Thursday, September 18, 2003

Komiks Gratis 

September 12

Arrive at show late, time out for some personal things.
But I've got copies of my comic, 'Spontan'. And Athonk is collating the 'Strip Jams' book! After a little lull yesterday there is a buzz of energy today.

Strip Jams...Here the word for time is "Jam" so you'll see signs "24 JAM". Between that and the 'Not Mild' signs it seems like there are secret comix messages speaking to you wherever you go.

Jam books "Komiks and Black Beer" and "Komikus and Barangya" are done.

"Komiks gratis komiks gratis" we shout and everyone comes running.

If I can get more copies made we will send these to the 'Beer and Comics' feature of the Australian National Young Writers' Festival, in October.

With my komik done (see even I'm spelling it the Indonesian way now) I'm free to check out the show, and do some interviews. Laine's got her laptop out and we both run around and start asking questions.

Last Indonesia trip there was too much art to digest. This time I'm just gonna ask ten questions. [Forthcoming @ Silver Bullet Comic Books, assuming they don't suck: MKI (Indonesian Komik Society), Cinta Komik, Komik-Kasa, Taring Padi, Duggung Tumbuh, and more!]
Laine suggests the guy who does the Ayam Mapahajit komik, he's been doing UN komiks in East Timor. Not enough time, argh! I simply can't interview everybody.

Convention dinner - rice and ayam (chicken) in banana leaf, plus each booth gets some more noodles, rice and vegies in a takeaway box. Gotta love convention life here, it's got Stateside food beat.

The show closes with a sort of komik cabaret at the lecture area, some songs and some speeches and thank yous.

Lots of pictures. All you have to do is say 'fotofotofoto' and people come running. We all start tearing down our booths and giving away / swapping komiks. I give lots of mine away, I don't want to cart them all the way back to Siem Reap!

We head home - I'm told at twelve tomorrow there will be a small retreat to the mountains to review this convention and plan the next. That should be a fun day.

Word for the day: Gratis = free.

Next: Sudden Death Overtime.

Double Infection, The WTO, Porn, Bandung, "Spontan". 

September 11

Something curious happens on the way to the show - there's a protest against the World Trade Organization, at a government building along Maliboro. A little tepid though, not a lot of people. Maybe eight years ago this would be illegal. Now (to use popular parlance), they 'can't get arrested'. So anyone who's worried about unrest, terrorism or bombings in Indonesia, feast your eyes on this.

Seriously though, the trade environment affects comics, as is evidenced by all the foriegn manga sitting on bookstore shelves.

The folks from Blank, an Indonesian design magazine, come by and ask me to fill out a survey on pornography for their next issue. My answer for most questions is 'no.' Of course Laine who's sitting right next to me doesn't get one.

Pick up a few anthologies from the dreadlocked crew across the way; from Daging Tumbuh ("Infeksi Ganda Minyak Tanah" - "Double Infection Kerosene") and from a different group, Matirasa. (Yep, pix to follow.) Also two t-shirts including a nicely designed one from Bandung. Back at the table, Benk has the anthology it was done in, years ago (Molotov). Far out.

Just picking up one of these nearly impossible to find items, so many things fade into insignificance. So few people take interest in this stuff. In the fourth largest nation on earth, there's probably just a hundred who actually care about this komik. But for us in the know, who have the aesthetic interest & can get our hands on it, it's solid gold.

Rounding the corner on translated comic. I just have to do some tricky pasteup stuff with the word balloons.

I buy a CD of Indonesian animation ("Loud Me Loud") that's won some kind of award. For two bucks I'm game. I also get some discounted manga in Indonesian. Some of the translations are really bad. One children's comic has the title 'Throbbing Tonight' - probably a mistranslation of 'heartbeat'. In a country with a big problem with child pornography, it ain't much of a joke.
Komik Karpet Biru on the other hand, is not bad at all. (

Vica, a former Apotik cartoonist-turned-graphic designer turns up with hair as red as mine. With a kid and job not much time for comics but we load her down with a few nonetheless. Courtesy Amber ("Smash the State") Carvan and Mandy Ord I have a few copies of BrickDog, which is great to share.

Laine translates my intro page and my comic is almost ready. Since the show has rented a photocopier, I spend a fair bit of time running back and forth across the hall to get things right.

We wrap the show early, and Agung gives me a lift to make 100 copies of my new Indonesia issue of 'Spontan'. Woo Hoo! He also spots me 80,000 rupiah for the printing. What a trouper. Can't wait to unleash this on the world.

Waiting at the copy shop we run through a few of the recent komiks I've gotten: Infeksi Ganda Minyak Tanah, Jail, Bukan Komik, Anak Punk, etc. In Infeksi Agung's done a komik on landmines, that might be good for future Cambo-Indo artistic exchange. Back to the show, we grab our gear, and head our separate ways home.

Ah, gratifying to have a new product finished. So many comics we're doing, so many still to be seen. I walk up Maliboro to Sosro, noting all the Shadow Puppet street lights. So much public art here, even unintentional art. I pass by picture after picture, panel after panel, patiently waiting for reassemblage.

Next: Last day of show!

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