An Indonesian hand in world of superheroes

An Indonesian hand in world of superheroes

Gotham City could not be farther removed from the quiet village of Tenggur in East Java.

But the two are inextricably linked.

The connection is revealed when an Earth-like planet explodes due to mounting internal pressure from its core, after superhero character Tomar-Re fails to absorb the excessive pressure in order to prevent the catastrophe.

The debris from planet Korugar's explosion flies in all directions, and a major chunk shatters into a dotted formation of big and small islands not unlike the Indonesian archipelago.

The link makes perfect sense, for this scene from the latest Green Lantern comic - out this month - is drawn by up-and-coming Indonesian illustrator Ardian Syaf, 33, who has also done work for the Batman and Superman series for DC Comics in the United States.

The man who has hardly left his hometown is the first Indonesian to do such extensive comic drawings in a world-renowned comic series.

"I read Batman and Superman comics when I was young, but never imagined I would one day draw these comics myself," Mr Ardian told The Straits Times.

His pencil renderings of such cosmic explosions and adventures in Gotham City are all done in a room that doubles as a makeshift studio in Tenggur.

He mostly does pencil work and covers of these comics.

But he has deftly asserted his own style while drawing to a storyline provided by DC Comics. In some of his drawings, Mr Ardian throws in unique touches like a skull wearing a blangkon, a traditional Javanese headdress made of batik fabric.

A banner advertising the popular Mr Joko Widodo, who was elected governor of Jakarta last September, and the city's iconic national monument, Monas, feature when superhero characters visit a place called Little Jakarta.

His previous works range from Superman/Batman volumes 68 to 71, which he did between January and March 2010, to Flashpoint Emperor Aquaman volumes one to three in mid-2011.

Mr Ardian is one of a number of creative young artists putting Indonesia on the world map in their own subtle ways.

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