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50 Years of Khmer Comics (July 30 2012)

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Managing Editor John Weeks presented at the ‘Pecha Kucha‘ themed ‘Nerd Night‘, briefly reviewing the three eras of Cambodian comics history and the intriguing local/international artists that made it all happen.

50 Years of Khmer Comics (July 30 2012)

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Cambodian Comics
                  50 Years in 20 Slides




All images © individual artists. Do not reproduce without authorization.
1960s – 1975    Pre-War Comics Culture




French influenced
Artists were able to earn a salary from comics
Surviving artists
   – Uth Roeun
   – Hul Sophon
No comics from
  1975 to mid-
  1980s
1979 – 1989             The Socialist Era




‘New Life in Kompong Preah’ – Uth Roeun
‘Torn Chey’ by Uth Roeun. Started the 1980s comics boom.
50 Years of Khmer Comics (July 30 2012)
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50 Years of Khmer Comics (July 30 2012)

  • 1. Cambodian Comics 50 Years in 20 Slides All images © individual artists. Do not reproduce without authorization.
  • 2. 1960s – 1975 Pre-War Comics Culture French influenced Artists were able to earn a salary from comics
  • 3. Surviving artists – Uth Roeun – Hul Sophon No comics from 1975 to mid- 1980s
  • 4. 1979 – 1989 The Socialist Era ‘New Life in Kompong Preah’ – Uth Roeun
  • 5. ‘Torn Chey’ by Uth Roeun. Started the 1980s comics boom.
  • 7. Tum Teav (Uth Roeun), Romance of the Tiger Lady (Im Sokha, cover Or Yuthea), Sovannasam (Em Satya)
  • 8. 1980s comics included musical interludes! Here are the lyrics for ‘Kompong Thom is in the Heart’ (Or Yuthea) and ‘Sell Your Rice Field and Go to the Bar’.
  • 9. Svay Ken • Started career in retirement (1994 – 2008) • Series of paintings telling stories • If this is not a comic, what is?
  • 10. 1989 – 1993 ‘State of Cambodia’
  • 11. Overseas Cambodians Meanwhile: • Ung Bunhean • Phousera ‘Séra’ Ing • Keu Tian, many others
  • 12. 1993- Present Kingdom of Cambodia “Free Market” style economy: Outreach & Art Comics
  • 14. 2001 – ‘Lakhorn Kou’ Project & additional workshops
  • 15. 2004 Comics Exhibition Centre Culturel Francais
  • 17. ‘Flower of Battambang’ – graphic novel begun in 1990, finished 2007 (Em Satya)
  • 18. A community of young Cambodian artists is developing their voice… Artists join Global ’24 Hour Comics Day’ Womens’ Comics Workshop
  • 19. And new works are appearing frequently! Stay Tuned: OurBooksCambodia.org
  • 20. To the Our Books Cambodia team (Chinn Piseth, Soeun Klo, Kim Phally, Jet Odrerir, Vanessa Ferrer) + Lim Santepheap. Thanks to Heng Huy Eng (tech support), Lok Kru Séra, Alain Daniel, Frank Smith, John Marston, John Lent, Olivier Jeandel. Thanks to artists for letting me show samples of their work, including Phousera ‘Séra’ Ing, Uth Roeun, Em Satya, Im Sokha, Or Yuthea, Chuon Ra, Ung Bunhean, Sin Yang Pirom, Pal Vannariraks, Moeu ‘Vuth’ Diyadaravuth, Tek Tevin, Sao Sreymao, Chan Pisey, Prom Vannak, Sen Samondara, Sam Sarath, Y Lida, Soeung Makara, Try Samphos, Chan Ny, Kong Monirath, Ly Karim, Nhek Sophaleap, Seng Visal, Nguon Sakal, Chea Sreyroth, Beng Rahadian, Akira Fukaya, Freddy Nadolny Poustochkine. Merci les artistes Lakhorn Kou: Keu Tian, Lucie Albon, Sylvain Moizie, Lisa Mandel. Thanks to projects, organizations and institutions: Phare Ponleu Selpak, project VALEASE, Centre Culturel Français, Reyum Institute, Java Arts, The Living Room, and Arts Network Asia. Cheers to ‘SuperAnne’ (Ann Elizabeth Moore) and Sara Drake. Thanks to researchers Katherine Brickell and Jason Dittmer, as well as Teri Yamda, Elizabeth Guthrie and David Chandler for their enthusiasm. There are many more to thank, this story is ‘To Be Continued’. Svay Ken, Chuon Ra, you are missed.