In The Crosshairs: Using Comics to Tackle Social Issues


Panel Discussion

Featuring: Aji Prasetyo, Carlo Vergara, Foo Swee Chin, Nguyễn Thành Phong

Moderator: Roy Ablah

Are comics meant for only escapist reading? What if the creators take a moral or philosophical point of vew? Will they risk alienating their readers? This panel looks at how comics could reflect the social issues prevalent around us, and how this popular medium could be used to tackle hot-button topics.


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.

FOO SWEE CHIN (Singapore)

Foo Swee Chin is a Singaporean comic book creator of several alternative comic books. She is also the co-creator of the Slave Labor Graphics title, Nightmares & Fairy Tales alongside writer Serena Valentino. She currently has her own manga blog which chronicles her travel experiences to Japan. Foo is also a freelance illustrator and conceptual artist.


Nguyễn 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. Nguyễn 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.

Sun Sep 24, 2017
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM SGT
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5 to 10-min walk from City Hall, Clarke Quay and Raffles Place MRT stations. For list of buses: theartshouse.sg/visit
The Select Centre

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