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McDull/Alice Mak
Photograph: Courtesy McDull/Alice Mak

10 Iconic Hong Kong comic characters you need to know about

Read up on these before claiming yourself a Hongkonger

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Remember those times when the simplest things like cartoons and comic books would make your day? Nowadays, with so many types of entertainment readily available for our perusal, whether it's binge-watching Netflix, browsing through online shops, or getting on your Nintendo Switch, it takes a lot more than just a few drawings on paper to impress us. But if you are feeling nostalgic for the good old days – or simply curious about what kids enjoyed doing back then besides watching cartoons – then join us as we pay homage to some of the most iconic comic characters our city has ever created. By Natalie Lam

RECOMMENDED: Feeling some strong old-school vibes today? Check out these classic childhood games or drool over these tasty nostalgic snacks.

Iconic Hong Kong comic characters you need to know

Old Master Q (老夫子)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Old Master Q

Old Master Q (老夫子)

Created by the legendary comic artist Alfonso Wong, Old Master Q is arguably the most well-known character in the Hong Kong comic universe. Ever since his first appearance in a newspaper comic strip in the 1960s, this elderly, lanky man has grabbed our attention with his distinctive Chinese attire and quirky personality. Although he can sometimes be very stubborn about the upholding of traditional Chinese values, his sense of justice, witty humour, and whimsical air have found him audiences across generations. 

McDull (麥兜)
Photograph: Courtesy McDull/Alice Mak

McDull (麥兜)

There’s no way we are going to talk about Hong Kong comics and not mention McDull. Although he may not be the brightest little piggy, his kindness, innocence, and applaudable perseverance against adversity – despite failing at almost everything he tries to do – has won the hearts of many. But above all, his creator Alice Mak has instilled an inherent Hong Kong-ness in McDull that every local could relate to. 

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Wang Xiao-hu (王小虎)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Wang Xiao-hu

Wang Xiao-hu (王小虎)

One of the protagonists of Tiger and Dragon Heroes, a popular kung fu comic by Tony Wong Yuk-long, Wang Xiao-hu is a gifted martial artist who fights to protect the weak against those who oppress and wreak havoc on them. Calm, courageous, and charismatic, the eighteen-year-old hero has a strong sense of justice and never cowers even in the face of the most powerful villains. Seriously, read the comics. There are some really kick-ass moments in there.

Cowboy (牛仔)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Cowboy

Cowboy (牛仔)

Uniquely humourous and heart-warming, Cowboy is one of the few truly original Hong Kong icons and the main character of an eponymous 41-volume comic series. Created by Macau-born cartoonist Wong Wing-hing in the 1970s, the comics centres around a kid and his father, and reflects on the lives of Hong Kong's working-class community in the 70s and 80s. While protagonists are usually loved for their talents or heroic qualities, Cowboy rose to popularity for being a source of empathy to many Hongkongers.

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Hero Wah (華英雄)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Hero Wah

Hero Wah (華英雄)

Hero Wah is the main character of local cartoonist Ma Wing-shing’s comic series, Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword. Born and raised in a fishing village, this chivalrous man lived an extremely tough life in which struggled through many hardships, including the tragic murder of his parents, treachery, and racial discrimination. Even so, the martial arts master devotes his life to protecting the needy, making him one of the most respected Hong Kong comic characters of all time.

Miss 13 Dots (13 點)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Miss 13 Dots

Miss 13 Dots (13 點)

For those who are not familiar with the term, ’13 dots’ is an old Hong Kong colloquialism that refers to people, especially girls, who are often bubbly and quirky – and Miss 13 Dots is exactly that (obviously). As the only daughter of a local tycoon, this outspoken girl cares deeply about social justice (and avant-garde fashion) and you’ll always find her lending a helping hand to those in need. Along with her unique charm and charisma, Miss 13 Dots is definitely one of our favourites.

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Cloud (步驚雲)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Cloud

Cloud (步驚雲)

Another iconic character created by Ma Wing-shing, Cloud is one of the protagonists of the popular martial arts-themed comic Storm Riders. Different from many other heroes, Cloud’s personality is not likeable at all. Arrogant, cynical, and unsympathetic, this kung fu master never shows mercy to his enemies and never sheds a tear, earning him the title of ‘The God of Death who never cries’. But who cares about his personality when he is a good-looking guy willing to risk his life to save the world?

Q Boy (Q小子)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Q Boy

Q Boy (Q小子)

Debuted in 2004 as one of the main characters in the Black Cat White Cat series, Q Boy is a white-coloured cat who is curious about everything and loves asking questions. In case you are wondering who is the black cat, it’s Doctor A, an erudite scholar who answers every question Q Boy has raised. (Get it? Q and A?) Together, the pair helps its readers learn something new about the world in a more entertaining and engaging way. That’s why this character has found popularity even amongst the most unlikely readers – parents!

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Panda-a-Panda (聾貓)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Panda-a-Panda

Panda-a-Panda (聾貓)

Inspired by the two pandas, An An and Jia Jia, at Ocean Park, Panda-a-Panda is created by a homegrown illustrator named Siuhak in 2004. Apart from having an adorable appearance, this panda also loves turning a deaf ear to what it doesn’t want to hear and lightly teases local politics as well as current affairs with its sarcastic jokes.

Little Horse (馬仔)
Photograph: Courtesy HKACS/Little Horse

Little Horse (馬仔)

One of the most recognisable comic characters in Hong Kong – because of her unusually wide eyes – Little Horse is a cute and innocent girl who strives to live a happy life in this stressful city. Created by Maggie Lau, the Little Horse series explores the hilarious events that take place in the character’s daily life and has never failed to crack us up with a handful of silly jokes. This little girl may not be the brightest of the bunch, but she is always cheerful and we adore her for it.

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