Comic Review: Date King 2

Photo: Epigram Books
Photo: Epigram Books

It’s been less than a year since we looked at Adrian Teo and Ken Foo’s Date King 1 from Epigram Books, but the dating world never stops turning – so hot on its heels comes Date King 2, where Ah King, aka “Date King”, continues his somewhat misguided adventures in Singapore’s dating sphere, while constantly being thwarted by Buaya King. The first book wasn’t exactly laugh-out-loud funny, but you could tell it was earnest and heartfelt – so how does book 2 stand up to it?

If you liked the character profiles from Date King 1, you’re in luck: The creators probably sense that that’s what got people interested in the first book anyway. It starts off with a close-up view of the Buaya King phenotype, and there are also some tongue-in-cheek look at some office stereotypes.

What you won’t get, however, is a book FULL of the profiles, which I feel is a marked improvement, as we get a fully formed narrative. And not to slight the profiles that got the book here, but more story truly turns out to be more fun.

Photo: Epigram Books
Photo: Epigram Books

And  that’s where the magic of Date King 2 is: With the narrative you get a fully-formed story that manages to crystallise the full potential of Date King. Instead of just humourous one-shots or lists of dating faux pas, now you get to see it “acted” out. Date King, as usual, a little clueless and more than a little desperate, but you also get to meet a whole range of other characters – stereotypes mostly – that most Singaporeans can identify and laugh at. It all starts with an office dating league – watching how the different pairings work (or don’t work) out falls between identifiable broad humour, and bits that might seem familiar.

Photo: Epigram Books
Photo: Epigram Books

For anybody who’s been lost in the dating world, a lot of it will ring true to home, the pain, the stupid moments – except it’s all done for laughs or at least a wry smile. It’s not an emo comic (thank goodness), but there’s lots of heart and truth in it. While kudos are deserved for Adrian Teo’s writing, here Ken Foo’s illustrations of the multiple characters really shines, and really makes this comic a worthwhile read.

Date King 2 is now available in stores and online at Epigram Books.


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