Comic exhibition draws crowds

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 - Page 3

Tens of thousands of comic book and anime fans yesterday flocked to the opening of the Taipei Comic Exhibition, which showcases the latest trends in comic books and animation.

Even before the exhibition opened at 10am, thousands of fans were queuing outside the venue at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1. Security guards had to corral people into waiting zones before the doors opened.

“I came here from Taichung and have been in line since 7pm last night. However, I was late. I heard someone came here a month ago to be first in line,” said a 16-year-old surnamed Liao (廖), who spent NT$5,000 (US$166) purchasing the latest book in the popular Japanese light novel series Date A Live and some of its peripheral products, including earphones and pillows.

He said he was attracted to the plot of the series, which is about a high-school guy who tries to contain the power of “spirits,” who are a threat to humans, by making them fall in love with him.

The first five books in the series have so far sold 120,000 copies in Taiwan, according to publisher Kadokawa Media (Taiwan) Co.

Winnie Kung, 16, expressed her excitement after spending about NT$1,000 on books by Taiwanese light novelist Tsang Kuei and products related to the books. She said she planned to spend NT$2,000 to NT$3,000 at the fair.

Total revenues generated by the six-day exhibition are expected to reach NT$200 million this year, while the number of booths has increased by about 10 percent from last year’s expo, said Texi Hsia (夏中惠), president of the Taipei-based Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association — the main organizer of the event.

Revenues last year reached a total of NT$180 million.

A total of 49 Taiwanese and Japanese graphic artists, voice actors and animation directors are taking part in book signings and other activities at the fair. Close to 70 publishers have set up more than 450 booths at the exhibition, which will run through Tuesday next week, the association said.

In addition to comic books, animations and novels, the fair also has a special exhibition featuring Japanese manga artist Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, the most popular manga series in Japanese history.

The Oda exhibition showcases 25 replica illustrations from the series, which has sold more than 280 million copies worldwide, as well as peripheral products, organizers said.

The fair, now in its 14th year, drew 550,000 visitors last year, according to the organizers.