The theme of this year’s Taiwan Comic Festival is “superheroes,” in the hopes of expanding potential themes for Taiwanese comics and broadening their international market.
The festival, which is to open on Oct. 24, is one of the annual highlights for the comic industry, manga artist and Taipei City Comic Artists Guild chairman Lai Yu-hsien (賴有賢) said on Monday.
While Marvel’s superhero franchises have had massive success, a “Chinese” superhero has yet to emerge, he said.
Hopefully, the theme will inspire domestic illustrators to be more creative and demonstrate their skills, he added.
Illustrator Chen Shan-di (陳山狄) said that she based the character A-chen (阿陳) on her father, who she considers her hero, and her experiences growing up in the countryside.
A-chen, who has lived for more than a century, can only be seen by children, such as the main character, A-ming (阿明), and can move across the surface of any body of water, Chen said, adding that the comic focuses on environmental issues, with a heavy emphasis on local scenery.
Illustrator Chiang Chih-huang (江志煌) created the comic Ink Hero (墨俠), which blends the supernatural with martial arts.
Chiang said that he has hidden a quick response code in the comic as an Easter egg and readers who scan it would be sent to a Web site detailing how he created the comic, making reading comics an educational as well as entertaining pastime.
Illustrator Chuang Ho-yuan (莊河源) plans to submit a piece featuring Taiwanese “Robin Hood” figure Liao Tien-ting (廖添丁) in a steampunk world.
Chuang said that he plans to create more content based on the setting and hopes to publish it as a serial.
Illustrator Evan Huang (黃熙文) has merged the Tiger Lord (虎爺) concept of Taiwanese temple culture with efforts to conserve leopard cats as the basis for the character Hu Tong (虎童), and plans to continue working on the character and backstory before publishing next year.
Submissions must include either a 16-page comic based on superheroes or a finished outline of the concept for the protagonist and antagonist, Lai said.
If the festival could produce five story lines out of about 100 submissions that could be marketed internationally, it would accomplish its goal of presenting the potential of the Taiwanese comic industry’s development, he said.