Comic fans brave cold for chance to meet their idols

By Jason Pan  /  Staff writer

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 - Page 1

Comic fans will be out in force to take in the Taipei International Comics & Animation Festival, starting today and wrapping up on Monday.

The comics and animation show, taking place at Hall 2 of the Taipei World Trade Center, is set to feature more than 300 booths, 29 autograph sessions and 38 domestic and international publishing companies.

To bolster sales, items such as comics, posters, action figures, gift bags and souvenirs will be offered with varying discounts, according to the organizers, the Taiwan-based Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association (CCPA, 中華動漫出版同業協進會).

For devoted fans, the event provides the chance to meet their idols, as more than 30 Taiwanese and Japanese authors, illustrators, animators and voice actors are set to present special sessions or sign autographs.

The big names coming from Japan include Segara Sou (相樂總), author of the top-selling The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat (變態王子與不笑貓), and Hosoda Mamoru (細田守), director of the popular animated movies The Girl who Leapt through Time (跳躍吧!時空少女) and Summer Wars (夏日大作戰).

Renowned Taiwanese are also making an appearance, including Selena Lin (林青慧) of Burning Moon (焚月) fame and Lin Minxuan, best known for her Chicken Cutlet Princess (雞排公主) series.

“Taiwan’s comic book and animation market is dominated by Japanese publications, accounting for about 85 percent of the industry’s annual revenue of NT$2 billion [US$67.3 million],” CCPA secretary-general Kao Shih-chuang (高世樁) said.

An additional annual NT$1 billion market revolves around the sale of comics and animation souvenirs, action figures and other accessories, he added.

Outside the hall in Taipei last night, about 200 people were already lining up in anticipation of today’s opening. Forgoing their Lunar New Year holiday, the devoted fans braved cold nighttime temperatures to line up for the limited-edition products on offer and for the autograph sessions with their favorites authors and animators.

At head of the line was a group of fanatical followers of Japanese author Segara Sou, who is set to appear today for an autograph session with the first 150 fans at the show.

They have been in line for more than 20 days, after they started camping outside of the hall on Jan. 25, waiting out the weeks by employing shift rotations.

Some people brought along tents, sleeping bags, extra clothing, food, drinks and other provisions for the long wait.

More details about the event can be found on CCPA Web site www.ccpa.org.tw/tca.