Celebrating Cambodian Creator Séra
With comics being created throughout the world, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the medium’s best talents. The lack of recognition for Séra, the French-based cartoonist who’s created a collection of graphic novels sketching out tales of the Khmer Rouge.
Like Art Spiegelman and Marjane Satrapi, to name two, Séra looks back on the ugly history of his native land and weaves it into comic book stories (he’s created 12 books). Séra (real name Ing Phouséra) was born in Cambodia and fled for France in 1975, just as Pol Pot took control of the country.
A recent article on TIME magazine’s Web site, takes a look at this largely unknown creator:
Séra started his first graphic novel about Cambodia, Impasse et Rouge — chronicling the years just before the Khmer Rouge — in 1987, five years before Art Spiegelman’s Maus would win a Pulitzer for its famous depiction of the Holocaust and demonstrate that gravitas and the graphic arts were not mutually exclusive. Impasse et Rouge wasn’t published for almost another 12 years. Although the following two titles about Cambodia, L’Eau et la Terre (2005) and Lendemains de cendres (2007), were picked up in fairly quick succession by the major French comic publisher Delcourt, Séra has still not had the international success that "serious" comic books artists like Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) have enjoyed. He teaches drawing by day and works as a night porter at a Paris hotel to get by.
I’ve looked to see if any of his books have been translated to English, but I haven’t found any so far.