|Earliest publications||c. 1932|
Thai comics are comics written and produced in Thailand.
According to Thai media historian Anake Nawigamune, the first example of Siamese comics art was published around 1906 in an issue of Samran Wittaya [Enjoyable Knowledge], a publication founded by British-educated Kru Liam. The graphic sequence composed of two drawings depicting a conflict between a Chinese pork seller and a dog, illustrated by a short riddle in a form of a poem. Nawigamune also mentions the publication in Chotmai Het Saeng Arun [Chronicles of the Dawn] in 1907 of a woodcut cartoon (strip) with accompanying verse. The first woodcut strip to appear in Chotmai Het Saeng Arun [volume 13, issue 5] is composed of four panels depicting a daring photographer ingeniously escaping the attack of a lion wearing a royal cloak with ermin-embroidered edge. The sequence is accompanied with a single sentence. Various other four-to-six-panel woodcut comic strips were printed later the same year in other issues of Chotmai Het Saeng Arun published by the Wattana Wittaya school [under the name Maek Esian Wattana Wittaya]. The identity of the artist (or artists) of these woodcut strips remains unknown and each short sequence of silent panels accompanies a poem.
The artistic roots of Thai comics can be found in paintings of local ghosts based on stories of Thai folklore, appearing during the reign of King Nangklao in the early 19th century.
In 1910, King Vajiravudh created the first Thai cartoons, after being introduced to British political cartoons during his education at Oxford University. After the Siamese Revolution of 1932, the first proper comic strips were created by Sawat Chutarop, including Sang Thong and Khun Maun, based on Popeye and Mickey Mouse. In 1952, Pimol Kalasee created the first comic aimed at children, Tuk Ka Ta.
Cartoons written in Thailand were strongly restricted during World War II, when Thailand's governance system became a constitutional monarchy. However, during this time cartoons were also used to disseminate propaganda.
The 1950s has been described as "the golden age of Thai cartoons", with the creation of new characters and a marked increase in publishing.
During the 21st century, several new comics have been created and inspired by Japanese manga including Apaimanee Saga, the first Thai comic that was translated into foreign languages.