Monday, September 12, 2011

Indon Comics

(Aish, Rony, Azisa, Rama, Tita)

Had lunch with Tita Larasati during STGCC and she updated me about the scene in Bandung. Basically, she and her business partner, Rony Amdani, were in town to promote the books published by their company, Curhat Anak Bangsa (CAB).

All the books are written by Rony. The art is by different artists:

Seeta – Rama Indra (based loosely on the Ramayan)
Insight – Risza A. Perdhana
The Messengers – Aish (based loosely on the independence of Indonesia)
Mantra – Azisa Noor

It’s still tough for indie artists to make their living from drawing comics fulltime. Even for Tita, she lectures at the Bandung Institute of Technology.

Interestingly, the bestsellers from CAB are the graphic diaries by Tita and Sheila Rooswitha Putri. Tita has written an article about the trend of Graphic Diary for an upcoming volume of International Journal of Comic Art, based on a paper she presented at the Women’s Manga Beyond Japan conference held at the National University of Singapore earlier this year.

Sheila’s story about a family trip to East Java has been reprinted in Liquid City 2. She has kept busy with a new project for . She is drawing a strip written by Trinity and Erastiany. (Rony is involved too)

Several Indon artists have made it overseas. Other than Ardian Syaf, people like Chris Lie, Sunny Gho and Admira Wijaya (aka Anto Garang) have done international work. Chris Lie has drawn for GI Joe and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 video game (Chris is also running Caravan Studio, which he set up in West Jakarta in January 2008) while Sunny Gho is the Art Director of IFS Jakarta. He has coloured Power Girl, Secret Warriors, Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates and The Darkness. Both Chris Lie and Sunny Gho were at STGCC. Some samples of Caravan Studio works here:

But the bulk of comics produced in Indonesia are slapstick books, eg. the “101” series. (101 Surviving Super Singles, 101 Prehistoric Culture, etc) and ‘local manga’ series.

Tita called this current situation as “lata” – the Malay word for imitate. Most comic companies are merely copying each other’s themes to sell their books.

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