Susi Pudjiastuti immortalized in legendary manga Golgo 13, cementing her ‘coolest minister in ASEAN’ cred

Last week saw a huge controversy erupt after local comic book fans noticed Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf had clandestinely included references to the hardline movement against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in the pages of Marvel’s X-Men comic. Coincidentally, local fans noticed another reference to Indonesian politics in the pages of another foreign comic book last week, though this time the artist made it perfectly clear exactly who and what he was depicting – Indonesia’s minister of maritime affairs and fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti (aka “The Coolest Minister in ASEAN”), doing what she is most famous for: blowing up illegal fishing vessels caught in Indonesian waters.

Susi’s appearance in the December 13, 2016 issue of the legendary Japanese comic book Golgo 13 (which started in 1968 and has been written and drawn by creator Takao Saito ever since, making it the oldest manga still in continuous publication) was first noticed by Twitter user @IwanPalsu. Although the character is never specifically referred to as Susi, it is clear not just from the picture but also the story (which takes place in Indonesia and Timor-Leste) and dialogue that Saito is talking about our Susi.

In the panels above, the Susi character is being questioned by journalists asking about her plans to blow up fishing vessels from Vietnam and Malaysia. She says something to the effect of: “If you break the law (by illegally poaching fish), this is what happens.” Followed by the Japanese onomatopoeia words for “BOOM”.

Susi has made quite a reputation for herself, not just in Indonesia but around the region, for her battle to stop illegal fishing in Indonesian waters, which has involved the dramatic destruction of dozens of foreign fishing vessels caught in Indonesian waters.

Tapped by President Joko Widodo, Susi is a political outsider and a self-made businesswoman, having built her eponymous airline, Susi Air, from the ground up. Despite a few conservatives disapproving of her maverick image (much has been made about her smoking and tattoos), she has one of the highest approval ratings of any Indonesian government official and was declared the coolest minister in ASEAN (by us) after she posted these pictures of herself on her paddleboard recently.

Like most things, Susi took her appearance in Golgo 13 in stride, calling it “very interesting” and saying that she’d like to meet comic creator Saito during her next work visit to Japan. Hopefully, she’ll get her chance and we’ll see Susi team up with Saito’s super-assassin character at some point in the future – stranger things have happened.

 


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