality to Old Master Q.

A writer from Tianjin published a book in 2001 containing samples of work by Peng Di, which displayed the resemblance between Peng Di and Alfonso Wong's works.

The result of this dispute remains unclear as WangZ Inc. has denied all plagiarism accusations, while a considerable number of mostly professional cartoonists insist that Peng Di's ideas were stolen by Alfonso Wong.

Spin Off[edit]

A spin-off series called Q夫子 shows young characters who had similar clothing to their adult counterparts. Each of their names also are related to their counterparts:

  • Q夫子 names: Q master Q/Young Master Q/Master Q(?) for Old Master Q, "Potatohead" for Big Potato, and "Chin" Mr. Chin.
  • 老夫子 names: Old Master Q and Big Potato, and Mr. Chin.

References[edit]

External links[edit]