SOUND: A Comics Anthology

About the book

Available in bookstores in Singapore and Malaysia!

Traffic. A crunchy snack. An argument. What does sound look like to you?

Difference Engine is proud to present our first comics anthology, SOUND: A Comics Anthology. Writers and illustrators from all around Southeast Asia were challenged to push the boundaries of depicting the unseen through the medium of visuals and words, while telling stories important to them. 

Guest editors Budjette Tan and Charis Loke have put together an intriguing list of stories that showcase the creativity of creators across Southeast Asia—both familiar and new names. In a broad range of genres and topics, this collection of stories is an exciting exploration of what the comics medium is capable of.

Head to this accompanying microsite to find out more about the creators’ thought process!

Why read this book?

• Diverse stories created by Southeast Asian writers and illustrators inspired by and set in recognisable places around the region.

• Compelling narratives that span personal stories and universal themes selected by veteran comic book editors.

• A wide range of art styles and genres to cater to a broad range of readers’ tastes. A great read for locals and anyone interested in Southeast Asia.

Creative Teams

• Folk (Paolo Chikiamco & Borg Sinaban)

• The Whispers of the Earth (Amahl S. Azwar & Nadiyah Rizki)

• Hokkien for Beginners (Nicolette Lee)

• Bonus Points (Benjamin Chee)

• Voices and Votes (Ruth Chris De Vera & Rafael Romeo Magat)

• ON : OFF (Xie Shi Min, Richard Phua, & Xiao Yan)

• Out of Sight (Jingwei Wong & Soefara Jafney)

• The Cat Who Barks (Bryan Arfiandy)

• Blabber (Bonni Rambatan)

• Softly, Sayang (Sharon Bong & Leong Yi Zhen)

• Road Trip Radio (Cathlyn Vania)

• Signals (Farid Nad)

• A Call (Nadhir Nor)

PRAISE FOR SOUND: A Comics Anthology 

“Sound as creatures slithering through doors, as the melodious voice of a street vendor, as the smudged words of a speech bubble, as a cat that woofs instead of meows. These writers have used sound in myriad ways, creating stories that make themselves heard.”

—Tania De Rozario, author of And The Walls Come Crumbling Down

SOUND is a collection of 13 stories by writers and illustrators from all over Southeast Asia. This is a much more revolutionary sentence than it seems at first glance. Because those of us who grew up in this region know the difficulty in finding representation in the media we consume, the happiness when we discover kernels of ourselves in the pages, the frustration and disappointment when we don’t, or worse — when we’re misrepresented instead, our culture mere costumes for others to profit from.

SOUND then is, for this Malaysian author, nothing less than an exhilarating experience. What joy, to see people who look like me and talk like me; what a thrill, to see the details in the backgrounds of not only the stories authored by fellow Malaysians, but others too, a testament to our shared SEA heritage. Here are our delights and our sorrows, our monsters and our mistakes, our families and our love. Some stories are happy, some are sad, and some are mere vignettes of lives that I wish I could see more of, but all have their own heft and weight and the art throughout is satisfyingly gorgeous. SOUND is just a small sample of the huge amount of talent here in Southeast Asia; if you have not heard us before, I hope you will hear us now.”

—Hanna Alkaf, author of The Weight of Our Sky

“An impressive collection of diverse, wildly talented Southeast Asian comics talent. Each and everyone of them has stretched the format of the medium, opening readers’ minds to new concepts of sound.”

—Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, author of The Infinite Library and Other Stories

“It is a known fact in the industry that comics anthologies do not sell well. But they play an important role in showcasing new and not-so-new talents and bringing different writers and artists together. Kudos to Difference Engine and the editorsSOUND is the shot in the arm Southeast Asian comics need.”

CT Lim, country editor (Singapore) of the International Journal of Comic Art

“This medley of lovingly crafted comics—fantastical, social realist and confessional—have plenty more in common than their unifying theme of sound. They’re also tales of loss, with characters struggling in the midst of broken families, forgotten traditions, failed belief systems and governments. They represent the collective spirit of young Southeast Asia—a generation, caught between a colourful past and an uncertain future, drawing themselves together, finding their voices.”

Ng Yi-Sheng, author of Lion City

Charis Loke
Charis Loke


Charis is an illustrator and educator based in Penang, Malaysia. Her work draws upon literature and visual culture, exploring both real and fictional worlds. She is the Comics & Illustrations Editor at New Naratif and a committee member of Arts-ED, where she works on community-based arts and culture education for youth.

Budjette Tan
Budjette Tan


Budjette grew up in a haunted house and was told to sleep early because there were aswang flying outside his bedroom window. These stories inspired him to write the comic book TRESE, which he co-created with artist Kajo Baldisimo. TRESE will soon be adapted into a Netflix anime series.

SOUND Microsite
SOUND Microsite

Hear from the creators as they speak more about their thought processes! Visit:

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