Wherever there are people and pens, comics seem to spring up. This long, comprehensive story on comics in Cambodia documents the emergence of a cartooning scene through the dust and haze of past political upheaval as a bunch of young folk try to make their dreams come true:
In the sunny studio of Sonleuk Thmey in Battambang, the future for young Cambodian artists looks bright.
Prak Ke, 22, a young Khmer graphic artist and cartoonist is explaining his plans for the future. Though he is in no doubt as to the difficulty of the path he has chosen to tread, he seems confident enough.
“I want to be a comic artist,” Prak says. “It is hard, but I will put in the effort.”
One surprise element: the guiding presence of John Weeks, whom some will remember from his days with Eclipse and Dark Horse, as a kind of guru for the movement. Just call him Johnny Comics-seed.
Examples of actual Cambodian comics are not easily googleable, but this gallery shows the efforts from various workshops over the years. The efforts thus far are pretty rudimentary, but it’s exciting and encouraging to see a native comics scene emerging from whole cloth.
Above illustration by Hiek Vila.
Hell yes! I just got back from a relief trip to this country about a month ago. It is so amazing to see a growing generation of trade-skill workers, especially with some people doing something I love as much as comics.
Hee hee – cheers for kudos, not sure they’re deserved! For the record, the folks providing the elbow grease for this third incarnation of Khmer comics culture are the local artists *themselves*, such as Moeu Diyadaravuth, Try Samphos, Chan Pisey, Tek Tevin, Em Satya & many more. We’ve been lucky to have visiting experts like Phousera Ing, Justin Hall, Anne Elizabeth Moore and Lisa Mandel pitch in too. It’s a team sport; more linkage for the curious at http://tinyurl.com/khmercomics