Comics From Southeast Asia: A Cross-Cultural Bridge?


Panel Discussion

Featuring: Aji Prasetyo, Carlo Vergara, Peejay Catacutan, Nguyễn Thành Phong

Moderator: Roy Ablah

Comics are not only for entertainment but they promote intercultural exchange as well. In this panel, we hear from award-winning comic artists from the Philippines (Peejay Catacutan, Carlo Vergara), Vietnam (Nguyễn Thành Phong) and Indonesia (Aji Prasetyo) as they talk about the cross-cultural potential of comics to bridge the various countries in ASEAN, and how to make the comics more accessible in the region.


TranslateSingapore takes a close look at the translation of comics in all its colourful forms – from graphic novels and Japanese manga to European bande dessinée and comics from Southeast Asia. Join award-winning comic artists, translators and publishers from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Europe and the US as we explore how this popular medium is used to engage with cross-cultural representations and understanding.

Lim Cheng Tju, an educator who writes about history and popular culture, is the advisor to the “Comics and Translation” programmes. The programmes will be in English.

Comics and Translation Forum Pass

The Forum Pass offers access to all panel discussions; discount to comics translation workshops and film screening. Please present your Pass to gain entry at the events.

See also:

Panel Discussions

Comics Translation Workshops: An Introduction

TranslateSingapore is back for the third year as we celebrate “SG Translation Month”! Click here to find out more about the highlights this year.


AJI PRASETYO (Indonesia)

Aji Prasetyo is a writer, author, comic artist, musician, and independent human rights activist. He began creating comics for a personal blog in 2007. His first book, Hidup Itu Indah (Life Is Beautiful), was published in 2010. Besides comics that are filled with social criticism and political commentary, Aji has also created historical fiction comics, including Harimau dari Madiun (Tigers of Madiun), which is set during the Javanese war of 1825-1830. It won the Third Silver Award in the Kompetisi Komik Indonesia 2013, and was subsequently published in 2015. In 2016, it won the Kosasih Award for Best Short Comic. His work is also displayed in the Asia Comic Cultural Museum in Penang, Malaysia.

CARLO VERGARA (The Philippines)

Carlo Vergara is the creator of the Filipino LGBT superhero Zsazsa Zaturnnah, who debuted in her own graphic novel in 2002. The Zaturnnah story was adapted into a feature film and a stage musical in 2006, and Vergara is currently working on the sequel. His work on Zaturnnah has earned him two Philippine National Book Awards. A graphic designer and copywriter by profession, he has ventured into playwriting. His most successful one-act play to date is 2013's Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady (How I Became Leading Lady). A story about the maid of a superhero team, the play was adapted into a comic book that same year, and subsequently expanded into a full-length musical in 2015. A major motion picture is under development.

PEEJAY CATACUTAN (The Philippines)

Peejay Catacutan is a Manila-based illustrator, comic book creator, and the Art Director for OSSM Comics, an independent comic book company based in California, US. His first series, which was written by Omar Spahi of OSSM Comics, called XenoGlyphs was published in 2011 and since then, he has worked on several titles under the publishing company. In 2016, under Chopsoy Comics, he published his first local comic book entitled Buster, which sparked interest both locally and abroad. It also received good reviews at the New York Comic Convention in 2016. Jess Española, the Emmy Award-winning animator and assistant director of The Simpsons called it: “IMPRESSIVE.” He is currently working on the next volume of Buster and a possible cartoon series based on one of OSSM Comic’s titles, Separators.


Nguyn Thành Phong is a co-founder of Phong Duong comics. He works as a graphic novelist, illustrator and art/creative director for various publishers and clients in Vietnam, France, Italy and the US. Nguyn Thành Phong started his career in 2004. Since then, he has been awarded numerous national and international prizes, including the Special Jury Prize for the Best Artworks at the Asian Youth Animation & Comics Contest 2011; and the Silver Award in the 9th International Manga Award (2016). His recent works include Sát thủ đầu mưng mủ (roughly translated as The Killer with A Festering Head, a picture book illustrating Vietnamese contemporary idioms); Think before honking (series of cartoons about traffic problems), Hà Nội – My City, and Holy Dragon Imperator.



Fairul Nizam Ablah, or known as Roy Ablah, is a freelance writer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has been writing scripts for animation, telemovies and drama series since 2005 for Malaysian TV. He worked with the highly-acclaimed Gonzo Studio Japan for an animation called 7 Satria, in collaboration with Funcel Studio. Apart from writing, he is also a comic publisher under the label of Maple Comics with his partner-in-crime, Amir Hafizi. It has 19 titles so far (and counting). His latest venture is Anomalous Films in which he is a partner-producer, and he has just completed a 27-episode drama series Biniku Ninja that was filmed in Europe. He admires the works of Charlie Kaufman, Quentin Tarantino, Park Chan-wook, Brian Azzarello, Paul Pope and Warren Ellis, to name a few.

  • The event description was updated. Diff#271384 2017-08-21 09:41:35
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Sat Sep 23, 2017
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM SGT
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