Manhua, the original Manga. The ladies of Taiwan-A Creative Force.

I thought we would go to Taiwan today. One of the great things about this project of around the world in Graphic Literature is discovering the terms used for the medium. I call it Graphic Literature and comic books at times. I use Graphic Literature to explain what comic books mean to me. They aren’t simply funny books or superhero books. With award winning authors scripting the books, there is more to them than many, most people think.

In Taiwan comics are called manhua, meaning impromptu sketches. The term began in 18th century China and later was called manga in early 19th century Japan.

One thing I’ve discovered while researching for this is that the art is not always the stereotypical art we in America think of as manga. To me, I think what makes manhua or manga or books that is, fit into those two words is the life the art takes on. You can look at a picture and see movement even in a person standing still. No, it’s not evident in every picture but that’s what I see in most.

Another thing is that unlike American comics, manhua and even manga isn’t all about superhero antics. Most are about life, about normal people put in extraordinary situations or even basically a TV show in Graphic Literature form.  If it happens in life, it happens in manhua. That’s one thing about manhua and manga and even many European countries, the comic is an art form, not a children’s entertainment. The adults realize the importance of creativity and art.

Today won’t have a lot of background content of the authors and creators as there is a language barrier that I don’t have the time at the moment to work on. But I do have plans for detailed articles around the world and a site to go with them. When that time comes, it will have more to share.

But let’s look at the industry itself now. Big problem. Japan. It’s easier to bring in Japanese manga. For years Manga was pirated in with language changed and some extra art over nude areas added. Then pirating was made illegal in Taiwan and enforced. There is still the problem of creating a strong local industry when it is so easy to import. This forced the king of pirating, Tongli Comics to go legit and create original work as well as obtaining legal rights to import and distribute Japanese manga.

I’ll give a quick list of some Tongli artists/creators.

Beginning with some female creators:

Lai Ann.

lai ann

 

Nicky Lee/Li Chung Ping

Nicky Lee is what one would call the Fashion Manhua queen I suppose. Her books tend toward that look and are done quite well. She has a huge following.

nickylee

nicky lee The One
Nicky and a young fan.
theone
The One. Or at least a panel of an issue.

 

Jo Chen

I’m putting a few more images here because, well, AWESOME. Why? American connections to some geekdom moments for me. You’ve got Buffy the Vampire Slayer cover art, Robotech, to me the best ever. Yes, I’ve got all threes series on DVD. Don’t hate me because I get my geek on. And Racer X of Speed Racer fame.

You really have to have the desire to be a storyteller to be a comic book artist. The desire to draw cartoons or superheroes isn’t enough. In fact, the skill to draw is almost secondary. You must first want to tell stories. Once I started down that path, there was no looking back. I was hooked.”~Jo Chen

jochen2jobuffy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robotech
Robotech
Racer X
Racer X

I-Huan

rfp

Some of the artwork and titles.

knight-princess
Knight Princess
enchanted
AKRU-Enchanted Tale of Formosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll leave it at that for today. I  have obviously missed out on the very important manhua in Taiwan’s history but like I said, I will be devoting more time to it.

 

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1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhua

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tong_Li_Publishing

3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lai_Ann

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicky_Lee

5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo_Chen

6 http://jo-chen.com/engpage/interview_fandom.htm

7  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Huan

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Batman to Deadpool to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Romanian Connection

Today’s walk into Graphic Literature will be a simple one. A retrospective about one man and it will be short. We’re headed to Romania. No fluff, let’s get to it.

Sandu galbarFlorea (1946-).1 His career goes back to 1968 with a children’s magazine Luminiţa and a series, Păcală.

Perhaps what is truly his moment in Romanian comics’ history comes in 1973 with Galbar. This is thought to be the first science fiction comic book in Romania. Considering all the art I’ve seen while researching for this article that’s saying a lot.

He wasn’t simply a science fiction guy. Part of his large catalog in Romania is the retelling of Romanian history through Graphic Literature, winning a Eurocon, science fiction convention, award in 1980.

Problems began for him in communist Romania when in around 1984 he requested to leave for the United States where his two brothers were living. His right to publish was revoked and he had to use pen names to work. After the 1989 revolution, he returned under his own name.

Not long after we find him in New York. And soon after he was inking comics for Marvel Comics such as Conan, Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, and many others.  What’s an inker? You have an artist/drawer/penciler who draws the books, then the inker goes over those lines to make them look finished and polished and so the printing can actually pick up the images. He even did work at DC on the characters Superman and Batman. Some might be surprised to hear he also worked on two books for Dark Horse Comics called Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

When asked what has been his favorite title or character to work on Florea did not hesitate to say Batman, having worked on Batman R.I.P. and other stories. This according to an interview at the 2011 New York City Comic Con.2

And he’s still going strong today.

conan
He gave samples for Conan to Marvel because he thought it was the best suited for him. No super powers. Sword wielding and battles. He had done that sort of thing before.
batman
Notice without the proper inking over the lines and given the right shading, you would not even see much to this scene. It has been noted an inker can make or break a comic.
super-wonder
I’ve spoken of this scene previously. And I had no idea Florea inked it.
deathstroke
Serious DC Comics fans should be geeking now. Deathstroke. He’s been around a long time and is one of my favorite DC characters, depending on which version DC lets him be this year.
deadpool
Yep, giving you some Marvel loving with Florea’s inking on Deadpool. With the upcoming movie, I couldn’t resist.
buffy6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Do I have this issue? Probably. I think I have them all. Don’t ask. I have no idea why.
buffy-spike
I had to give some Buffy and Spike fans a little taste. I couldn’t share the other two I found. I think this one should explain the others.

That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed.

 

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References
1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandu_Florea
2 http://reviewfix.com/2011/10/review-fix-2011-new-york-city-comic-con-coverage-interview-with-batman-inker-sandu-florea/