Friday, July 29, 2016

Three August Titles

Hello everyone, and welcome to a message from our sponsor - me!

Maple Comics has come up with three titles to be launched within these two weeks. The first is Merah, then Paradigma Guru and finally a recoloured, remastered edition of Beijing in 5 Days.

Merah is a comic book by Indonesian artist/writer duo of Amir Muchtar and Seno Aditomo. It was published by AM-SA Studio in Indonesia. Merah was translated into Bahasa Malaysia by Julie Anne.

The story is about a man haunted by a ghost in red. The entire book is black and white except for the ghost, whose dress and blood is a bright red.

This is a disturbing tale that will send shivers down your spine. I guaran-damn-tee it.

This is our second title from Indonesian artists, after Stephani Soejono's Tale of the Bidadari, and we hope to collaborate with more artists and bring more titles from the region to Malaysia. One more title by another Indonesian artist/writer collaboration is coming next year. I can only share with you the working title - Samudra

Paradigma Guru is a manga style supernatural rom-com from the excellent mind of Pokcik Fingernailz. Yes, that's his pen name, and we call him Pokcik even though he is 13 years younger than I am. The man's a tender 23 years old but has the comics sensibilities of a seasoned pro.

Pokcik has managed to use manga tropes and styles to tell a uniquely Malaysian story. I was impressed with the story structure, flow, characterisation and humour of Paradigma Guru that hints at Pokcik's well-organised mind. He is indeed a slick executor.

Coming to you next Thursday is the recoloured, remastered version of Beijing in 5 Days. This is Mimi Mashud's very first comic and her original print run was sold out last year so we agreed to recolour and reprint it with the participation of the sublime Tay 'Fishball' Yen Ee. Yen Ee will have another comic book of her own in print later this year, hopefully.

Beijing in 5 Days looks awesome, really. Amid Yen Ee's digital colouring, we can also enjoy Mimi's excellent watercolours.

If you are a fan of Mimi's work, you cannot miss out on this comic book. It further cements her reputation and we were not kidding when we said, 18 months ago, that we have found the next Lat and she's awesome.

You can get all three titles at the Maple Comics booth, N33, Pesta Buku Selangor, Shah Alam Convention Center (SACC) until August 7. Also grab our other titles - Invasi, Taubat Si Tanggang, Pelempang realiti, Jejon Di Jepun, Scenes of the Father, Komik Ronyok, and a prototype DonK we did for Taylor's University.

Beijing in 5 Days will be available next Thursday but all the rest can be bought there. Alternatively, you can get most of these titles at our website -

We have more coming in the final quarter of the year, so wait for the announcements to be made soon. We are targeting 17 titles by end of 2016, in time for our second anniversary.

Anjakan Paradigma Guru

Izinkan aku puji komik terbitan sendiri. 

Hari ini, Maple Comics telah menerima cetakan pertama Paradigma Guru - sebuah komik oleh Pokcik Fingernailz.

Ini ialah judul ke 11 atau 12 kami. Aku pun dah lupa sebab tak terkira banyaknya. Setiap satu judul itu amat istimewa bagi aku. Daripada Kuala Terengganu in 7 Days yang malar hijau hingga Komik Ronyok yang subversif dengan cara yang cukup genius, aku amat senang dan suka dengan judul-judul yang kami terbitkan.

Paradigma Guru amat significant bagi aku, sebab Pokcik Fingernailz telah berjaya menunjukkan contoh sebuah cerita yang amat kuat dan unik identiti tempatannya, menggunakan tropes dan gaya manga.

Kalau kau suka baca manga, kau akan senang membaca Paradigma Guru. Bahasa seni dan short hand manga memang digunakan dengan meluas dan berkesan, demi menyampaikan kisah seorang guru perempuan bertudung di sebuah sekolah menengah di Malaysia.

Gaya atau seni manga menjadi alat untuk menyampaikan satu cerita yang Pokcik Fingernailz saja mampu luahkan.

Ini penting bagi mereka yang seusia dengan aku sebab sejak aku mula kacau orang kat Internet, antara persoalan yang hangat dibahas dan dibincang (sampai tak buat komik pun, cuma bercakap pasal ini saja) generasi aku ialah di mana 'identiti komik Malaysia'.

Adakah pada melukis keris, atau rumah kampung, mengetengahkan rekaan senibina kayu Melayu? Adakah pada cerita Hang Tuah? Bagaimana dengan budaya Cina, India, Bidayuh, Iban di Malaysia - itu tak cukup Malaysia kah untuk diketengahkan?

Ini persoalan yang aku jumpa 18 tahun lepas semasa aku masih student kat UM dan berangan nak buat komik kat KL dan jadi jutawan yang ada kepak. Macam Wunan.

Aku dah tua. Dah 36. Nak mampus dah pun. Aku dah tak peduli benda-benda remeh itu dah. Namun malam ini, sambil aku habiskan sisa-sisa kerja aku, aku rasa yang kalaulah diri aku 18 tahun lepas membaca Paradigma Guru, aku akan menguatkan syak aku pada jawapan akhirnya:

Identiti komik Malaysia ialah komik yang hanya boleh diceritakan oleh seorang rakyat Malaysia, tanpa mengira kaum, bahasa, umur dan gaya senilukis. 

Untuk sesuatu benda, pergerakan atau disiplin berkembang, ia sepatutnya mendepakan tangan dan memeluk semua yang sealiran dengannya.

Dan yang paling penting:

Identiti komik Malaysia tidak akan wujud sekiranya tiada komik Malaysia. Semua perbincangan pasal identiti komik Malaysia hanya membazirkan masa yang lebih baik digunakan untuk membuat lebih banyak komik yang best dan memberi sumbangan kepada cornucopia identiti yang hendak dibincangkan sangat itu. Malah, nukilan ini juga satu pembaziran masa. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Anima


I'm supposed to do work tonight but I decided to take the night off and do whatever. As usual, a night of quiet reflection for the Greatest Mind of the 21st Century, I turn to ways of improving our society.

I have come full circle, at 36, to what I was excited about when I was 18 - women.

I went to an all-boys' school, where I saw what kind of society and community can be created solely by boys. I lived for five years in fear of getting beaten up or raped, or even worse - mocked and ostracised. Such feminine fears, where the social risk is bigger than the physical, even in a society of men.

Disclaimer (to my schoolmates): I'm not dissing you, so don't get your panties in a bunch. Much of my fears were unfounded because I am not that desireable to men, neither am I all that threatening.

Anyway, when I finally escaped with my butthole relatively intact at 18, I was excited to rejoin regular society where women have equal say in things and I wouldn't have to be so afraid of a Lord of the Flies-like society.

My family is run by extremely strong women who don't give a fuck. For good or evil, they are the true executors of everything.

I was convinced, much as I had enjoyed my time with most of my female teachers and with my female-run family, that I would do well surrounded by women. That and the fact that I am a raging, flaming heterosexual, meant that I could put my dick where I want it to - inside vaginas. Or assholes connected just next door to vaginas.

Imagine my horror when I realised two things almost immediately:

1. Women are just as stupid as men

2. The world - the real fucking world - is still run by boys. Not men, boys.

I was like, what the fuck?

And so I trudged along and 18 years later, I have collected enough information and experience to reclaim my faith in women.

18 months ago, I started a comics publishing company. I fully expected a limited market of sweaty, overweight guys - just like me - enamoured by the romance of local comics. I fully anticipated interacting with artists who are all just huge dorks - all of them men and most of whom I already knew over 12 years of being in KL's comics scene.

Now, imagine my pleasant surprise when a majority of those who got excited with comics - local comics - are women. Tudung-clad or in sexy cosplay, the ones passionate about comics are women. And some of our best artists - a growing number and soon to be a majority - are women.

This is a surprise to me because I thought we followed the US model, albeit 5-10 years late. In the '90s, Neil Gaiman - God of Writing himself, wrote about how to get women into comics shops. This was necessary because more women were buying his stuff and that women were just going into comics stores back then and the normal guys like me would ogle and point and stare.

One of the earliest, biggest single, non-business customers for Maple Comics was a woman who thought it would be a great idea to buy our comics as a door gift for her impending wedding. I am still truly touched and would give her some free copies of our latest titles later.

In my working career, I have worked with many excellent female bosses. Some of them reintroduced me to geek culture or showed me this new way of management for the 21st Century workplace.

In writing fiction, one of my first editors and cheerleaders was an Israeli woman, mother of 7 or 9, based in America and manned a right wing website circa 98 or 99.

When I had my heart attack, my sister was the MVP. My doctor in the ER was an extremely capable woman. So were most of the best nurses in my ward, the nutritionist and physiotherapists, etc.

I have met more capable women whom I enjoy working with in the past 8 years than I have ever before.

And yet the feminists in this country are a fucking joke. Prone to bicker about nothing, taking all the attention away from serious, dire issues to focus their judgmental bullshit on trendy falsehoods so as to elevate their ego and perceived standing among the parasitic faux liberal community.

It is with great pleasure that I observe the women of this country march on progressively without the aid of these fake, hipster motherfuckers. Or is it uncle-fuckers? Point is, quoting Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons: haaa-ha!

Not all women are angels or whatever the fuck. These so-called feminists are women. All politicians are dumb, vicious assholes, and some of them are women.

I have also met the most racist, and therefore stupid, people and they are also women.

Aung San Suu-Kyi is a woman, I think, and I don't like her. Anwar Ibrahim is a woman, and I don't like him either. Am I insulting him? Whhaaaat? Is being a woman an insult?

The MalaysianOfficial1 might not be as ruthless as his 'plus 1', whom my friends tell me is a plus-sized woman.

So it's not all the perfect female utopia peppered with angelic beings who would all agree with me as I thought when I was 18. But we're getting there.

I am being sexist when I say I have great hopes for women, especially in this country. Yeah, the nation has serious issues, as all nations do.

I think the key for long-lasting key solutions is to allow for new ideas and what better place to listen to new ideas than the vagina?

In fact, I have been listening to a vagina all night. His name's Michael Moore. And he makes a compelling argument for women.

Anyway, to all who bought our comics, man, woman, kathoey, I would like to say thanks, yam's leaves. I truly appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Special

Caption: Gambar Sekadar hiasan

Last weekend, I went back to Kuantan for my sister's wedding. It's now official - at 36 and the youngest of my siblings, I remain the last human standing who is still single.

Some extended family members have fired warning salvos, voicing their intent to get me hitched to a random girl or whatever.

I know some of my relatives read my blog, sometimes, so these are my thoughts before anyone does anything.

10 years ago, if someone were to do this, I would have done things that would have been quite scathing and scandalous, to ensure that they would never try that again.

Unfortunately, I am quite old now and with my heart disease, my life expectancy has been severely reduced. This all works in my favour, but not to anyone around me, who might have to carry my body and bury me in hallowed ground, lest I rise again from the grave.

The truth is, I thought about marriage 8-10 years ago. I thought that I have been quite tough on Malay girls and I might have to spend some time with them - even the ones I make fun of - to ensure I was being fair.

It lasted a few months and then I decided everyone can go fuck themselves.

Marriage is a hassle and I have never met anyone worth all that trouble. In fact, if someone is in my room or at my apartment, I usually can't sleep.

I am paranoid - a paranoid person armed with a peculiar understanding of human psyche. All humans are fucked up. The normal human's driving force is to be or be seen as better than others. To be 'special'.

This is stupid, because we are all the same. And yet you can fuck any girl in the world today, just by telling them they're special.

"You're the only one who can thaw my icy heart. You're special."

"I choose you! I didn't choose Pikachu, I choose you!"

"I would never lie to YOU (not like how I lied to all these other idiots)"

These are all lies. There's only one person any human believes is special - him or herself. Humans are despicable and I generally do not seek their company.

And then there's marriage. Weddings are expensive and most marriages don't last. It's a silly industry - one I hope to exploit one of these days. I would love to own several wedding places so I could make money. LOTS of money.

And then kids.

Here's the thing. Have you looked out the window lately? Do you really want to bring someone into this stupid, violent, hateful world? Someone who would eventually realise that life has no meaning whatsoever, humans are stupid and deceitful, and whatever you do will eventually come to naught.

Basically, you get old, you get ugly and then you die.

Would you want to bring someone into this world of Trumps and Brexiteers? A world filled with Taylor Swifts? A bleak economic outlook and from what I can see, an impending world war?

If you do, I believe you are selfish. And extremely irresponsible. But that's just me and I generally hate people.

Yerah, sure, the world can be nice, life can be beautiful. But anyone who has the potential to inherit my vast intellect and deep insights can also see all its flaws. Someone with a similar mental capacity as mine would be able to see all the darkness and evil in this world.

It would take huge, serendipitous leaps of enlightenment to be okay with it all. And I don't think even anyone with a similar DNA structure to mine can pull off what I have done. Cause you see, I think I'm special.