Selection of Thai Comics Art for the “Mangasia” International Exhibition

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Thai Comics (comic books & rare original artworks) are on display at the Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. Curated by Paul Gravett and a team of over twenty advisors, and developed by The Barbican Centre, the 5-year world-touring exhibition presents the largest ever selection of original artworks from Asian comics. For the first time at an international level, Thai Comics are well represented; original artworks from Thai master cartoonists p’Tawee Witsanukorn (and classic 5-baht ghost comic books of Krasue Sao, 1968), p’Raj Lersroung (Singh Dam), p’Padung “Aoh” Kraisri (Noo-Hin), and p’Suttichart Sarapaiwanich (Joe the Sea-Cret Agent); comic books by p’Hem Vejakorn (Ngo Paa), p’Sawas Jutharop (Phra Apai Manee), p’Pakdee “Tai” Santaweesuk (PangPond); issues of the famous KaiHuaRoh magazine; rare issues of “one-baht comics”; as well as various video clips (Noo-Hin: The Movie, Noo-Hin animated clip, Joe the Sea-Cret Agent animated clip). My heartfelt thanks to Paul, the Barbican Center, and all the Thai publishers and artists involved in this meaningful project. Special thanks to Chulalongkorn University students Birdme, Suttiarpa and Kaikaew for your invaluable assistance; I could not have fulfilled my role of “advisor on Thai Comics” without your help! Aj. Nicolas Verstappen

Mangasia Krasue
Rare original artwork & classic 5-baht ghost comic books of Krasue Sao (1968) by Thai master cartoonists p’Tawee Witsanukorn (ทวี วิษณุกร). Mangasia exhibition (Rome, Italy).
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“From left to right: Thai cartoonist p’Tawee Witsanukorn’s Krasue Sao original artwork, Azisa Noor‘s Kalasandhi, the Krasue Sao collection, four Thai one-baht horror/folklore comics, a page of artwork from
Al Sanchez for the Filipino comic Maling Akala, five-baht comics of Krasue Sao #1 and lastly Daijiro Morohoshi’s Mud Men“. Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. Picture credit: Paolo Darra.
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First issue of the classic 5-baht ghost comic book series Krasue Sao (1968) by Thai master cartoonists p’Tawee Witsanukorn on display at the Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. Picture credit: Hashimoto Izumi.
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“From top to bottom: Eldo Yoshimizu‘s Ryuko artworks, and Thai cartoonist Raj Lersroung’s Singh Dam artworks (commission for Somboon Hormtientong‘s exhibition).” Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. Photo credit: Paolo Darra.
Mangasia Raj
Two original pages of the classic adventure comics series Singh Dam (“สิงห์ดำ”, 1960s and 2013) by Thai master cartoonist p’Raj Lersroung (ราช เลอสรวง) on display at the Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. Picture credit: @diegotheghostt.
Joe NooHin Mangasia
Original page of Joe the Sea-Cret Agent (the first Thai alternative comics, launched in 1998) by cartoonist p’Suttichart Sarapaiwanich on display (next to an original Noo-Hin cover art by p’Padung “Aoh” Kraisri) at the Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. ©Suttichart Sarapaiwanich. Picture credit (detail): Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
Mangasia noo
Original Noo-Hin cover art by p’Padung “Aoh” Kraisri, published by ขายหัวเราะ (KaiHuaRoh magazine, Banluesarn). Mangasia exhibition (Rome, Italy). Picture credit: Daruma View.
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Clip of Noo-Hin: The Movie (top right). Mangasia exhibition (Rome, Italy). Screenshot from a video by Daruma View.
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Original page of Joe the Sea-Cret Agent (the first Thai alternative comics, launched in 1998) by cartoonist p’Suttichart Sarapaiwanich on display at the Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. ©Suttichart Sarapaiwanich Picture credit: Nicolas Verstappen
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“From left to right: Jim Fernandez artwork for Casa Negra, Thai cartoonist Sawas Jutharop’s adaptation of Phra AphaiManee, Thai one-baht sleep rape comic, and Indonesian Neraka’ hell comic.” Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics exhibition, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. Picture credit: Paolo Darra.
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“Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Jan-Apr 2017)

The “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course (Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) has three main goals:

1) select, summarize and partly translate 9 Thai alternative comics, and contact a foreign publisher to get them signed abroad.

2) Publish, promote and distribute our own zine gathering the constrained comics composed by former “Graphic Writing” CommArts students.

3) Organize an exhibition of the “Traumics” (Comics on Trauma) composed by CommArts & CommDe (Program in Communication Design, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) students.

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First special guest: khun Peataya Werasakwong, CEO of Kai3 (a brand of tee-shirts whose designs are extended into zines, and an indie comics publishing house), and author of the graphic novel “Pandism: Virus Panda.” ขอบคุณมากๆครับ khun Peataya!
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Second special guest: Belgian cartoonist & illustrator Ephameron for an afternoon of Comics Art Appreciation (with comments and tips). Students from the International Program in Communication Design (CommDe, Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) presented their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”) in front of Ephameron and my CommArts students in order to select the trauma-related graphic narratives to be displayed in the exhibition. Bedankt Eva! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ CommDe for inviting Eva in the first place! This project was partly inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit (and our partner) PositiveNegatives.
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Ephameron giving comments and advices to a team of CommDe students presenting their Traumics (or “Comics on Trauma”).
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Third special guest (or rather host): Spanish cartoonist, curator & illustrator Carla Berrocal offered us a private tour of the PRESENTES comics exhibition (Spanish Female Cartoonists of Yesterday and of Today). Discussion on the challenges (selecting pages, copyright issues, pairing different artists by themes or motifs…) offered by a Comics Art exhibition. Gracias Carla, Autoras de Cómic, and Maria & Joan from the Embassy of Spain in Bangkok. Thank you HeForShe Arts Week Bangkok, UN Women Asia and Pacific, and BACC (Bangkok Art Cultural Center)!
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Writing the editorial content of our “Bang Bang You’re Dead” constrained comics zine, inspired by the OuBaPian experimental comics by Lewis Trondheim & Jean-Christophe Menu. Trying to explain, as clearly and shortly as possible, the multimodal challenges faced by CommArts students while composing their graphic narratives (using “iconic iteration” with limited sets of panels drawn by European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon specially for our “Graphic Writing” course).
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Masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park). Photograph by ‘Rendez-Vous Franco-Thaï de l’Animation.’
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Thai films selected at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. During the masterclass on “Animated Film Festivals and Markets” with Geraldine Baché, head of Animation du Monde (MIFA-Annecy) at the RENDEZ-VOUS FRANCO-THAÏ DE L’ANIMATION (Embassy of France in Thailand, in collaboration with the World Film Festival of Bangkok, Mahidol University International College, SF Cinema and TK Park).
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Our fourth special guest; Ms. Pimpicha Utsahajit, Executive Director of Banlue Publications & CommArts alumnus, hold a talk on leading multi-platform content provider Banlue Group, with Banlue Sarn (humour comics magazines “Kai Hua Roh” and “Maha Sanook”), Vithita Animation, Salmon Books (publisher of alternative comics among others), digital platform MiniMore, Salmon House (production house of motion contents), Banlue Books, trendy free magazine Giraffe, or The MATTER and Pixniq among many other innovative content platforms! ขอบคุณมากๆครับ Ms. Pimpicha for the inspiring lecture and case studies (character development & licensing), and sharing with us your experience and expertise in so many fields!
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Making Small Press the CommArts way; a Taylorist approach. For reasons beyond their will, my 20 students had only 3 hours -including their zine-making formation- to produce the 300 copies of the inaugural issue of our Constrained & Collaborative Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!“. Challenge almost met with 281 issues produced, whilst avoiding too many flawed copies and finger losses…
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The inaugural issue of the comics zine series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” edited & published by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, and collecting the experimental, thrilling & collaborative works of 8 CommArts students with European cartoonists Pierre Alary, Sacha Goerg & Joseph Falzon, under a cover by Thai cartoonist Note Piruck and with a free ‘Phi Krasue’ postcard by French cartoonist Tamia Baudouin (only for the first printing)! Limited to 300 copies, the zine will be distributed worldwide thanks to our French partner L’Association ChiFouMi! Our thanks are also due to khun Satya @Rabbit4Print, and Thai cartoonist Tunlaya Dunn for the logo design & inspiration!
A word from the editorial team: “As evoked in its title, the ‘Bang Bang You’re Dead!’ zine invokes the playful yet serious aspects of constrained comics composition. Based on sets of speechless comics panels drawn especially for their Graphic Writing course by European cartoonists, 34 Thai senior students of the four-year program in Strategic Communication Management at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), duplicated, reframed, and combined the imposed drawings -with addition of textual elements- to create imaginative stories of their own. Without any particular drawing formation and facing the numerous and overlapping challenges posed by comics composition, our Faculty seniors were able to overcome the constraint of iconic iteration by thinking out of the box, using their creativity to cross formal, modal, cultural, and national borders.”
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Field trip with the editorial & production team of the inaugural issue the EuroThai Comics Zine “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” at the Bangkok International Book Fair (Queen Sirikit National Convention Center). The zine was on sale at the booth of the Thai indie comics publishing house Kai3. ขอบคุณครับ khun Peataya. Followed by a visit of the booths of publishers who collaborated on our projects (Salmon Books, Typhoon Studio & LET’S Comic). ขอบคุณครับ!
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Copies of the inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” have safely arrived in Belgium. The zines are now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels.
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The inaugural issue of our EuroThai Experimental Comics Zine Series “Bang Bang You’re Dead!” is now available at the comics bookstore Multi BD in Brussels, Belgium.
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Second objective of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course: to promote contemporary Thai Comix abroad. 8 teams of students. 8 Thai comics profiles (with summary, chapters translated into English, author bio, and pros & cons of each book to fit the French market and a specific publisher’s catalogue). 8 Thailand/France Skype sessions with Serge Ewenczyk, founder of the French independent comics publishing house Çà et Là. Proud of my students who did a tremendous and critical work there! Merci Serge pour ta disponibilité et ta marque d’intérêt! ขอบคุณมากครับ to the Thai editors for the complementary copies! Now, let’s all cross our fingers and see what the Future holds for Thai Comics! (On the picture: Serge Ewenczyk & the “Loser Rainbow (by Puck)” Team). 
Poster Traumics DEF
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displayed 18 short Trauma-related comics narratives all composed by students in the Faculty of Communication Arts, the Communication Design Program (Faculty of Architecture) and other Departments at Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand). From refugee stories to household accidents, from domestic violence to genocides (Congo, Shoah, Khmer Rouges), being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies, these narratives intend to raise awareness on social and human rights issues. Inspired by the literary educational comics produced by the award-winning non-profit -and our partner- PositiveNegatives, this project also highlights the ability of Comics Art -as a medium of fragments- to visually reveal how the minds of the victims were broken into pieces. As mentioned in the introduction to the Call for Papers for the conference Traumics: Comics Narratives of Trauma, comics -“with their syntax of panels, gutters, and pages and their use of the evocative power of image in conjunction with the precise communication of text- (…) are uniquely suited to delivering narratives of trauma.”
The opening night was held on the 5th of May 2017 from 5pm until 7pm at the first floor of the Faculty of Communication Arts (Chulalongkorn University), in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers.”
The exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” was organized and curated by the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course, Communication Management, International Program, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand).
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Last project for the students of the “Managing Creativity for Communicative Innovation” course; to mount the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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“Framing – Unframing – Reframing”, or mounting the exhibition “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” displaying 18 Trauma-related comics narratives composed by students at Chulalongkorn University.
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Opening of the “Traumics: a Medium of Fragments for a Shattered Mind” in the presence of our guest of honour Songsin Tiewsomboon, author of famous graphic novels such as “Nine Lives” and the series “Beansprout and Firehead” & “Bobby Swingers”, of graphic designer Ms. View, and of Thai alternative comics pioneer Suttichart Sarapaiwanich (“Joe the Sea-Cret Agent”).
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With polyptych, iconic iteration, bleed, braiding, narrative use of colours, parallel timelines, palindrome-like/mirror device, loop format, and other experimental features, or being straightforward visual narratives, the 18 Trauma-related short comics composed by students at Chulalongkorn University make full use of the hybrid art form to depict the victims’ shattered and alienated minds (and bodies), in order to raise awareness on social and human rights issues (from refugee stories to household accidents, from social conformity to domestic violence or genocides; being fictional, autobiographic or based on victim testimonies). I couldn’t be prouder by the meaningful work produced by Chulalongkorn University students from various Faculties; most of them being 1st year Thai students (and with a team of European exchange students), some of them without any prior artistic formation, and creating there their first ever comics. I only wish we could have displayed more of the dozens of Traumics created over the past two years. So many were equally deserving to be shown, and they will at some point, when I find the time, over here. To all, your works being displayed or not, artists or exhibition curators from the Mngt Comm Crea Inno course, for your talent and hard work, ขอบคุณมากนะครับ! Aj. Nicolas Verstappen
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Well-deserved rest after 4 intensive months of work! ;^)

David Lloyd & the Painted Smile: public talk, retrospective exhibition, masterclass, workshop, portfolio reviews and press day at Chulalongkorn University

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V for Vendetta co-creator and artist David Lloyd, special guest of our Faculty (Faculty of Communication Arts), Chulalongkorn University, for a public talk, a retrospective exhibition, a masterclass, a workshop and portfolio reviews. The workshop and portfolio reviews have their own dedicated post over here. Press interviews (tv, radio, magazine, newspaper) conducted with David Lloyd during his visit in Thailand are gathered at the end of this article.

During the public talk held at the Faculty of Communication Arts on March 23, 2016, David Lloyd discussed the creation of the essential graphic novel V for Vendetta, its movie adaptation, the designing and popularity of the iconic Guy Fawkes/V/Anonymous mask, the historical launch of the “British Invasion”, the developing field of webcomics, and the composition of profound, engaged and sophisticated narratives in Comics Art.

In the early 80s, English artist David Lloyd created and designed the character of V and his now famous Guy Fawkes mask (known lately as the “Anonymous mask”). Inviting the promising writer Alan Moore to join his comics project, David Lloyd required from his collaborator to avoid any thought balloons or voice over emanating from the masked freedom fighter. The constraint, remarkable and innovative at the time in the field, strengthened the ambiguity and complexity of the inner motivations and turmoil of V as he spreads terror amongst the leaders of a corrupted and fascist government in a dystopian England evoking George Orwell’s 1984. First conceived with a stark and impressing black-and-white chiaroscuro and serialized between 1982 and 1985 in the English magazine Warrior, the sophisticated narrative drew the attention of major publishers on the other side of the Atlantic.

V for Vendetta, and David Lloyd as an artist and a liaison representative, participated to the groundbreaking “British Invasion” of American comics which led to the creation of the high-quality Vertigo imprint by DC Comics and to the publication of major graphic novels such as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Working with Grant Morrison on John Constantine: Hellblazer, with Garth Ennis on War Stories or with Jamie Delano on the outstanding tales Nightraven and The Horrorist, David Lloyd never ceased to explore the complexity of the human psyche without ever compromising his own artistic and political integrity. Regarded by the critics as an essential graphic novel, V for Vendetta experienced a new wave of popularity through its 2006 movie adaptation produced by the Wachowski brothers (now sisters) and starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. The Guy Fawkes mask became an anti-establishment and anti-authoritarian symbol in protests around the world, from the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Arab Spring revolutionary wave. Through its appropriation and extended use by the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous, it is now one of the most important revolutionary icons in recent decades with more than 100,000 official copies of the masks being sold annually. Using the gained popularity of his creation to promote the works of other (and often debuting) cartoonists, David Lloyd launched in 2012 the online comics anthology Aces Weekly, one of the first attempts of the kind in the developing field of webcomics.


On March 28, 2016, David  hold a masterclass with the students of the Creative Writing (28003216 – Graphic Writing) course. He discussed comics art and visual storytelling and provided individual comments on the graphic narratives produced by the students.


Press interviews (tv, radio, magazine, newspaper) done with David Lloyd during his visit in Thailand.

TELEVISION:

The first of the two-part interview with David Lloyd for Thai channel Voice TV is available (in Thai) over here. The second of the two-part TV interview (in Thai) with David Lloyd focuses on the comics artform, on the banning of sound effects in V for Vendetta and on digital comics (David Lloyd being the publisher of the Aces Weekly digital comics anthology). Report shot in front of the retrospective exhibition dedicated to David’s career, right after his public talk at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University.

MAGAZINE: 

Interview with David Lloyd conducted by khun Pim-On for the magazine a day bulletin #407 (at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University). Available (in Thai) over here.

NEWSPAPER:

Interview with David Lloyd and four-page “cover story” by Richard S. Ehrlich for the Bangkok Post weekly cultural supplement Brunch (April 3-9, 2016). Available (in English) on this page.

RADIO:

Podcast of the interview (in English w/ Thai translation) with David Lloyd by three famous Thai cartoonists (Suttichart Sarapaiwanich, Eakasit Thairaat and Songsin Tiewsomboon) for RadioMANGA. Available over here!

Podcast of the interview (in English) with David Lloyd by Colin Cheney & Donald Quist for Poet in Bangkok. “In this eighth episode (Episode #8: A Very Small Irony), Colin and Donald speak with acclaimed comics artist David Lloyd, co-creator and illustrator of V for Vendetta. David discusses his working class upbringing and how American culture fed his development as an artist. He gives insight into some of his earlier collaborations with Alan Moore and other writers. David also shares his impressions of Bangkok and provides his perspective on the use of his V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask by Thai protesters”. Available over there!


I would like to extend my sincere thanks to David Lloyd for honoring our Faculty with his visit, to Assistant Professor Dr. Duang-Kamol Chartprasert, Dean of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Dr. Jirayudh Sinthuphan, Communication Management Program chairperson, and all the CommArts staff for their support. I would like to express my thanks to Bird, Look-in, Lookme, Looksorn, Narada, Big, Vi, Bomb, Nic Dunlop and Colin Cheney for their valuable assistance. Aj. Nicolas Verstappen