comic art by Jan Mintaraga

Jan Mintaraga was born in Yogyakarta in 1941 and spent his first ten years in Central Java. He returned to Indonesia in 1962 and started studying at ASRI (The Indonesian Academy of Arts), which he did not finish. He also dropped out of ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) after only a few months of study. However, his drawings were favored by magazines and book publishers (PT Analisa, to mention one).

In 1965, he started to publish his first comic album, under the supervision of Kosasih and Ardisoma. After a number of trials, he chose to make teenage romance albums, and he was considered the most "westernised" comic artist. His style was deeply influenced by American comics and the stories were mostly adapted from comics that are published in western countries, whose culture attracted him. However, he wanted to picture the lifestyle of young people in Jakarta, especially those who belong to the high-income level of society. According to Mintaraga, picturing poverty is not relevant for a teenage romance, which has to be "romantic" and "easy".

Up to that moment, he had published more than 100 titles, but 'Sebuah Noda Hitam' was the one that put him on top. Publishing two albums per month, with payment around 60.000 Rupiah in average, Jan Mintaraga was at the height of his income and profession. It is most likely that he was the only comic artist who recognized western comics at that era, and the only one who had a moderate appreciation of comics and their opportunity to bloom in Indonesia. He was against pornography, while fighting for comic's mission as an "educator." Jan has also work closely with Eres publication.

Jan Mintaraga also applied himself to reviving the classic Javanese wayang legends in comic form, such as 'Jaka Tingkir', 'Ramayana', and 'Imperium Majapahit'. These comics have been printed in full color in several Indonesian magazines.

During the 1980s, cheap Japanese comic books took the Indonesian market and pushed out originally Indonesian comics. Jan Mintaraga gave up comics in 1989 to devote himself to painting, which he continued to do until his death of lung cancer in 1999.

comic art by Jan Mintaraga

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