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SOUND: A Comics Anthology

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• Diverse stories created by Southeast Asian writers and illustrators inspired by and set in recognisable places around the region.
• Compelling narratives that span personal stories and universal themes selected by veteran comic book editors.
• A wide range of art styles and genres to cater to a broad range of readers’ tastes. A great read for locals and anyone interested in Southeast Asia.

Traffic. A crunchy snack. An argument. What does sound look like to you?

Writers and illustrators from all around Southeast Asia were challenged to push the boundaries of depicting the unseen through the medium of visuals and words, while telling stories important to them.

Guest editors Budjette Tan and Charis Loke have put together an intriguing list of stories that showcase the creativity of creators across Southeast Asia—both familiar and new names. In a broad range of genres and topics, this collection of stories is an exciting exploration of what the comics medium is capable of.

288 pages, Paperback

First published November 1, 2020

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About the author

Budjette Tan

67 books337 followers
Budjette is a founding member of Alamat Comics. He has since written comic-book stories like Batch72, The Flying Phantom, and Payaso. His most recent work is Trese, co-created with artist KaJo Baldisimo. Like any typical superhero, he keeps a secret identity and works as the Deputy Executive Creative Director in the ad agency Harrison Communications.

(Taken here.)

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Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for aqilahreads.
546 reviews42 followers
January 8, 2021
sound: a comics anthology is published by difference engine, an independent comics publisher based in singapore. this is also their first comics anthology - writers & illustrators from all around southeast asia come together to explore on the theme, "sound".

i really love that you can see so many interpretations of sound all in one book. mad talent & respect & im just so proud they are actually our local/SEA artists omg like?!?!?! they deserve all the love???? okay ALSO can we talk about how the art colour palette is only white/blue tone yet it fits all the stories in this book......makes me realize that you dont really need to have a colourful graphic in order to enjoy reading comics. :")

ultimately im so glad that through the stories, i have learnt a lot of things. and that is to hear, is such a blessing. that its important to listen to your own voice. that listening is often the only thing needed to help someone. its just so amazing how comics can really make you think and just wonder about life lol. if i have to pick ONE favourite comic from this anthology, it would be on:off.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!!! pls pls pls dont miss this & rEAD THIS BOOK
Profile Image for Xueting.
265 reviews123 followers
November 12, 2020
I love the concept of this anthology: a collection of comics from Southeast Asian writers and illustrators that explore the sounds of SEA cultures and our daily lives through the visual and graphic medium. For example, one of my favourites centers on a young girl’s struggle to understand and speak in her family’s Hokkien dialect, and how it distances her from her grandma who speaks only Hokkien. This is a very prominent and relevant issue that the youth face in my country, Singapore. Some of the other comics bring the sounds of history, ancestors, and childhood memories to life through really gorgeous art. The artists in this anthology are very creative in both the premise of the stories and the combination of the visual/graphic form and the text. The comics introduced me to some interesting mythology from the region too. However, most of the comics suffered from the short length, which i can tell forced the writers to rush the endings. Almost all of them ended so abruptly and flatly. A lot of the stories are very imaginative but did not get the space (literally) they need to develop and properly establish the world-building. I think many of the comics would have been really good (definitely better than they are in this anthology) as a longer, fuller, more fleshed out comic.
Profile Image for Lauren.
140 reviews51 followers
Want to read
November 30, 2020
86 reviews
January 24, 2021
Artwork is amazing. 3.75.

More importantly, it was great to characters and stories that were familiar.
Profile Image for Khansaa.
155 reviews124 followers
October 2, 2022
I loveeee comics. Because I mostly read manga, I found most of the stories are not really relatable since they are mostly located in Japan (on in the fantasy world). But reading Sound, I feel like "damn, I know these stories!"

Sound is a comics anthology that is written by South East Asian writers, including Indonesia. Reading stories about "mata batin", Aceh tsunami, and Asian parents, were really fascinating for me. Not only the artworks are GORGEOUS, but it was really exciting to learn these tiny bits of culture in a really entertaining way.

Some of favorite stories are:
1) The Cat Who Barks, written & Illustrated by Bryan Arfiandy
As the title told, a boy was being confused after meeting a cat who barks instead of meows. He asked his teacher about it, but the teachers said the textbook is never wrong.

2) Softly, Sayang, written by Sharon Bong and illustrated by Leong Yi Zhen
A girl who came to the shaman and asked to lose the ability to hear her mother's voice .

3) The Whispers of the Earth, written by Amahl S. Azwar and illustrated by Nadiyah Rizki
How a folktale saved 70.000 residents of Simeulue island from Aceh tsunami in 2004.

There are still a lot of amazing stories to uncover here. A must read for everyone!
Profile Image for ash | spaceyreads.
346 reviews204 followers
November 5, 2020
A beautiful anthology displaying a selection of 13 comics from talented writers and artists throughout SEAsia. I didn't expect to be blown away when I was contacted to write a review for this, but blown away I was.

I started off with the notes from the two editors, and they were a testament to the passion they had to showcase and introduce different writers of the region, and dedication to a well-thought out theme.

SOUND - not SFX words, like what people typically think of in comics, but:

"The looming silence of tales untold and things left unsaid on the page.

Stories from the margins, loud and proud.

Stories of discordant struggle and musical hope."

The anthology then starts with one of my favourite comics, Folk, about strange happenings in a karaoke place (!! So quintessentially Asian) and activism in the Philippines. It was exceptionally moving.

Another one close to my heart is Hokkien for Beginners, where a young woman struggles to communicate in Mandarin and Hokkien with her grandmother. This is a shared experience across my generation in Singapore, where we are slowly losing our mother tongue as we go through school and conduct our daily affairs in English. I really loved how the comic depicted the speech bubbles when it's a language that the protagonist cannot understand... you have to see it for yourself!

Lastly, another comic I loved is Signals, a sharing of experience by a person who is forced to conform to gender roles in their country, and how they have to navigate everyday life reading signals of danger, of accidentally revealing themselves, of hate from their family and friends.

For readers of SEAsian literature and for those who like graphic novels, this is a must to read. I'm grateful to Difference Engine for putting this together. I felt seen, moved, and at home.

Many thanks to Difference Engine for the review copy!
Profile Image for San.
8 reviews7 followers
May 31, 2023
I devoured this book in a single sitting, and what an adventure it was. Firstly, I love the idea of exploring sound through comics, and how the foreword by the book's authors encouraged readers to carefully *listen* to the stories being told. Imagining the sounds being depicted through pictures and text, and combining it with my real life experiences and memories of various sounds, made for a novel and engaging experience with the book!

I also love how this anthology focuses on gathering stories from and by Southeast Asian creators - it truly is harder to come across comics and stories from neighbouring countries in this region, as compared to countries like Japan. Thus, I really appreciate the collaborative effort that went into the creation of this book.

I liked the reading experience as well - short comics/stories by various creators made for an "episodic" experience, making it a great book to pick up even with a busier schedule as you can easily pace yourself to read it one story/comic at a time. Certain stories really resonated with me, like "Hokkien for Beginners", "The Whispers of the Earth", "Softly, Sayang" and "The Cat Who Barks". But in the end, all stories shone in their own ways and I felt and took away something different from each experience ♥️
Profile Image for Jessica.
329 reviews39 followers
December 31, 2020
I really love how the book started and ended. The choice of the first story was brilliant. Voices of the unheard was well highlighted in the story Folk, the perfect story to start off the whole compilation.

The illustrations are stunning and there are even some stories with only illustrations and no words but it makes the perfect sense to me. It shows how each panel and drawing were put carefully in place so it makes sense to the readers.

Some of my favourite ones are Softly, Sayang, Road Trip Radio and also Hokkien for Beginners. All of these stories are about relationship between family members and somehow they warm my heart the most with the ways one interact with their family members, from not understanding each other's language of love to finally understand that's how our family shows their affection to us through the unspoken sounds.

Last but not least, I'd highly recommend this beautifully illustrated book!
Profile Image for Wen-yi Lee.
Author 7 books30 followers
May 25, 2021
The collection of thirteen stories present vastly different styles from artists and writers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, with stories ranging from historical to speculative to slightly surreal to straight up urban fantasy. The familiarity of the settings and the cultural elements was so comforting; I was struck multiple times by how much motion and atmosphere could be created in simple lines, and how the central concept of sound was variously expressed. One that stands out in that regard is "Hokkien For Beginners", which hit me in a very familiar place and painted Hokkien as unidentifiable blobs to the narrator, who feels disconnected from her dialect-speaking grandmother. Other favourites included "Folk", "Road Trip Radio", "The Whispers of the Earth" and "Softly, Sayang". "On:Off" had some images that haunted me, and said so much with basically no dialogue at all.
Profile Image for David Poon.
103 reviews2 followers
February 22, 2022
A nice comics anthology based on the theme "sound" in which there were some really good stories. My favorite being the The Whispers of the Earth, a story by Amahl S. Azwar based on the oral tradition of a people who lived on Simfulue Island, Indonesia that saved them from being destroyed by the 2004 Tsunami. The other story called Voices and Votes which I thought had the best art by Rafael Romeo Magal, talks about the contradicting sound you hear during an election. The rest of the stories were a little rushed I feel, but that's how these anthology goes, you get some gems and some pebbles.
Profile Image for yipeng.
165 reviews13 followers
December 6, 2020
It was so lovely to see the different interpretations of Sound by various Southeast Asian artists and storytellers. There are a few stand out stories in this anthology that I know will stay with me for the coming weeks, months, years. This anthology reminds me of the richness of SEA and how we’re not that different from one another as we tend to think. Sound is proof that magic can happen when we come together.
Profile Image for Sadie-Jane Nunis-Huff.
Author 6 books13 followers
February 4, 2023
Book 25 of 200 - 2023


I enjoyed most of the anthology but there were one or two that were a little bit *meh*

Impressed by the artist who did the kids' book series Sam, Sebbie, and Di-di-di by Dave Seow :)

I especially loved the last three comics :)
Profile Image for Ben Wong.
200 reviews4 followers
November 1, 2020
Some of the stories are deep and well drawn and it made me wish they had been full length stories.... Eg "Voices and Votes" and "Signals". Looking forward to the second anthology by DE!
Profile Image for Sylvia Kho.
12 reviews
May 24, 2021
I liked 'The Cat Who Barks" by Bryan Arfiandy best. So beautiful!
Profile Image for di.
65 reviews
December 28, 2021
An anthology of Sound interpreted by chosen South East Asia writers and artists. It’s all about folks, culture, family, and a reality. As an Asian, I find most of these stories familiar and related with me.

The Whispers of the Earth, The Cat who Barks, A call, they’re my best favorite stories. Then there’s also Softly, Sayang, Road Trip Radio, and Signals that success made me cry.

Lots of love to all writers and artists in this book. I hope I can see the next anthology in the future. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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