Meet the Comic Creators who Draw Local War Heroes

There are many ways through which one can commemorate or remember an individual who has made a significant impact in our community or lives, and the comic book is a compelling medium for the retelling of such stories. Singaporean comic creators Zaki Ragman and Danny Jalil have done just that.

For last decade, Ragman and Jalil have established their careers as professional creators in Singapore, working with various artistic mediums in a range of fields of expertise.

Zaki Ragman, profile picture illustrated by the artist

Zaki Ragman is a contemporary artist with roots in the animation industry. He enjoys sharing and developing new creative ideas with fellow artists, and also plays the electric guitar as a hobby. The artist hopes to deliver and instill a sense of hope in his audience, encouraging us to cultivate a spirit of perseverance and determination in the midst of any bleak situation.

Danny Jalil is a writer who has created numerous short stories and literary scripts. Recently, he published his very own young adult novel The Machine Boy. Jalil also dabbles in digital art, archiving an amazing collection of mash-ups in his personal blog and portfolio. To help in the visualisation process and worldbuilding of his novels, he would draw concept art for them.

In their graphic novel Elizabeth Choy: Her Story, Ragman and Jalil present us with a comic adaptation of the life story of war heroine Elizabeth Choy Su-Moi. Elizabeth Choy is a Singaporean war heroine who generously served and bravely fought for her local community, as well as prisoners-of-war during the Japanese occupation in World War II. Choy later was imprisoned by the Japanese soldiers, where she made to endure horrific tortures.

Their visual and literary rendition shares the experiences of Elizabeth Choy and how she had survived through the darkest of times during the Japanese occupation of Singapore. Through a compelling narrative and vivid illustrations, creators Jalil and Ragman have brought Choy’s story to life in a gripping and engaging manner, while honouring her achievements as a local community leader and heroine.

Scene from Elizabeth Choy: Her Story graphic novel

In adapting Elizabeth Choy’s story, Jalil was highly inspired by Choy’s embodiment of the Singapore spirit. Choy displayed respect to different cultures, embodying the values of acceptance and empathy towards individuals from different backgrounds.

The story of Elizabeth Choy was not their first collaborative piece. Prior to Elizabeth Choy: Her Story, Ragman and Jalil had created another graphic novel, Lieutenant Adnan and The Last Regiment.

In Lieutenant Adnan and The Last Regiment, Ragman and Jalil recount the life story of Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi in a comic adaptation. Lieutenant Adnan was a soldier who fought valiantly in the Malay Regiment to defend Singapore during the Japanese invasion in World War II. Despite being the last line of defence for the nation and even experiencing the unimaginable tortures upon enemy capture, he and his regiment stood their ground.

Based on accounts narrated by Lieutenant Adnan’s son, Mokhtar, Ragman and Jalil had captured the tenacity of Lieutenant Adnan’s character with their artwork and storytelling, as well as portrayed the protagonist as the family-man he was, behind his role as a soldier.

Elizabeth Choy: Her Story and Lieutenant Adnan and The Last Regiment are available for purchase and international shipping on the Asiapac Books webstore.

Established in 1983, Asiapac Books is Singapore’s leading independent publisher of comics and illustrated books designed to enhance lifelong learning.

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