An independent bookstore jointly established by comic artists and the Taipei City Comic Artists Guild has opened for business. It is expected to become a popular spot for foreign visitors and a place for upcoming artists to exhibit their work.
The first independent bookstore to carry only manga and comics was launched on Wednesday at the Longshan Cultural and Creative Base in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華).
Union chairman Lai You-hsien (賴有賢) said that the store would help foster work by Taiwanese artists, adding that the store was named Manga Longshan, as manga is the Japanese word for comics and a near-homophone for how Wanhua is pronounced in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese).
Screen grab from Manga Longshan’s Facebook account
Wanhua attracts many foreign visitors, offering a chance to promote Taiwanese comics, Lai said.
Twelve comic artists were invited to attend the opening ceremony, and each presented an illustration linked to local sites, with Amin Lee (李勉之) presenting an illustration of a beautiful woman covered in snakes, alluding to the snake soup delicacy on Huaxi Street.
Artist Cola King (可樂王) presented an illustration of a airplane formed by all the seafood delicacies found in the district, against a backdrop of a fireworks show, for which Wanhua is also renowned.
Chang Chih-wei (張秩維) and his wife, Huang Li-jen (黃麗真), drew a healer character — named Jisheshih (雞舍師) — based on herbal drinks, which are claimed to have medicinal purposes.
Aside from carrying original works created by Taiwanese artists, the store would feature limited recreations of the original drawings, hand-painted pottery, T-shirts, coasters and cushions, the union said.
The store would also host comic-related courses, book-signing events and talks, it said.
It would provide legal consultation on copyright laws and would be a place for people to interact with comic artists from other countries, it added.
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