Last week, we introduced Comic Frontier, one of the largest exhibition and sale of self-published works in Indonesia. We had the chance to interview Sudwi Karyadi, Head of Comic Frontier.
Hello! Could you please introduce yourself?
Sudwi: Hello! I’m Nikolas Sudwi Karyadi, I’m born in Depok West Java in the 90s. My career is really short. I never held any long term work. I did some work on computer maintenance, as a secret surveyor, interpreter and substitute Japanese teacher. Most of my work is in organizing Comic Frontier.
When did you get interested in Japanese culture or manga and how?
Sudwi: I think it was when my mom brought me to a local book exhibition and bought me a copy of Doraemon.
Please share any memories you have of manga during your childhood. Which manga attracted you the most and why?
Sudwi: I think during my childhood my favorite manga is Crayon Shin-chan, I don’t really remember why but I think because the character is naughty and rebellious which I can really relate to.
Do you remember any Japanese contents such as games, TV programs, Japanese songs, books, movies, food, arts, etc. that you watched, listened to or consumed during your childhood?
Sudwi: Yes, I vaguely remember really liking Kamen Rider Black RX and even got the cassette tape of the original soundtrack and some stickers.
Is there any manga you are personally into right now?
Sudwi: I think there is none right now, but I used to read manga by Naoki Urasawa religiously.
What kind of manga do people prefer in your country? (Genre, story, visual, etc.) Are there any characteristics or trends?
Sudwi: I think generally people like shonen manga like One Piece, Naruto, Dragon Ball, etc., while the other will gravitate more toward comedy and romance manga.
Let’s talk about Comic Frontier. Could you please talk about your event?
Sudwi: Our event is Comic Frontier (コミックフロンティア) or in short, Comifuro (コミフロ). The idea first came out during my time as a student of Japanese studies at the University of Indonesia. I think it was my three friends and colleague Didib, Aryo, Akbar, and myself were tasked by our professor to do a report on Japanese pop culture and decided to cover Comic Market as our report subject.
By that time I was already deep inside otaku and internet culture and greatly inspired by works like Comic Party, Genshiken and Lucky Star.
We think it will be so cool if in Indonesia there is an event that centered around doujinshi like Comic Market.
Who started the event and why was it started? How many people organized the event for the first time?
Sudwi: At first, only my three friends and I started the event. We did some survey in Gelar Jepang (an established university matsuri event) about the possibility of doing a doujinshi event in Indonesia.
Were you aware of any difficulties in organizing your event for the first time?
Sudwi: Yes, I’m very aware of the difficulties. I think at that time in Jakarta (or Indonesia) there are very few people who understand the concept of doujinshi.
How do you organize your event?
Sudwi: Our event consists of mostly volunteers.
Which aspect of your event do you think has grown through the years?
Sudwi: I think it’s our organizational skill that grew through the experience we got every event.
Please tell us about last year’s event.
Sudwi: Last year’s event (Comifuro 13) was the largest so far with more than 18,000 attendees and more importantly with no major accident.
Have you invited mangaka before?
Sudwi: We’ve never invited Japanese mangaka and were really keen to see Japanese mangaka come to our event. Most of our guests are locals, including comic artists.
Did you invite any mangaka this year?
Sudwi: No, only local artists.
When you invite local comic artists, how do you choose them and how do you approach them?
Sudwi: For local comic artists, we usually contact and arrange it with their respective publisher or publishing platform.
Do you have any difficulties in promoting manga at your event?
Sudwi: Not really.
What is your future vision for your event?
Sudwi: I just want to keep providing doujinshi artists an affordable event to publish their works and meet directly with their friends and supporters.
What do you think about Manga Planet, an online subscription site for English manga?
Sudwi: Bigger and better accessible library manga collection. Also, I think it is better to provide manga in the local language to expand the market.
How would you describe manga?
Sudwi: Weirdly subversive.
Thank you very much for your time!
Have you been to Comic Frontier? Share with us your experience on our Twitter account @mangaplanet!
If you’re interested in reading more of Manga Planet’s interviews, be sure to read our exclusive interviews with Otakorp, Inc. (Part 1 and Part 2), Directors of San Japan, LLCDave Henkin and Tanya Arguijo, K-BOOKS Akihabara Hon-kan Manager Mr. Moritsuka, K-BOOKS Ikebukuro Chara-kan Store Manager Mr. Natori, Chairman of DoKomi Andreas Degen, former Production I.G. scriptwriter Yasunori Kasuga, The Golden Age of Decadence artist Yutsuki Inumura, After School! artist Umiharu, Kou Oushirou of MANGA.CLUB, and the RAYZ OF LIGHT Rōdoku Geki Cast.
About Manga Planet: Read manga, support artists
In 2012, Manga Planet started as a joint project between Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and FANTASISTA, INC. to research and explore the ways manga is read throughout the world. Aiming to bring new manga to fans from all over the world and support artists and the industry, Manga Planet pushes for affordability and access to manga through a subscription-based service.
Readers who subscribe to Manga Planet and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.mangaplanet.com and create an account. More information is in our guide.