Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nanny - 24h Comics Day Book from Bandung

This book was launched in Jakarta 1 week ago.

NANNY, a compilation of 7 (seven) short comics made during the 24 Hour Comics Day 2011 challenge, ranging from a story about an Indonesian migrant worker in Singapore who missed her hometown, a respond to current ecological issues, a mysterious, historical water well, to a story about how taxing a wedding preparation can be. The main tie for these selected works is the dominant role of a woman in each story, both as creators and as the main characters.

Published by CAB.

I co-organized this year's 24h Comics Day in Singapore at Goodman Arts Centre together with JF. It was part of Comics XChange. I linked us up with the CAB artists in Bandung (internationalization!) and worked with Stephani Soejono on a story. She is a cool up and coming comic artist who has worked on the animation for the Tatsumi movie.

Well, our story about Indon maids in Singapore is the cover story for the Bandung compilation and they titled the volume after our story, Nanny. ;)

This is the first time a 24h story from Singapore got published in a 24h publication.

If you like to order a copy of this book, drop a line to Rony at .

Pics of the launch:!/photo.php?fbid=2397734996982&set=p.2397734996982&type=1

Sunday, November 20, 2011

18 hours

Troy shared that he took 18 hours to draw this splash page. Reason enough to buy Loti Vol 3.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Biting the hand that feeds us...

Read this recently.

In 2000, the Minister for Information and the Arts said that the maintenance of social peace was an artistic social responsibility. A theatre director responded to demand that as an artist, citizen, father, son and "as a person who sees himself having a future in this country" the right to be irresponsible since an artist cannot work unless that right is given.

Another arts practitioner, aware of the realities of state funding, responded bleakly that "It's not so easy to say, "Im an artist, I just want to do what I want", because you're an artist in Singapore, you know?"

(taken from Koh Tai Ann's Editorial for the special issue of Moving Worlds on Singapore arts/culture)

All these reminds me of the impotency of political cartooning in Singapore today. The tension is still there, but most of them are saying they are only political cartoonists in Singapore.

15 years ago, I was told this is Asian consensus, this is how we do things in Asia. We don't embarrass our leaders. Any critique, make them behind closed doors.

So what Pao Kun said remains the true: we can laugh at other countries' leaders, but we don't dare to laugh at our own. Because they are doing such a great job, they are exceptional? Better not to say the Emperor is naked...

Troy Chin just won the Young Artist Award for comics. Let's see how that'd play out.

Moving Worlds Vol 10, No 1 (2010): Reviewing Singapore is available at Books Actually

Interview with Mico Suayan

Wendy Chew and Mico Suayan

Rogue and Magneto

Mico Suayan was in town again for the Popular Bookfest at Suntec City. I had a chat with him.

Mico grew up reading Superman and Batman, and later X-Men. So it was meaningful that his first professional work was for Marvel. He was working as a storyboard artist for an ad company in the Philippines when he decided to try out as a comic artist. He emailed Marvel editors with links to his work and attachments of samples. He did not expect a response, but a few days later, Marvel head honcho, Joe Quesada wrote back to say he liked Mico’s work. Mico resigned from his job and went freelance.

That was in 2006 and Mico has not looked back since.

His first job for Marvel was a 7-page Magneto story for Marvel Comics Presents. His breakout work was Moon Knight, taking over the title from David Finch. Mico revealed that he was hired for the job because his artwork looked like Finch’s.

But if Mico is just an imitator of others, then he would not have progressed to where he is today. Mico is known for his realistic style, which has won him many fans. His style is not just influenced by American comics, but also the classic Filipino comic artists like Alfredo Alcala with his shading and darkness of composition. His art had won him praises from old timers like Tony DeZuniga (the first Filipino artist to draw the X-Men, The Uncanny X-Men #110 in 1978). Mico was very flattered when DeZuniga told him that a few months ago over coffee.

So what’s next for Mico? His exclusive with Marvel just ended a few weeks ago. He is now talking with DC. He is working on a cover for the Uncharted comic book (based on the hit video game) published by DC, after Adam Hughes backed out.

Mico will still be in Singapore at the Bookfest on 20 November, Sunday. So if you read this in time, do go down and check out his sketchbook and prints

Friday, November 4, 2011

台湾 soft power!

Attended the Taiwan classic pop songs concert at Indoor Stadium 2 weeks ago and was absolutely impressed by the singers and soft power displayed. This concert was to celebrate 100 years of the Chinese Republic. So it was a pop event. But it was organized partly by the Taipei Representative Office in Singapore. So it's hidden diplomacy at work, it's to talk about Taiwan and 1949. Heck, Representative Vanessa Shih even went on stage to sing a song.

It's all quite brilliant.

Who writes the comics?

2 events struck me recently. qlrs celebrated its 10th anniversary recently. When you looked at the profile of the group, they are mainly lawyers, journalists, freelance writers, etc. Then I attended the books actually zine party last Saturday. Most zine makers were undergrads, people doing their own little business of selling old stuff, vintage clothes, or promoting DIY culture, handmade notebooks, recycling, and so on. Most of them belong to the same demographics, SES.

Not to belittle their efforts and their causes, but it's precisely because they do have the time and the means to do such things. They do not have to worry about bills, or not that much anyway. If they have to do 2 jobs, OT, pull in an extra shift to make ends meet, the sole bread winner and supporting the family, then they would not have the time to do all these.

Must the quest for/production of knowledge tied to one's profession? It should be about having the natural curiosity to learn and create new things. (Patti Smith comes to mind - go read Just Kids and listen to Piss Factory) I can be a plumber and still read/write poetry. But in the case of Singapore, the arts are pretty much in the domain of professionals like lawyers, civil servants, teachers, journalists, and...artists.

I know this applies to me too. The reason why I can write this now is because I am not doing a low paying blue collar job for a living. Not romanticizing the working class here either. Just wondering if we will ever have a hawker centre cleaner who also reads and writes comics. (HK wuda comics are popular among Malaysian blue collar workers)

All is not lost. I read that members of the Malay Orchestra were taxi drivers.