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Chinesese comics(manhua) + Taiwan and Hong Kong
Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:05 PM
For about a year now I have been exploring the world of manhua, i.e. comics in Chinese. Now, the common perception is that the Sinosphere lacks its own comic scene, and it is true that a Chinese learner is likely to despair when trying to find some original works in Chinese to practice the language. I have, however, come across a fairly diverse collection of comics, more than enough to interest a language learner. The Chinese-language comic scene is certainly much smaller to the Japanese one, and perhaps to the Korean one as well, but it does have real gems that are worthy of sharing. Most of the works that I have discovered are barely known outside of the Chinese-speaking world, but this does not mean that they do not deserve more international fame.
So I decided to make a thread where I can recommend good Manhuas I have read, from Mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. Of course, feel free to add any works that you would like to share.
Just one remark: I won't add scan or scanlation links. I can't stop you, obviously, from finding them out on your own, but I just want to say that it would be actually better to purchase paper copies of the book if you want to practice your Chinese. The reason why the Manhua industry is so small compared to Manga industry is not because it lacks talented artists but because there are so few Chinese actually buying them instead of reading on the web. Most books from China are dirt cheap, so there's no reason not to buy them. And I can confirm that having a real book helps me learn the language much better than reading on the web, since I read it again and again from my bookshelf.
Where to buy?
For Mainland manhua. Ships overseas. The problem is that you can't always find what you want.
You can find almost anything, but if you don't live in China, you can't purchase directly and have to use one of the Taobao agents which are plenty on the web. It's still pretty cheap though. Since it's like the Chinese Ebay, you have to be careful to deal with only safe dealers, preferably from the original publisher's shop.
For HK/Taiwan comics. They ship overseas but only use DHL.
Good for both Mainland and Taiwanese comics, if you can find them. The prices are higher though.
Who are the publishers?
Manyou(漫友) is one of the leading comic publishers in Mainland. Here you will find dozens of qualiy Mainland manhuas.
Longman(龍漫), also a mainland publisher focusing on Shonen.
Tongli(東立, Dongli) is a Hong Kong-Taiwanese publishers, publishing primarily Chinese translations of Japanese manga but also some of the finest original works, such as the Ravages of Time.
Xiao Pan is a French publisher of Chinese manhua, and not just French translations: many of their works have never been published in China and they are "originally" in French, some being even "re-introduced" in China afterwards. Perhaps not so pertinent to learning Chinese, but you can check out some good Chinese artists.
Are there any webcomics sites?
Zhongheng Dongman(縱橫動漫) is a large mainland webcomic site.
QQ.com's original comic collections.
Weicomic is a Taiwanese webcomic site that also publishes paper Manhua.
Comicomi is Taiwanese and several of its webcomics are also published.
Comicstar is Taiwanese and run by the publisher 尖端出版.
Where to find more information?
An excellent blog on Mainland comics. I got most of my information here as well.
Baidu Baike, the "Baidu-pedia." Don't rely too much on Wikipedia when it comes to mainland Manhua; many famous Manhuas don't even have their WP pages. You're much likely to find more detailed information on them on Baidu.
Taiwanese government opened up a website dedicated to Taiwanese comics.
A Taiwanese imageboard with high densiity of Otakus. You can find here a lot of information about Taiwanese fanzine comics
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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:15 PM
黑白无双(heibaiwushuang; Black and White Warriors.)
On ongoing series from 2006 by 于彥舒(Yu Yanshu), presently 12 volumes, published from 漫友(Manyou, Comicfans)
The story is based on Chinese Death Gods, originally Heibaiwuchang(黑白无常).
It's a typical Shonen; the story is nothing special, but the action scenes are pretty good. It's quite rare for Chinese comics to reach more than ten volumes, so it seems that the Manhua is pretty popular.
Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:32 PM
Creative Comic Collection
An excellent magazine, primarily comics, that portrays the diverse aspects of Taiwan, such as its history, culture, flora and fauna. Most of Taiwan's talented artists are contributing to this magazine, and it seems that it's quite popular; from what I've heard, recent sales were only second to One Piece.
The project is funded by the government, it seems. It started in 2010 and went commercial in 2011. It is a seasonal magazine published four times a year, and the 8th issue(4th commercial issue) was released just two weeks ago. A must buy for not just Manhua fans but all those who are interested in Taiwanese culture.
More information and excerpts here:
Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:45 PM
Ark Saga (方舟奇航 fangzhuo qihang)
An amusing single-volume Manhua about a girl and a boy who had to leave Earth, no longer inhabitable due to climate change, and arrived in a faraway alien planet to populate it with humans. The artist Ponjea(彭傑, pengjie) is one of the most famous Taiwanese artists, and he is the only foreign artist to have drawn for the famous Japanese weekly magazine Shonen-Jump.
The volume also includes a short story that was published in CCC, which is about a wheelchair race of Southeast Asian maids. (Sounds weird, but it's great).
The publisher, Friendly Land(友善出版) has upload the first part of the book for promotion.
Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:07 PM
Changdiji(創帝紀, Chronicle of the Making of an Emperor)
An ongoing series, currently four-volumes, by 孫威軍(Sun Wei-jun in Mandarin), published by Tongli(東立, Dongli) in the same magazine as "The Ravages of Time." The story takes place during the Warring States period around the young future Shi-huangdi, protected by a mysterious blond warrior from the Roman empire.
Of course it's not your typical history documentary, it has a lot of fictional imaginations mixed into it which makes it all the more interesting. And while the cover art is not that great, the artwork is simply excellent. Sun is undoubtedly one of the best authors of the Sinosphere.
The manhua is published simultaneously in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and just like many books from HK, it's in standard Chinese that is identical to Mandarin(in traditional Characters), so you don't have to speak Cantonese to be able to read it.
Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:29 PM
Tai-one National University Nude Art Club(台大裸體藝術社 taida luoti yishu she)
A wacky Taiwanese single-volume collection of comic strips by Heyaxi(哈亞西), published just a month ago from Weicomic. It's about a mysterious, perverted club in the famous elite university of National Taiwan(Tai-One in this comic) University. It's not so erotic but rather humerous, and has many Taiwanese inside-jokes and memes, especially those related to Otaku culture. But even if you are not aware of these inside jokes, it's still an entertaining read. More information here. Also available on Ipad.
Curiously enough, it has been on the news lately.
Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:07 AM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:13 AM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:35 AM
A four-volume story of two Taiwanese death gods, from the author Sally. Although based on roughly the same mythology as 黑白无双, the story is quite different; it is not a Shonen but rather a realistic, touching story that focuses on human drama. Personally I find the artwork beautiful.
The comic was initially run on Comicomi, and most chapters can be still read for free online here, among other works from Sally. One of my favorite episodes is this: http://www.comibook.com/cb282
Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:36 AM
but it would be nice to have some direct links to sample pages. I think most people wouldn't purchase a foreign language book without knowing what level of language is used within the book.
I will post sample pages if the publisher revealed them on the web; if not, you can see plenty of sample pages by googling the title or baidu-ing it.
For the level of language, none of them are so hard to read, except for maybe history-related works such as Changdiji; it's certainly easier to read than newspapers or novels because the art gives you much more context.
Hope this helps.
Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:46 AM
4-volumes and ongoing, by Changsheng(常勝) from Tongli publishing. A post-apocalyptic action thriller, its main character being a former police officer infected with a mysterious parasite called "Baby" which gives her supernatural powers. Not that much novelty can be found, but the artwork is pretty good and realistic.
Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:54 AM
幻鏡少女ALICE(Huanjing Shaonü Alice)
A single volume comic from Han Baobao(漢寶包) who happens to be one of my favorite Taiwanese artists. It's about grown-up Alice who goes back to Wonderland to save it from mysterious robot army of the Oz empire, with magic mushrooms that turn her into a giant and armed with electric chainsaws. Good sense of humour with a nice plot. I wanted to purchase Han Baobao's other works but unfortunately they were sold out; you can see more of his works in CCC issues mentioned above.
Posted 07 January 2012 - 01:03 AM
Posted 07 January 2012 - 07:45 PM
It's somewhat difficult because there are historic stuff related, but I find it less difficult to read than ROT, mainly because there are more comic/fantastic factors going on.
How's the story and difficulty in 創帝紀 (if I consider Ravages of Time more difficult than the newspapers)?
You could also check out Sun Weijun's other works such as 繪戰師(which was much easier) or 小宇宙啟動(which I didn't read yet).
Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:23 PM
一九四五 夏末(1945 End of Summer)
A single-volume comic by BARZ. The story takes place in the last year of Japanese colonial era of Taiwan, between two sisters which the elder was adopted by a richer family and went to Japan to study medicine.
All of the manhua except for the last episode was posted on Comicomi and can be read here.
The book has some slight modifications of texts. It is also quite big(B5 format).
A touching piece which not only offers insight to the Taiwanese society under Japanese rule but also invites to think about home and family.
Posted 16 January 2012 - 04:22 AM
This place has a lot of comics as well.
Anyway, my only problem with the manhua you have is just that most of the art style is way to Japanese for my taste. I have nothing wrong with that art style, but as soon as I see a Chinese comic drawn like that, I tend to keep away.
The 一九四五 夏末 looks good though, i think I will check that one out.
Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:54 PM
邻居家是画漫画的阿幺 (linjujia shi huamanhua de ayao: The comic-drawing Ayao lives next door)
An amusing comic strip collection by LING from Manyou. It's about a teenage comic artist Ayao who draws girly comics but actually like BL comics(Boys Love: male homosexual romance) which she draws and publishes in secret, which is revealed to her handsome classmate who is a fan of her girly comics but abhors BL. It's an entertaining little read with cute character plots. You will like it if you liked manga such as Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh, etc. The book is quite small but is in full color. Some sample pages here.
Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:58 PM
Surprised you don't have anything by 蔡志忠 . He is prob the most famous of chinese comic artist.
Good suggestion, I like 蔡志忠 too. He is the first Chinese(Taiwanese) artist that I have read. He is so classic and one of the very few manhuajias to be known around the world that I didn't mention him, but I will introduce some of his many works that I have liked.
Great information, I have added it to the original post.
This place has a lot of comics as well.
Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:47 PM
One other question, is there a way to say yaoyi/bl in chinese that is commonly used?
Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:49 PM
I don't know any BL comics(there would be plenty, surely) but recently I've seen a PV of a Chinese BL animation.
Do you know of any Chinese/Taiwanese BL/Yaoyi?
The title is 弦月梦影.
It's rare to see Chinese Anime of good quality, so it's fairly interesting to have a look.
I think it would be too Japanese for your taste though.
I think they just say "BL." There must be alternative words but I'm not aware of them.
One other question, is there a way to say yaoyi/bl in chinese that is commonly used?
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