Editorial – Issue 3
A friend once said, “Singapore comics cannot make it!” Well, is that a fact or a myth? And what does Singapore comics mean to a Singaporean? Can any comics that are drawn in Singapore or created with the city in the story be referred to as Singapore comics? Can a mainstream manga (Japanese influenced comics) drawn by a Singaporean artist get recognition for its merits? Will that be known as Singapore comics too?
I often wonder what kind of comics style, genre or form can represent our country. For me, the response must be, “Yeah, this is Singapore comics,” and there is no doubt about that. The few comics title that came to my mind are Mr Kiasu (Johnny Lau), The House of Lim (Cheah) and Orchard Road (Collin Goh). There are a few more titles but these three gives me more impression. It is not just the story, but the title feels familiar and it is relatable to most Singaporean.
I cannot say that these are the only books that represented Singapore but they do have a common trait that we can identify – shared memories. And yes, this style of comics was popular in the ’90s.
But what about manga that is drawn with the story based in Singapore? Will the reader consider this as Singapore comics too? Are they able to differentiate a localized manga from a Japanese manga? Honestly, I don’t think readers really care about this so long they like the story, buy the books and that is all it matters. However, if we can do an island-wide survey to find out what people think of Singapore produced comics, we may be able to get a glimpse into the future of comics in Singapore and decide if it is worthy of our time and effort to pursue this dream.
Yes, it would be good to hear people say about our comics, “written, drawn and produced in Singapore, best in SG and across the globe.”
Ho See Kum
Founder of SG Cartoon Resource Hub