Sun, Dec 28, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Accounting for the comic book in Taiwan

Taipei Story House is the place to go to learn about the history and the probable future of local comics

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

All varities of comics are shown at Taipei Story House.

GRAPHICS COURTESY OF TAIPEI STORY HOUSE

Organized by the Taipei Story House in conjunction with the Comic Artist Labor Union in Taipei, the current "Taipei Comics Go! Exhibition" (台北GO漫畫特展) might not be one of the most extensive exhibitions to deal with the local comic-book scene, but what information and artwork it provides makes for an interesting and eye-catching 30 minutes.

Featuring artwork by Taiwanese comic-book artists both past and present, the exhibition encompasses original works by 30 artists. From Amin's (李勉之) raunchy creation, Miss Sex (Miss 阿性), to the boys-own Chou Peng-ching (仇鵬欽) work, Crisis Y2K (Y2K危機) and Yu Sha's (尤俠) off-center and absurd Email , the small-scale show covers all comedic tastes.

As visitors unfamiliar with the local comic-book scene soon discover, not all of Taiwan's comic book heroes have remained on the pages. Some of the most popular works featured in the exhibition have become video games, TV shows and movies.

Tang Hsiang-lin's (湯翔麟) highflying comic-book heroine, Chiao Ling-er (趙靈兒) from his Sky Sword (軒轅劍) series has recently appeared in video-game format and Chung Meng-shun's (鍾孟舜) Legend of the Sacred Stone (聖石傳說) has long been a favorite with puppet TV show fans while his Great Conqueror's Concubine (西楚霸王) was adapted for the big screen in the early 1990s.

A more recent comic adaptation is that of 2D Mosaic's (2D馬賽克) Teenagers in Hsiment (西街少年), which was tailored for television earlier this year and renamed Westside Story. The show is currently broadcast on both SET (三立) and CTS (華視) and is hugely popular.

As well as displaying artwork by today's comic artists, the cozy art space has set aside a room in which it showcases the works of Taiwan's pioneering comic book creators.

Exhibition notes:

Taipei Story House (台北故事館) is located at 181-1 Zhongshan N Rd, Sec 3, Taipei (台北市中山北路三段181-1) and is open from 10:30am until 6:30pm Tuesdays through Sundays. Closed Mondays. To arrange for an English-language tour, call (02) 2587 5565. Taipei Comics Go! Exhibition (台北GO漫畫特展) runs until March 28.


Here visitors can see works by Liu Hsing-ching (劉興欽), the man many feel is the architect of the modern Taiwan comic book and who over the past three decades has had more than 200 of his comic book stories published, has produced countless kids' books and has seen his material appear is scores of educational materials. Liu's most popular comic book was his Brother A-san and Great Auntie (阿三哥與大嬸婆), a book that can still bring a smile to the face of even the most grown-up of adults.

In addition to simply gawking at a selection of comic art, visitors to Taipei Story House also have the chance to take an original work home with them and can also learn from some of the nation's leading comic book artists.

Every Saturday and Sunday between 2pm and 5pm, in the garden at the rear of the house, at least one of the cartoonists featured in the exhibition will be on hand to sketch visitor's portraits (for NT$250). On the first Sunday of each month during the run of the show, one cartoonist will set up shop in the house's audio-visual room and give visitors the opportunity to see him or her at work and ask questions.

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