COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Mengintip Metropolitan

The cover

The cover

Muhammad Misrad (Mice), Sheila Rooswitha Putri (Lala), and Haryadhi Gee. Three different comic artists with three different styles and three different views, collaborated in a one-themed comic compilation, all focusing on daily life of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. What would the result be?




I first learned about the project back in August 17, 2013, when Lala told me that she was “proposed” by Mice to collaborate in a comic anthology called Komik Jakarta, a kind of comic journal on the daily life of Jakarta. She was excited, but I was even more excited (of course I didn’t show it). I mean, I was a fan of Benny & Mice comic strip in Kompas, and I was truly disappointed when I heard they broke up. So when I heard from Lala (she sworn me to secrecy back then), my excitement made me an easy mark. Back then I hadn’t learned that there would be another person added into the team, Haryadhi. As a matter of fact I didn’t even know that it was planned to be published online in and its Facebook page, and I was a bit disappointed when I found out because I don’t and never will have a fucking Facebook account.

The publishing of this book, containing selected strips of the anthology, made me really happy. I’ve been waiting for more than a year for it. And last week I finally got it, delivered to me by Lala herself when I met her for about three hours at Tamani Cafe during a 5-day hectic business trip to Jakarta. As soon as I returned to my hotel room, I didn’t even bother to change (I didn’t even bother to take off my shoes) and started drowning myself into reading it. And yes, that’s my verdict on the book.




After Mice opened the anthology with a brief strory of how the idea came up and how the team was formed in his 5-page strip, Haryadhi, has the honor to start taking you into Jakarta daily life in comic. With his sharp lines and explosive comic presentation, Haryadhi presents his humorous views of the phenomenon he witnessed in Jakarta. I say he has his own way of presenting the daily facts in his own explosive and – sometimes – exaggerating ways. I really enjoy the way this young artist taking me into his sharp point of views exploring Jakarta. To tell you the truth, I enjoy his strips in this anthology much more than I do his previous works Kostum and Setan Jalanan.

Different situation, same attitude...

Different situation, same attitude…


The second is Lala, the ligne claire specialist who has made name for herself with her previous books such as the graphic diaries Cerita Si Lala (The Story Of Lala) and Sheila’s Playground and many others. This anthology is quite a departure from the two examples I mentioned, by the way. While in those two books she shares with us her views, feelings, perspectives and hopes of her daily life, this time she broadens the perspective into the life of others. I say this is still her bag and it suits her just fine. I’m glad she hasn’t lost her touch with her witty approach on daily things, even when sometimes she presents them in one-panel pages. She is a perfect addition to the otherwise male-only team, because as woman (no I’m not a sexist, fuck you) she of course has a different way of seeing things differently from men. Her way of presenting her points of views gives a softer tone to the book, in contrast to the rather harsh Haryadhi or the bitterly funny Mice.

As a man who really loves cycling, I can really feel this page...

As a man who really loves cycling, I can really feel this page…


The last part is of course presented by the initiator of the project himself, Mice. I’m glad to say that he’s not the shadow of the comic artist he used to be during his Benny & Mice days. Of course I would be happier if the duo would reconcile, but hey, you can’t have all you want in life, right? Whatever life gives you, you take what you can get and make the best out of it. Mice did, I’m pleased to say, but he should’ve given more pages in the book, I’m displeased to say.

Sharp and witty...

Sharp and witty…


Is there anything I’d like to criticize? Yes, of course. After all I’m a very special kind of bastard who is not known for having the virtue of leaving well enough alone.

I say this as person who wish to see the book and the stories in it to be known internationally. I say some of the jokes and and references in the book are strange to non-Jakartan readers, let alone the non-Indonesian readers, and as a businessman with international sphere of works I tend to think that everything should go internationally. The only ones easy enough to translate, and not all of them, are Lala’s works; probably because she has some international experience already so it more or less stick to her mindset to think more internationally. The most difficult ones to translate are Mice’s works. I am not really a professional translator, but I do know enough to say that I know what I’m talking about and I’m willing to defend this opinion. On the other hand, this small weakness doesn’t change my verdict on the content of the book in general:





And yet I’d like to suggest to this team of three to start thinking about it. This is after all a very interesting topic, and it would be a waste not to let it be known internationally.



OK, enough about what I think of this interesting comic book. I’d like to express my thanks to Lala who has given me the book and with an extra little bonus I will cherish forever:

I'm not sure I really look that good, but it's an honor to have it drawn by my favorite artist.

I’m not sure I really look that good, but it’s an honor to have it drawn by my favorite artist.


Well, that’s it. I hope this will be a useful guide to anyone who are considering to buy that book. Buy it. It’s worth it.



~ by edwinlives4ever on March 30, 2015.

28 Responses to “COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Mengintip Metropolitan”

  1. Itu tulisan warna emas di bawah, bacanya gimana, Mister?

  2. bener2 jakarta itu cuplikan komiknya πŸ˜€

  3. Wow! It looks great!
    Especially I love this mix of styles on the cover… and your saucy review πŸ™‚
    Thank you, Edwin!

  4. aku nunggu versi Jogja!!

  5. This is so cool!
    I’ll be back to read more soon!

  6. Hi, I’m back! πŸ˜€ and I’ve nominated you for the Spread The Love challenge.. head on to my blog for more info, and, congrats! πŸ™‚

  7. Mereka bikin komiknya pake hati… sindirannya langsung ngena.
    Untuk komik yang ini saya belum beli, … thanks, bung, sudah kumasukin daftar belanja πŸ™‚

  8. Mbak Lala jug pernah gambar aku di buku cerita si Lala. Ahhh… senangnya! Gw suka mantengin karya mereka di pesbuk, loh Om. Iya pesbuk. Keren kan? *brb vomit*

  9. HΔ±mm, Only poor in hijabi woman in your country?

    • Nope. It refers to the tradition among the very rich Muslims to give alms in Eid El Fitri in Indonesia for the poor (usually also Muslims) and those who arrive for the alms areusually women. Thus Haryadhi pictured them in hijabs.

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