Within the confines of comic panel walls, imagination reigns freely. Real-life experiences are shared here, as are stories from around the world. This year’s GCA international exchange activities focus on the dialectic between the real and the imaginary. Exhibiting comic texts gives a glimpse into the wide subject variety of comics produced by Taiwan’s talented artists, as well as their unbridled creativity.
Sometimes in the City
／Dala Publishing Company
The city. A fascinating entity, rapidly transforming yet at the same time rendering its inhabitants immobile. This book, Sometimes in the City, is devoted to just that place. The title has a dual meaning: it is a both the beginning of an infinite number of sentences, and an evocation of the interesting moments, feelings, and happenings of urban life.
Sometimes in the City contains descriptions and illustrations of one particular city: Taipei, Taiwan. However, even considering the differences among cities, so many of the compromises and absurdities, the feelings of alienation, loneliness, and helplessness that are the focus of this book, are true for city dwellers anywhere.
In a way, this is a comic book, but one without dialogue and/or traditional plotline. Each chapter is a full single-page illustration, divided into between three and nine frames, telling a story of city life, drawn as if snapped by a camera in sequence from a fixed position. These stories are moments, vignettes just seconds in length. The illustrations and accompanying text cover a wide range of emotions and experiences, and constitute a fresh, unconventional comic book reading experience.
After getting a graduate degree in design, 61Chi published her first doujinshi illustrated book in 2007, and has since self-published more than a dozen books.
In 2014, her first comic work Room, released by the Dala Publishing Company, marked the beginning of her career as a professional comic artist, and won her Japan International Manga Silver Award. 61Chi continues to illustrate and make graphic designs regularly, bringing her aesthetic touch to comics and illustrations. In 2017, Small Town, Southern Time: Zuoying & Ceský Krumlov was published, telling her own story as both tourist and local in two regions that have never officially met. Sometimes in the City is her latest work.
In 2017, the launch of Monsoon by Slowork Publishing ushered in a wave of new comics in Taiwan. The work is a comics anthology for adults, and is a platform for comics that go beyond the commercialized content popularized by the Japanese. By presenting graphic stories based on real-life situations, Monsoon is a groundbreaker in the new genre of documentary comics.
- The Runaway, Script: Jhong Sheng-Syong, Comic: Tseng Yao Ching －Monsoon Vol.3
- Beans on The Margins / Adoor Yeh －Monsoon Vol.3
- Cigarettes before $ex / Yashin －Monsoon Vol.3
- Pen in Parentheses / Chen Pei-Hsiu －Monsoon Vol.2
- Pop the Trunk / Chico －Monsoon Vol.1
Etudes for Papa
／Dala Publishing Company
Dedicated to all fathers, a graphic novel composed with warmth and love for my son.
Fatherhood is one of the quintessential human experiences. Sean Chuang once wondered, what goes through a father’s mind in the first years? What challenges and hardships does he face? Then he found himself raising a child of his own, and these questions were being answered. In the middle of the chaos, he began reliving his own childhood, and his thoughts turned to his own father. Perhaps it is the eternal sameness of experiences like fatherhood that connect us across the generations. A rookie dad is just like a child. Sean Chuang hopes that this record of his son’s first years will be helpful to readers who are fathers with young children, or fathers-to-be, and trusts that every reader will find in it something of interest and value.
Sean Chuang has 20 years of experience in advertising, in which field he has directed over 500 advertisements. He is a multiple recipient of the Times Advertising Award and the Times Asia-Pacific Award. His works have been shown in China, Singapore, and Japan. In 1997, he published Film Maker’s Notes recording his work and life which went through 18 print runs and has become required reading in the industry and for advertising students. In 2010, he finished his second work The Window, his first graphic novel, a Spanish translation of which was published the following year. In 2013 and 2015, Volumes 1 and 2 of ‘80s Diary in Taiwan were published. These detail life and culture in Taiwan in the 1980s. These have been translated into French, German, and Italian. Still active in advertising circles, Sean Chuang continues to shoot videos and draw comics.
Scrolls of a Northern City
／GAEA BOOKS, Co., Ltd
Scrolls of a Northern City is set in the Taipei of 1935. The Great Taiwan Exhibition is about to open, and the city shines like in a dream, sparkling brightly in the night. In the northernmost corner of the city, in first floor of Café Bai-Hua-Tang (The Hall of a Hundred Paintings), the scent of freshly baked pastries wafts into the air and pretty waitresses wearing kimonos and frilled aprons attend to the customers. On the second floor is the owner’s private library, containing a large and diverse collection of books. Spirits roam the shelves, reading at their leisure. Even more surprising perhaps, is that the handsome young owner appears to be hiding a secret power, only to be revealed when things start to go wrong…
This book made up of three short stories, each incorporating elements of fantasy. Author AKRU depicts the story of a mysterious and magical shopkeeper who is a medium for the spirits using careful brushstrokes, instilling both the historical background and the sentiments of the characters with a dreamlike romance.
AKRU started reading manga at a young age. At university she majored in anthropology, while also teaching herself how to draw on the side. In 2007 her debut work, The Underwater Moon, an adaptation of a traditional folk story, won several awards, making her a recognized comic artist.
Despite the incredible success of Scrolls of a Northern City, with its sequel topping the bestseller charts for three weeks, AKRU does not plan to give up on self-publishing some of her original works through comic fan clubs, which she feels gives her a greater degree of artistic freedom, and is an important way of staying connected to her readers.
Pico the witch
／TONG LI PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
Welcome to "PicoPico" the magic house of endless enchantment! If you pay the right price, you can have anything you wish come true, magically!
Though PicoPico is open for business, somehow only weird people have come for help. A girl in a raincoat with a cloud that rains on her head, a long-haired lady with a mysterious past afflicted by a weird disease... their problems trouble the owner of the magic house – Pico the Witch. After nightfall, under the glittering stars, the mysterious magic house awaits your visit. A tale of a fantastical world of magic begins now!
+ZEI+ got her start creating fashion illustrations in 2003. Her work could be seen in magazines and books, and were even made into fashion accessories. In 2009, she expanded her creative field to comics, publishing her first work Rainbow Smile in 2010. The following year, her first illustrated book, Pico Pico, came out. Pico the Witch is currently being serialized in Star Girls Monthly Magazine, and the first six books of the series have also been published. +ZEI+ forged an alliance in 2018 with fashion design firm Figlia resulted in the creation of Picopico the Witch costumes based on characters from her well-liked comic series. These costumes sold out quickly, and as a result, +ZEI+ was interviewed by many media outlets about the costumes and her works and invited to share them at a number of exhibitions.
／CHING WIN PUBLISHING GROUP
Origami Fighters is a stunning combination of comics and origami. In this work, readers are introduced to the art of origami, and invited to let their imaginations fly. The comic also offers young leaders lessons on how to make origami themselves. Through working on this together, the author hopes that parents and children will grow closer.
As to the plot, Origami Warriors is the story of a boy who is trying to escape a murderous gang. The gang is also trying to kill his family. Following a battle, the young man obtains four origami figures and a secret guide to origami, and with this, his trials to defeat the gang truly begin.
Chou Hsein-Tsung has been a comics creator for over three decades. Among his works are Origami Fighters and Origami Fighters G. His works have sold over one million copies in Taiwan alone. They have also been licensed for sale in many countries; some have been adapted into animations.