Indonesian Puppet | Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity

Puppets are Comics

Actually the wayang comic period was never remembered because the comic publishers at that time named it “classic comics”. This period was marked after the era of Sri Asih (of course with Nina, Garuda White, Captain Kilat), superheroes who were considered less nationalist, indulgence in fantasy, and the weirdest accusations: making children lazy to read. Dr Marcel Boneff, an Indonesian comic expert who has always been a reference, described it as du fruit defendu, a forbidden fruit. Worse than Simalakama – can still be eaten.

Mahabrata / Bharatayudha- by RA Kosasih
The publishers, especially Melodie and Cosmos, both in Bandung, both on Jalan ABC, stopped the human being and the god. Hero figures turn to folklore, Ganesha Bangun, Loetoeng Kasaroeng, by the same comic artist, R.A. Kosasih, who later serialized Ramayana and Mahabharata. Also the previous parallel name, John Lo, as well as the legendary, S. Ardisoma, Oerip. In S. Ardisoma, brush strokes create a poetic atmosphere for palace scenes, banyan tree scenes, long shot scenes, and even war. The difference again, R.A. Kosasih is loyal to the “Indian story”, so that the clown character does not appear.

Since 1958, the period we call puppet comics gives color to other types, even though the publisher Keng Po had published the Birth of Gatutkaca in 1954. So popular was the type of puppet, that Bahsjar SJ, painter and illustrator in Medan – field comics – Bharata Yudha, painting Bahzar SJ – author: DJ Bulkanny

another city that pioneered Indonesian comics – also made wayang comics. Comics from Medan comic artists are a little different from developments in Java because they are usually first published in local newspapers. It is not surprising if the comic artists such as Taguan Hardjo once filled three or four media every day.

Puppet comics, also comics based on regional stories or legends, are considered safer, more educational, and clearly more entrenched. So that it was not criticized, nor was it subjected to “bredel”, a period which was repeated violently in 1966. The works of R.A. Kosasih dominated in number and volume issued. Continuous connection upholds the story of wayang that is not well known to non-Javanese people.

In my opinion (which does not need to be complied with), this has led to the popularity of Mahabharata for a long life. Non-indigenous generation – if this term is allowed to be used – or those who live in big cities at that time are only “literate”. The amount is quite a lot, one volume can reach 30 thousand copies. And the raw material for the story can also be extended. Because, after Astina’s story, it continued to King Parikesit, then to King Udrayana. For this last title, R.A. Kosasih, 30 years ago when I met, made it on oil paper as a substitute for cliches, and thus the size of the comics later after they were published one by one. That is, the lines and scratches look very thick.

But actually not only that. Other cities, such as Solo, Semarang, Bogor, and even Tasikmalaya, also gave birth to publishers and comic artists. What’s very interesting is the lack of uniformity in wayang comics. The style of each comic artist can be distinguished. Even the concept. There are some wayang comics that really move wayang kulit, with all the complexity of the ornaments.

if you are interested in wayang you can visit the Indonesia Souvenirs site

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