The Bristol Manga Festival has been combined with the Comic Expo to make one of the best events in
Europe. So,if you are eagerly awaiting the 2009 International Comic Expo and all its Manga events,but don’t know too much about Manga,Manhwa or Manhua here’s an up-dated intro to the subject. Manhua is the Chinese word for comics. The character used are the basis of the characters used in both Manwha [Korean for comics] and Manga,the Japanese for comics.There is a certain annoyance amongst some fans of the medium that three terms are being used to designate which comic comes from where. This seems more than a little odd but there are all sorts on the internet!
Wendy Siuyi Wong,in her fabulous book,HONG KONG COMICS:A HISTORY OF MANHUA [Princeton Architectural Press,2003],has divided Manhua into four categories:  Satirical & Political  Comical
 Childrens [adaption of ancient Chinese legends,etc.]The term Lianhuantu will also be encountered when looking into the subject.
Lianhuantu is a traditional illustrated story book consisting,usually,of full page illoes with captions but no word balloons.Korean Manwha tend to be read left to right as per in the West. There is less focus on big eyes and more on expression and personality.
The spikey hair of Manga is replaced also for a more natural look. Characters don’t usually possess magical powers but are instead fierce fighters -far more human.
The Korean Manwha I have seen [black and white samples] tend to use more ink spattering and other techniques -rather like old UK b&w comics.Both Korean ,and especially the Hong Kong Chinese creators,have been influenced by Japanese Manga as they grew up. Therefore,strong Manga influences are evident.However,it is only when you look at a selection of Manwha,Manhua and Manga that you begin to spot the real differences and how unique each can be.
In 2003 there were more than forty locally produced titles in HK -excluding Japanese material.
The foundations for the development of Manhua as an artform,according to Wendy Siuyi Wong,came in the 1920s. The word “Manhua” got more widely used after the famous writer Feng Zi-Kai published his very first collection of cartoons,Zi-Kai Manhua,in 1925.Feng’s fame drew attention to his use of the phrase “Zi-Kai Manhua” and it was soon in common use,associating his art style with Japanese Manga.
[below:FENG ZI-KAI’S “ZI-KAI MANHUA”,1925]
It would be near to impossible to try to show the wide variety ofHong Kong comics,past and present,on this site. There are so many!
The best I can do is advise anyone interested to purchase a copy of Siuyi Wong’s book -you may find a cheap copy on e-bay. The Yahoo discussion group is intended to at least give those interested some idea of what is out there and its not all DC or Marvel comics.
YAO TING -Chinese Manhua Star Yao Ting  is such a comic star in China that it is not unknown for him to be stopped by fans for his autograph. Yet,outside of the Chinese speaking world,I doubt there are many who have heard of him or seen his work.He is one of a number of very vocal Chinese comic creators who have definite views on the state of Chinese comics and its future.
Yao Ting believes that “many Chinese comics have no real soul and just imitate comics from other countries,but people like me,we really think that our own Chinese heritage is most precious.”
Yao further told the Times:“My ambition,my dream,is to grasp the essence of ancient Chinese history,culture and thought and bring it to the world.”For inspiration,
Yao looks at the classic dynastic histories and popular pre modern era novels.Although I have been looking for some months now,I have been unable to track down
Yao’s publisher or more samples of his work.If anyone viewing this site can guide me in the right direction it would be appreciated. Maybe along the way we can also see the work of other contemporary Chinese comic artists.
While on the new sadly defunct singaporecomicsonline site,a member [”poopoo”] referred to a Singapore super hero comic of circa 1986 -this date may not be 100% kosher.The comic was CAPTAIN V!
CAPTAIN V was the “scientific experiment” of DR EVIL and at the time he was working for the Singapore Police Force. The good Captain was super fast [but not Flash standard fast?],very strong and bullet proof thanks to his costume.
As is allways the case,Dr Evil had an hidden agenda and went into hiding with his “experimental formulas” [so we assume CAPTAIN V was the human result of scientific enhancement]. Obviously,this could not be allowed and so Captain V was assigned the task of stopping his mentor.
Thanks to “poopoo” I have two cover scans of CAPTAIN V and a rough guide to the two stories.
ENTER THE CAT! The Cat,alter ego unknown,was a poor man whose family and acquaintances looked down at him because of this. His girlfriend’s father also objected to him because he was poor;although facing many problems,his girlfriend loved him and financial difficulties meant nothing to her [aaaah,true love!]. While taking his girlfriend home there was an accident and she died instantly.From this moment on the poor man began to act eccentrically;he stole money from rich people while disguised as The Cat and handed it out to the good,poor people.
Obviously,the law was not going to allow this! One day The Cat was confronted by Captain V but the pursuit was temporarily stopped when the Singaporean ‘Robin Hood’ threw his “Cat-o-nine tails” [a bolas type weapon] and Captain V got caught up in this….But,as far as I am aware,the Cat was never caught -it was an on-off chase type scenario.
CAPTAIN V VS CAPTAIN V!!!
Well,Dr Evil was bound to cause problems sooner or later and he created a very major problem for the good Captain in #3!Dr Evil created a Captain V clone -but one much stronger!
Imagine the shock of Singaporean citizens when,without warning,the upholder of justice is seen robbing a goldsmith and jeweller -and then escaping at incredible speed.The national hero has betrayed justice:Captain V is a wanted man!
Don’t panic! One day,while committing a robbery the double Captain V is confronted by the real hero! A battle ensues and,I assume,the villain is defeated!If anyone can provide more information,better scans or has copies for sale -get in touch!
I think that it must have been around 1988 that I was at a Westminster [London] Comic Mart. I was looking around at tables trying to spot anything interesting when I saw a rather thick,glossy covered comic the style of which stood out from amongst the Marvel and DCs.
“Tony Wong Presents” was what it said and looking at the company logo was amazed. This was a Hong Kong comic -a
Hong Kong Kung fu comic!The company was JADEMAN and how they suddenly appeared on the scene I have no idea. There seemed to be no fore-warning.
There must have been quite some planning,however;the cover prices were:-
USA -$1.95CAN -.50
UK -$1.30[ or £1.30]The comics seemed to just suddenly start and end,presumably being from much longer HK comics? What you got tended to be 60 pages of all out fighting in full colour!
The titles ranged from THE BLOOD SWORD,ORIENTAL HEROES,DRUNKEN FIST TO BUDDHA’S PALM.
I got hooked,though many of the comics have,shall we say,’vanished’ over the interceding years.Many comic fans I knew could not work out why I was buying Marvel,DC,First and these
Above Tony Wong Studios BATMAN
Why can’t someone read American comics and Chinese comics? The only reason has to be lack of love in discovering something different! Perhaps now,twenty years on,with rising UK Manga stars,and the internet [not to mention the first English language Yahoo group on the subject as well as the first web site,Chinese Manhua has arrived?
Ahh,below:a major hit -YOUTH GONE WILD!
And there are,of course,superb British Manga creators such as Sonia Leong,Emma Vieceli,Yishan Li,Morage Lewis -many of them interviewed here at CBO -I include here Willie Hewes for her style and flare! Sweatdrop Studios has done a great deal to help create and promote this new breed of creators.
Apart from the Chinese Comics Group on yahoo there is,in Links,Hobbyhypekingdom. There are also my two web sites -both currently UNDERGOING MAINTENANCE:
And CBO,of course! So keep stopping by for reviews,interviews,previews and more!
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