Golden age

By Lu Qianwen Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-2 19:13:01

Domestic comics productions are breaking out

A Gui, the creator of Crazy! Kwai Boo, signs a comic for a fan during a fan meet in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, in March 2014. Photo: IC

Cover of Loong Treasure No.1 Photo: Courtesy of Xiron

Sweeping domestic bookshelves and online video sites over the past year, the chubby image of cartoon character Kwai Boo from the comic serial Crazy! Kwai Boo has become a rare locally produced figure loved by adults and children alike. Serving as the perfect bedtime treat for young readers to relieve stress, the character's use of humor to face difficulties made series creator A Gui the most popular cartoonist of 2014 in China.

The series has appeared more than twice on leading domestic publishing industry research institute Openbook's monthly list of best-selling fiction books last year. Additionally, a 3D film version of the cartoon is expected to hit theaters in August.

"I work at least 16 hours a day. Endurance is the most important quality for a cartoonist today," said A Gui. This intense work schedule has enabled the artist to produce 13 collections of his Crazy! Kwai Boo strips in just five years and bring an all new series Loong Treasure to readers. "I already have one child (Kwai Boo), why not give him more family?"

Creating two new characters as the leads, A Gui told the Global Times that he sees Loong Treasure as a more Chinese-styled comic, since the story incorporates a number of Chinese elements such as kung fu and traditional medicine.

"The setting for Loong Treasure is a coastal city with architecture that has a strong Chinese flavor. The lead character Princess Three embodies many of the qualities that I have looked up to since I was a child, such as getting excited about the search for a treasured book of secret kung fu techniques," A Gui said.

Falling in love with comics or cartoons about the search for secret kung fu books is quite common among children in China, especially boys. However, 10 years ago, before local creations took off, children could only choose from live action martial arts TV shows or foreign cartoons and comics.

Now, with the support of government policy and investment in the industry, local cartoonists like A Gui can finally fully focus on producing content that truly caters to the tastes of local readers.

"Although there are few barriers to understanding works from different countries, locally produced works might be more suited to the tastes of a majority of locals," said Zou Zhengyu, general manager of Tencent's Cartoon and Animation Department.

A leading Internet giant, Tencent has invested a great deal of money and effort into its cartoon and related products over the past few years. During its 2015 Interactive Entertainment press conference on Monday, Zou revealed that Tencent has signed more than 200 cartoon series and that the company seeks to fully support the medium at all levels, from guaranteeing a minimum standard of living to working with artists to develop TV or film adaptations of their work.

"This is a great time for local cartoon productions, not like before when we didn't have enough cartoonists. Now, there are many cartoonists who have been very diligent. They just need more time," said A Gui.

With his Crazy! Kwai Boo hitting the big screen this summer, we can expect it won't be too long before A Gui's new series Loong Treasure, which is much more serialized story-wise compared to the stand-alone stories in Kwai Boo, will also be turned into an animated film.

Posted in: Comics

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