Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mumbling Our Comics

Part 1.

Recalling Comic Againts Forgetness

Forgetness ­­­--not as a comical story-- happens when we keep ignoring things, so-called ’missing link’ as Donny Anggoro mentioned in his essay Sejarah Komik Indonesia: Kepala Tanpa Leher (Indonesian Comic History: Head Without Neck). One effort to make our head attached to the neck is to recall things that we’ve been doing for our comic’s development.

On the contrary from the public’s opinion that comic is just for children, we can actually find philosophycal, political, historical as well as cultural theme in translated comic books. For example, the serials of for beginners about famous intellectual people, the history of chinese culture, the serial of Classic Chinese Philosophers, Three Kingdoms Romance, Jengis Khan, wisdom words from Al-Ghazali and a lot more about tales of the prophets and their companion, as well as other religious comics. This indicates that comic has been improved as an effective communication media for serious and educative matters.

The hot topic in today’s trend is the foundation of independent publisher which is usually called indie (independent) or underground, a movement which has been doing a counter culture, againts the stable-mainstream comic industry both in distribution as well as ideology. Because of that, comics which have more matured genre and individual orientation pop up and have been developed, eventhough the distribution is limited in the exclusive part of the society. The creator of indie/underground comic have been involved in mainstream comic industry before. One of the actor is Beng, which had been in Animik World before he moved to underground movement in 1999. For him, the important values that worth to be struggled for are education value, egalitaire (equality) and also recretional. There is also one artist whose nick name is Zeus from Studio Petshop wishes that someday comic can be regarded as a form of art in front the public’s eye and that local comics can be a master at its home so that comic artists can make a living from it.

Just before and after the beginning of 21th century, during 1998 till this 2005, there are many local comic publisher and comic magazines created, both in independent production as well as official publisher, such as Koin, Komikland, Wayang Gaul, Tabloid Komikka for comic magazines, and SAP Project, MAKO, Union for comic tabloid. These published product will continue to rise and fall in providing comic exhibition and bazaar which are quite a celebration lately. A few official publisher beside Mizan and Gramedia, have openly accept local comic artist to produce their work. Some of the publishers are, Terrant Comic, Dahara Comic, Komunitas Nisita,Riko Amer Production, Gagas Media, Creative Media and Asy Syaamil.

Another factor that melts the stagnant state of comic development in Indonesia is the foundation of some new comic communities since 1990s. Among the communities, there is one of the pioneer which is quite famous is Kajian Komik Indonesia (KKI). It is established by Literature Faculty of Indonesia University since 1993. Mrs. Rahayu S. Hidayat as the chief of the community, through a clearly local phone call, said that she is so excited to monitor the development of Indonesian local comic lately compared with the condition in last decade when the idea of the communities is created between young lectures in that time. The idea was to arrange a seminar about comic, one or two times and then they started to make a local comic exhibition regularly and finally the National Education Department and Balai Pustaka (big educational publisher) took a part by arranging a comic competition and Comic and Animation Exhibition I in 1998. The continuance is there were many exhibitions and others kind of activity in many cities that drives big publisher to give a portion for local comic artist to publish their work.

One of the most famous communities which catch up the former is Masyarakat Komik Indonesia (MKI). It is founded at the end of the first Pekan Komik Nasional (The Week of National Comic) exhibition on the spot in 1997. Their powerful slogan is ‘Support Your Local Comic Movement’. It is created by Ardie from comic studio Karpet Biru (Blue Carpet), a studio community which started its story from assembly on the blue carpet in a campus. From that moment, there were a continuation creation of new comic communities based on campus, mailing list groups and online forums discussion. Some of the mailing list groups are quite a mass. They are MKI, Klub Komunitas Indonesia and iComics. There are also online forum discussions which provide special division for comic chats such as, forum.indicomic, forum.kafegaul, forum.webgaul, forum.masterweb dan forum.freakschool. Inside the forum, members can actively exchange their opinions and news, chatting between the comic artist and the fans and debating serious matters about the development of comic Indonesia. Online discussions are more long lasting then websites dedicated for comic, such as,, dan But now, there is one significant website,, with a webmaster, Fitra Sunandar. It has already professionally managed and success in gathering many comic artist to post their comics online, also there is an effort to publish the comics offline.

Nowadays, internet become everyone’s favorites as an alternative medium to display, distribute and discuss comic, as in the communities (written before) or through personal blogs.


  1. Hem... I think I've read that article before... :-P .The translator must be beautiful!