Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Finding a niche with manhua: California's East Bay Express spotlights ComicsOne, which turned to distributing Chinese manhua after finding the U.S. rights to most major Japanese manga were locked up:

"Not only were Chinese comics available, but their sensibility, aesthetics, and pacing were so distinct from the manga style that Kuo and ComicsOne editor Sean Sanders became convinced that theirs was an untapped cultural niche. Whereas manga is typically black-and-white, heavily stylized, and covers everything from sports to superheroes to girly coming-of-age stories, Chinese comics are luridly painted, usually restricted to medieval and ancient settings, and obsessed with kung fu. 'They're very episodic and epic,' Sanders says. 'They're primarily martial-arts themes, and many of them take place in ancient China. They have a lot of emphasis on traditional Chinese medicine, Buddhism, Taoism, definitely a lot of traditional Chinese myths. ... We've found that our audience isn't your typical manga readers at all. For the most part, it's ex-comics fans who lost their taste for the contrived, brightly-colored super hero thing, and are looking for something deeper.'"