Have You Seen These Spider-Men?
Origins of the Spider-Verse: Indonesia, 1969–1979
You may have heard of Mexico’s strange, alt-canonical Hombre Araña comics of the 1970s, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that, during the very same decade, Indonesian comic stalls were packed with off-model Spider-Clones of their own. Take a good look at the line-up below. Do any of these two dozen Spider-artist pairings look familiar?
Not super-likely! Unless you came of age in 1970s Jakarta, Indonesia’s superhero alt-canon was never so much as a rumor to Western fandom.
I come from the ’70s, but not from Jakarta. So it wasn’t until very recently that I noticed the Indonesia-shaped crack in the Marvel multiverse–mid-2018 to be exact, when I first hearted the comic book page below on a Captain America Tumblr.
A less mindful Marvelite might blink and miss it, but the splash page pictured above does not, in fact, faithfully reproduce Jim Steranko’s iconic story-opener from Captain America #110. A side-by-side comparison illuminates what this Steranko nerd grasped in an instant:
As you can see, the Indonesian edition is neither a photo-stat nor a tracing but a freehand recreation, not just translated but redrawn entirely.
Such a “dirty Steranko” would’ve shook up my want-list any year of my life, but in 2018 it busted in like the Kool-Aid Man.
Ever the playful front-end developer, just right then I also was taking liberties with Steranko’s late-’60s layouts, which I’d been tickled to discover existed in wide contemporary translation.
Alas, by the time I managed to track down my own scanning copy of Serial Kapten Amerika, I wasn’t really obsessing over MorphSVG-driven transitions anymore.
But my quest for Komplotan Hydra opened my eyes to the bigger picture. I discovered that there’s more to Bronze Age Indonesian comic history than freehand Steranko clones–there’s also Spider-clones.
Of course, Indonesian comics go much deeper than fake Spider-Men–or fake anything–but there’s only so much one can cram into a single Medium article.
So be patient while I get another spreadsheet ready to share–or be impatient, drill into the links below and commence digging your own cross-dimensional treasure.
Essential overview of “apocryphal” Marvel history, published by Italian comics scholars in early 2020, perfectly intelligible in auto-translation:
Storia dei fumetti Marvel non prodotti dalla Marvel - Pagina 5 di 8 - Fumettologica
Team up e crossover dell'altro mondo Sempre in Indonesia, fra il 1969 e il 2013 lo sceneggiatore Kus Bram (scomparso…
My first major exposure to Indonesian comics was the Flickr pages of Komic Kazi, a father-son team from Brazil who really know how to collect international comics. Skye Ott, the son, spent a year on the ground gathering the set presented here:
Indonesia is home to some of the best comic artists in Global History, such as Hasmi, Kus Braum, Djoni Andrean and WID…
Ott also amassed a preposterous trove of original Indonesian comic art, with exhibition-ready overviews of the industry’s most iconic talents:
Indonesian comic collectors took to Facebook Groups for Buy/Sell/Trade quicker than many regional subcultures, accumulating searchable archive for years’ worth sales and scholarship:
Jual dan Lelang Komik Indonesia
Jual dan Lelang Komik Indonesia Barang lain yang diperbolehkan dijual disini : 1. Komik Indonesia. 2. Sket / Original…
Foreign Comic Collector Magazine, briefly a physical magazine, now the Facebook home of hardcore international comics collectors:
Foreign Comic Collector Magazine (Official Group)
This group is for foreign discussion, showcasing, buy, sell, or trade foreign comics or anything that you collect that…
One of many 2019 news items on the viral re-emergence of Mexico’s non-canonical Hombre Arana:
Should I be prototyping your tech? I’m looking for interesting Dev Rel assignments involving: GraphQL, headless CMS, cloud ML (CV/NLP), Gatsby/Django.