Hybridities and Deep Histories in Indonesian Wayang Manga Comics

Meghan Downes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Since the late 2000s, the Indonesian comic world has witnessed a boom in local comics that are based on traditional Hindu-Javanese wayang (shadow-puppet) tales, yet stylistically emulate Japanese manga aesthetics. This article analyses these comics and their online fan communities, exploring how artists and audiences characterise and value both the manga and wayang aspects of these hybrid forms. In doing so, I offer new insights into questions of social capital and changing circuits of distribution and consumption in the Indonesian mediascape, with particular focus on inter-Asian popular culture flows. In addition, I suggest that the aesthetic syncretism featured in wayang manga comics is not a new phenomenon but has been a key feature of both Indonesian comics and of traditional wayang performances throughout history. Ambivalent public reactions to wayang manga's hybrid characteristics should therefore be understood as deeply enmeshed in histories of how mimicry, hybridity, and foreign influences are both celebrated and contested in Indonesian visual cultures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-26
    JournalSituations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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