Recently, I have been working on a few projects to get Chinese comics published in English translation. It’s a tricky proposition, given the limited “brand name recognition” for manhua outside of China, in comparison to the much better known (and therefore more marketable) Japanese manga.
Cover to issue #43 of Comicfans’ weekly Comic World 漫畫世界, published September 26, 2014
The fact that so much contemporary manhua is visually indistinguishable from manga (cf. above) doesn’t help things, either, unless of course one is going after the manga demographic. So in large part my work with publishers so far has been to steer them towards Chinese comic book artists with more unique styles that touch on topics which would appeal to a more general comics reader.
It’s much easier said than done, however, since artists with more unique styles tend to also be iconoclasts in their storytelling as well. In this post I’m going to introduce some of the major players in the Chinese-language comics industry, and also talk a little about the economic side of making comics in mainland China and Hong Kong.1
Untitled comic by Yan Cong 煙囪 and Wen Ling 温凌 , published online April, 2015
- Taiwan is another area that deserves further study, although my preliminary research suggests that the Taiwanese market is more heavily influenced by Japanese comics than either the PRC or Hong Kong. [↩]