Image vs Text: Which comes first?


Panel Discussion

Featuring: Canan Marasligil, Carlo Vergara, Evangeline Neo, Foo Swee Chin, Mari Morimoto

Moderator: Peejay Catacutan

Comic artists utilise both drawings and text to create the most impact. However, does translating comics go beyond than just replacing the original words in the speech balloons? Translators also have to contend with practical issues like fitting the new language into the text boxes, maintaining the narrative, and even redrawing! This panel grapples with the tension between the visual and written modes, and ways to preserve the comics’ artistic integrity.


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.


CANAN MARASLIGIL (The Netherlands)

Canan Marasligil is a writer, literary translator, editor and curator based in Amsterdam. She specialises in contemporary Turkish literature as well as comics. Her interest is in challenging official narratives and advocating freedom of expression through a wide range of creative projects and activities. She is the creator of “City in Translation”, a project exploring languages and translation in urban spaces. Her comics translations include Bouncer (Alejandro Jodorowsky [writer] and François Boucq [artist]) and Sanctuaire (Xavier Dorison [writer] and Christophe Bec [artist]). Her comics-related projects include co-curating Reframe, an exhibition (2013-14) that presented perspectives on Europe through comics from Algeria, Turkey and the UK; co-curating the International Comics Festival of Istanbul, Istanbulles (2012-13); and managing the comics section of the Narratives for Europe project (2011-12). More info on Canan can be found on www.cananmarasligil.net.

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.

Evangeline Neo (Singapore)

Evangeline Neo is a comic artist, illustrator and blogger. Her seminal work Eva, Kopi and Matcha (2014) depicts and satirises cultural differences between Singapore and Japan and has been translated into Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese. Her second book Eva Goes Solo (2016) documents her experiences adapting to life in Japan where she lived for some years. Having drawn comics since 2007, Neo enjoys a large following on her Facebook page, Evacomics. She was a mentor for comics drawing on Okto’s Knockout Carnival and has appeared in newspapers such as Zaobao, The Straits Times, and The Star. Her work on cultural differences attracted an interview for Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal’s staff magazine. Eva has been invited to speak at conventions such as the Singapore Toy Game Comics Convention, Comic Fiesta in Kuala Lumpur, and Popcon Asia in Jakarta.

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.


Mari Morimoto has been a freelance translator of manga and Japanese subculture content for over 20 years. She has been invited to be a speaker, interpreter, and a guest-of-honour at anime and comic conventions, and Japanese cultural events. Her translating bibliography includes many bestselling titles such as Naruto, Sailor Moon, Dragonball, and Inuyasha, and she routinely interprets for Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Japan Society, New York Comic Con, Otakon, and Anime Boston, among others. Highlights of her career include meeting Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama in 2003, assisting shojo manga legend Moto Hagio at San Diego Comic Con in 2010, and interpreting for Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto at New York Comic Con in 2015. Born in Osaka, Japan but raised in New York City, Mari also happens to be a small animal veterinarian.


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.

  • The event description was updated. Diff#272177 2017-08-24 06:26:55
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Sun Sep 24, 2017
12:15 PM - 1:30 PM SGT
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