Posted by: seoulgraphics | September 3, 2016

Black Tower Comics & Books

Once You’ve Had Black & White You’ll Never Go Back

Well, here goes.

Seriously, it may have gone past survival time but I am NOT going out without a fight…maybe a whimper!

See why we are Europe’s largest publisher of  Independent Comics.

The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews!  

 To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.

Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others.

Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!

Reduced in price until October to £16.80 -an odd price but it’s what the printer and lulu.com earn -I get zilch!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/terry-hooper-scharf/the-hooper-interviews/paperback/product-22078000.html

All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you’ve had black and white you won’t go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on “world mysteries” and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk

You  can also find some on Amazon and other sources but they do not make me much money so, come on, buy from the online store and remember that at least these books will be collectibles!

To contact me please check out “About” at the top of the page -thanks! 

 ****************************************************************************

Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley’s Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service –Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward’s long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.

THE BAT TRIUMPHANT!

And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!

Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers….

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two…or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist’s Viewpoint set a precedence.

Whereas for decades those involved in “UFOlogy”, “Cryptozoology” and “Forteana” declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost “to history” and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  ‘Mysteries’ solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.

The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.

And if there is one thing “Herr Professor” loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring ‘Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume ” Black Tower Gold” albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager –The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!

The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd! Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it’s characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it’s own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -“God’s Demon0-Thumper” as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether’s mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God’s Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God’s Demon Thumper.

Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics’ first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below

And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery

THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO

Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo’s police “counter-foil” isnone other than old London “Jack” (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says “Here’s a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!” you do not argue!

Wilberforce

And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop’s Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons –Dilworth’s Japanese Yokai and Dilworth’sWestern Yokai.  Osaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop’s Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fables

Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in…Dilworth’s Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost StoriesTHE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE

And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward’s creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues….with a touch of fun!

The Iron Warrior Vs Big BongTHE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION

In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf’sInvasion Earth Trilogy” or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: “Dr Morg has killed us all” -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying “What? Who-?”

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015’s big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.

 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!

Posted by: seoulgraphics | September 3, 2016

Black Tower Comics & Books

Well, here goes.

Seriously, it may have gone past survival time but I am NOT going out without a fight…maybe a whimper!

See why we are Europe’s largest publisher of  Independent Comics.

The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews!  

 To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.

Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others.

Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!

Reduced in price until October to £16.80 -an odd price but it’s what the printer and lulu.com earn -I get zilch!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/terry-hooper-scharf/the-hooper-interviews/paperback/product-22078000.html

All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you’ve had black and white you won’t go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on “world mysteries” and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk

You  can also find some on Amazon and other sources but they do not make me much money so, come on, buy from the online store and remember that at least these books will be collectibles!

To contact me please check out “About” at the top of the page -thanks! 

 ****************************************************************************

Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley’s Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service –Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward’s long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.

THE BAT TRIUMPHANT!

And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!

Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers….

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two…or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist’s Viewpoint set a precedence.

Whereas for decades those involved in “UFOlogy”, “Cryptozoology” and “Forteana” declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost “to history” and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  ‘Mysteries’ solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.

The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.

And if there is one thing “Herr Professor” loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring ‘Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume ” Black Tower Gold” albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager –The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!

The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd! Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it’s characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it’s own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -“God’s Demon0-Thumper” as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether’s mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God’s Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God’s Demon Thumper.

Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics’ first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below

And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery

THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO

Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo’s police “counter-foil” isnone other than old London “Jack” (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says “Here’s a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!” you do not argue!

Wilberforce

And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop’s Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons –Dilworth’s Japanese Yokai and Dilworth’sWestern Yokai.  Osaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop’s Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fables

Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in…Dilworth’s Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost StoriesTHE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE

And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward’s creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues….with a touch of fun!

The Iron Warrior Vs Big BongTHE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION

In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf’sInvasion Earth Trilogy” or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: “Dr Morg has killed us all” -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying “What? Who-?”

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015’s big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.

 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!

Posted by: seoulgraphics | March 2, 2011

Do You Have Any Questions About Korean Manhwa?

Dr. Jeeyeon Kim

If you have any questions then we’re sure that Seoul Graphics’ Dr. Jeeyeon Kim can probably help!

Use the comments link to ask your question!

🙂

Posted by: seoulgraphics | December 8, 2010

Yi Do-yeong AND A Video Clip!

If you’ve read the article about Manhwa/Manhua/Manga you’ll know a bit about Manhwa history.  I found the below item at:

http://dokebiclub.blogspot.com/2009/03/1st-manhwa-artist.html

 

(source: Janimes)

Yi Do-yeong (이도영) (1884-1933) “[expressed]… his ideas in… form of manhwa through … [a] popular daily newspaper [(Dehanminbo, 대한민보)]… [in] 1909.” He was mostly known for opposing Japan’s colonization of Korea through his works.

There is also a short Manhwa video item -so enjoy!

Posted by: seoulgraphics | December 8, 2010

Manhwa/Music clips

Manhwa MEP has put together some great Mahwa art to music for You Tube.  So,if you want something to watch and listen to go here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg5XGPVBh3c

Posted by: seoulgraphics | October 31, 2010

Hong’s Greek and Roman Mythology

Eunyoung Hong – Eunyoung Hong started her career as a cartoonist in 1986 with a comic entitled, The Silver Land.

Since then, she has drawn many cartoons for young audiences in Korea, such as Diamond of Tears (1990-1992), Kellys Cartoon English (1995 – 1997) and Greek and Roman Cartoon Mythology (in total 18 books, 2000- 2005).

In particular, the graphic novel series, Greek and Roman Cartoon Mythology has sold over ten million copies in Korea.

In 2002, she was awarded the title of Best contemporary cartoonist by the Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Hong’s Greek and Roman Mythology (click here to view)

Posted by: seoulgraphics | October 31, 2010

The ‘Red Bicycle’ by Donghwa Kim

This series consists of four books and has already been published in Korean and French to wide acclaim, selling over 160,000 copies in total.

 

It has been written and drawn by the established author Dongwha Kim, who has published his graphic novels widely in Korea, and won the 2003 award as the best cartoonist in the Taipei Asian Cartoon Festival.

 

He was born in 1950 in Seoul, South Korea. His work was first published in 1975.

 

The stories included in The Red Bicycle were published in the broadsheet Choseon-Ilbo between 2002 and 2003. The details of each book are as follows:

 

 

The Red Bicycle 1 (Dad as a Fool) (English word count 7,466: 161 pages)

 

The Red Bicycle 2 (Hollyhock) (English word count 8,999: 190 pages)

 

The Red Bicycle 3 (Mother) (English word count 11,523: 203 pages)

 

The Red Bicycle 4 (Spring Again) (English word count 12,600: 240 pages)

 

The four books are Korean-based short stories, based in a town called Yawhari. Each story is broken down into smaller ?tales?, focusing on Korean culture, lifestyle and daily life philosophies, told through beautiful graphic illustrations. Their potential market is wide ranging; as learning tools for children, through to graphic novels or a fun way of understanding Korean culture for adults.

 

Synopsis The Red Bicycle? 1: In the old Korean peasant town of Yawhari, where older generations reside after their children have left for the city to make their own living, a postman goes to each household in the village to find out about the lives of older generations, carrying news from their beloved children. Yawhari is an imaginary hometown we all long for away from busy city life. In this town, seen through the postman’s eyes, there are many emotional encounters and opportunities to learn about values and life-philosophies from the older generations.

 

Every page in the book is filled with the original author’s masterpiece artwork, set against a picturesque landscape, in which the author narrates nostalgic memories of life.

 

This graphic novel series is an engaging read for a broad audience and can be suitable for many different age groups. The book?s value is found in its representation of heart-warming life-philosophies, which reflect the lives of older generations and their love for the country-life. It is particularly appropriate to be used as a family book, as the general theme is one of kindness and acceptance.

 

The popularity of this book has already been established by its selling figures in Korea and France. Primarily, this is because the original illustrations and stylish design of this book appeals to both adults and children alike.

Jeeyeon Kim, PhD


Posted by: seoulgraphics | October 31, 2010

Manhwa From Page To Screen

Manhwa is not just restricted to paper!  Like Chinese Manhua it has been very influential on TV and in movies.

From Page to Screen – Korean Manhwa Adaptations

Written by James Mudge

 

 

Comic books have always been a popular source of cinematic inspiration, and over the past few years such films have been enjoying unprecedented success on the silver screen, with the likes of The Dark Knight and Iron Man racking up incredible box office figures across the world. This has also long been the case with the Asian film industry, primarily in the case of Japan, with manga comics having provided a never-ending list of popular films and television series, both animated and live action. Indeed, the country has become famous for such adaptations, with recent hits such as Death Note receiving international releases. Even other Asian countries have used manga as source material, as in the case of the Hong Kong productions Initial D and Shamo, and from Korea the hit 200 Pounds Beauty and director Park Chan Wook‘s worldwide blockbuster Oldboy.

However, Japan is by no means the only Asian country with a thriving industry of comic book adaptations, and the last few years have seen an explosion in films and series based upon Korean comics, also known as manhwa. Certainly, the form has been taking over both television screens, through massive hits like Full House and Palace, and cinemas through such diverse productions as Tazza: The High Rollers, Duelist, and Apartment. As a result, manhwa artists such as Hur Young Man and Kang Pool have become widely recognized names in the worlds of film and television as well as print. With more high-profile manhwa adaptations on their way, their stock, and indeed that of other artists is only likely to rise yet further.

Manhwa Adaptations

Although in the West the stereotypical image of comics is that they tend to offer little more than tales of superheroes in tights battling bizarre super villains, manhwa covers pretty much every genre and subject imaginable, from the fantastic through to the domestic. As such, manhwa adaptations do not form a convenient genre to the extent that comic book films do in Hollywood. Interestingly, Korean manhwa do differ from Japanese manga in a number of ways, chiefly in that they tend to emphasize Asian origins of characters.

As such, they provide a natural source of material for film and television, and indeed although it is only recently that they have started making headlines, manhwa adaptations are by no means a new phenomenon. Foolish Mistakes of a Fool, the first cinematic manhwa adaptation was produced way back in 1926, directed by Lee Pil Woo and inspired by the comic strip of the same name that ran in the newspaper the Josun Ilbo. After this, the next notable manhwa adaptation did not come until 1978 with The Man with Seven Faces, based upon a comic by Hur Young Man. Born in 1947 and having made his print debut back in 1974, Hur quickly became recognized as a top talent in the field, and his career has seen him continue to provide the basis for hit television series and films. This has been especially true since the late 1990s, and an increasing number of his comics have been adapted to huge popularity and acclaim.

The 1980s saw the first real boom of manhwa adaptations, with films such as The Spring of Oh Dal Ja, Lee Jang Ho’s Baseball Team, and The Chameleon’s Poem, based on another of Hur Young Man’s works, achieving success. This continued into the early 1990s with hits such as the high school drama Young Shim from director Lee Mi Rye and the Hur Young Man KBS drama Asphalt My Hometown, which marked the debut of future superstar Lee Byung Hun.

The New Wave of Manhwa Films

It was not until 1995, however, that Korean comic book films truly began to achieve mainstream recognition, arguably with the release of The Terrorists. An action packed adventure starring Choi Min Soo and Lee Kyung Young as brothers at war with the criminal underworld, the film not only signaled a new wave of manhwa adaptations, but can also be seen as a precursor to the modern style of Korean thrillers such as Shiri and others. This was followed in 1997 by Beat, which was adapted from a graphic novel by Hur Young Man and was directed by Kim Sung Su, who through this and other works such as Runaway and Our Sunny Days was noted at the time as being one of the leading voices in the newly emerging trend of angry youth films. A visceral crime film, it also helped make stars of a number of young actors and actresses, including Yoo Oh Sung, Lim Chang Jung, and Ko So Young.

The success of such film paved the way for the recent explosion in manhwa film adaptations, such as Duelist, directed in 2005 by Lee Myung Se, famed for his stylish, highly cinematic works such as Nowhere to Hide and M. The film was based upon a famous 1970s manhwa called Damo Nam Soon by artist Bang Hak Gi, a historical series which followed the exploits of a female detective during the Joseon Dynasty era. Starring Ha Ji Won in the lead role (a part she had also played several years back on television) and with support from legendary veteran Ahn Sung Ki, the film played fast and loose with the original source material, with the visionary director being more concerned with producing a visual feast than a faithful adaptation.

2006 saw another of Hur Young Man’s works on the silver screen in the form Tazza: The High Rollers (also released as War of Flowers), directed by Choi Dong Hoon, helmer of The Big Swindle. An exciting drama based around Korean flower cards, the film boasted an all-star cast including Cho Seung Woo, Baek Yoon Shik, and actress Kim Hye Su. Importantly, it was the biggest hit yet for manhwa adaptations, ranking as one of the all-time top ten highest earners at the domestic box office, and winning a number of prizes at the prestigious Blue Dragon and Daejong Awards.

More Hur Young Man followed in 2007 with Le Grand Chef, based upon his bestselling comic book series. Directed by Jeon Yoon Soo (previously responsible for My Girl And I), the film followed the battle between two celebrity chefs (played by Kim Kang Woo and Yim Won Hee) and was another massive box office hit. Hur apparently spent four years researching the subject matter, and the results certainly translated well, with the film being a veritable banquet of gourmet delights. Interestingly, the success of these two films saw them both later being adapted for television, underlining the strength and appeal of Hur’s original manhwa.

The same year also featured a rather different kind of manhwa adaptation in Someone Behind You, which was based upon a horror comic called Two People by artist Kang Kyung Ok. A pleasingly bloody affair, the film stood apart from other Korean genre outings thanks to its twisted plot and the fact that it did not revolve around the antics of the usual vengeful female spirit. Proving again the versatility of the manhwa form, 2008 brought Hellcats (also released as Some Like it Hot), a multi-generational tale of modern Korean women based upon Kang Mo Rim’s comic book 10, 20 and 30.

Online Inspiration

With the ever increasing popularity of manhwa comics, inevitably the form made the transition to the web, resulting in a new generation of artists and a slew of cinematic adaptations. Once such young artist who has achieved fame has been Kang Pool, several of whose award-winning works have been turned into films, including Apartment, directed in 2006 by Korean horror master Ahn Byung Ki and starring Ko So Young, followed in 2008 by the drama Ba:Bo from Ditto helmer Kim Jeong Kwon. Unsurprisingly, the success of these has led to more of his works being snapped up for the big screen, including the thriller 29 Years and the drama Hello Schoolgirl, starring Yoo Ji Tae, Lee Yeon Hee, Chae Jung Ahn, and Kang In. Kang Pool is by no means the only online manhwa artist to have seen his works adapted to film, though it’s doubtful that the form will produce anything quite so bizarre as Dasepo Naughty Girls, a musical and truly crazed tale of highly sexualized high school students directed by industry veteran Lee Jae Yong, best known for the possibly more respectable An Affair and Untold Scandal.

Manhwa on the Small Screen

Arguably even more impressive than the recent run of cinematic manhwa adaptations has been the increasingly prolific number of comic book-based television series. One landmark series, first screened in 2003 was the historical drama Damo: The Undercover Lady Detective (also known as Legendary Police Woman), which like Duelist was based upon Damo Nam Soon by artist Bang Hak Gi. As well as beating Lee Myung See’s film by several years and giving actress Ha Ji Won an early crack at the role, the series was far more faithful to the manhwa, exploring its theme of revolving around a strong, fiercely independent female protagonist in a stratified society. Importantly, the series set a new standard for television dramas, as well as dragging the traditional historical form into the modern day by keeping audiences entertained through fight scenes and special effects.

The first of the real blockbuster manhwa television adaptations came the following year Full House, based upon the comic by Won Soo Yon. The romantic drama was a massive hit, starring Song Hye Kyo (who had previously featured in several other popular series such as All In, Hotelier, and Tale of Autumn) as a woman called Ji Eun who loses everything after being tricked by her friends, and who tries to get back the titular mansion which her parents built. Unfortunately, the house is taken over by a film star played by international pop singer Rain, and Ji Eun is forced into a contract marriage with him. As well as attaining a massive 40% of the viewing audience for its final episode, the series also won a number of awards, including Best Couple at the KBS Drama Awards for Song and Rain.

Another huge hit arrived in 2006 with Palace (also known as Princess Hours, or Goong), which was adapted from the manhwa of the same name by artist Park So Hee. The series was a fairy tale affair, taking place in an imaginary modern Korea ruled by a monarchy and following the lives of the young royals. A winning mixture of comedy, drama, and romance, it mainly revolved around Ju Ji Hoon as the crown prince and his relationship with a commoner played by Yoon Eun Hye, with the two being thrown together in an unlikely arranged marriage. As well as being extremely popular, the series was recognized several times at award ceremonies for the excellent performances of the two leads, in addition to its gorgeous production values.

The success of Full House and Palace inevitably opened the floodgates for manhwa adaptations, and the following years saw several high-profile comic-based series hitting the screen, including The Great Catsby starring MC Mong, the crime comedy Kid Gang, and the gripping War of Money, inspired by the work of Park Yi Kwon. There have been more historical manhwa adaptations, most notably the recent Iljimae, a Robin Hood-style tale set during the Joseon Dynasty which follows Lee Jun Ki as a righteous thief who leaves plum tree branches behind as a signature at the scenes of his crimes while romancing governor’s daughter (played by actress Han Hyo Ju). The Kingdom of the Winds is another big budget historical adaptation, this time based upon a comic by Kim Jin and following the life of the famed Jumong’s grandson, Daemusin. Starring Song Il Kook in the title role, the series is an epic affair, partly filmed in China and featuring plenty of exciting action.

Hur Young Man on Television

Unsurprisingly, the works of Hur Young Man have also provided the source material for a number of high profile television series, with 2008 seeing three Hur Young Man adaptations being broadcast. Tazza has made the transition to the small screen, with actor Jang Hyuk in the lead role. The Grand Chef, or Gourmet, is another recent series, based upon the same comic as Le Grand Chef, starring Kim Rae Won, Nam Sang Mi, and Kwon Oh Joong. Repeating the success of the film, the show again won praise for its immaculate and mouthwatering recreations of traditional Korean cooking. Finally, the romantic drama I Love You starring Ahn Jae Wook, Hwan Hee, and Seo Ji Hye also aired in 2008.

Manhwa and Hollywood

Given the vast wealth of material available and with the form now being as internationally recognized as Japanese manga, manhwa will doubtless continue to provide a rich source of inspiration for films and television series for years to come. Indeed, even Hollywood seems to be getting in on the act, with an adaptation of artist Hyung Min Woo’s Priest apparently in the works. With Asian remakes still a hot currency in the West, should this prove a hit, it’s a safe bet that more will follow.

Posted by: seoulgraphics | October 31, 2010

Hong’s Mythology & The Red Bicycle

Terry Hooper of Comic Bits Online takes an independent look at two of Seoul Graphics publishing properties.

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Seoul Graphics is a company aiming to get Korean Manhwa graphic novels onto the English speaking market,starting with the UK.  Hopefully this will be achieve through a UK publisher -any out there please get in touch.

The company is fronted by Dr.  Jeeyeon Kim (BA, MA, PhD),Managing Director of Seoul Graphics and Korean / English Translator.

The official site is currently under construction but bookmark it for future reference:

http://www.seoulgraphics.com/index.php

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One of the main projects is Hong’s Classical Mythology and is full of vibrant art,which you’d expect from Korean Manhwa artists.  You can find info at:

http://www.hongeunyoung.com/

But Face Book account holders can see pages at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=86218&id=690036920

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The other book is The Red Bicycle and I like this.  The dialogue concerning the colour of hanging socks is almost metaphysical [can the kid really see his father through that hole??].

If you are on Face Book you can view pages of The Red Bicycle at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=86403&id=690036920

I am really hoping that a UK publisher can strike a deal with Seoul Graphics because they have a great deal to offer,and from a country whose Manhwa is virtually unknown to most comic readers [though I’ve tried my best on CBO!].

Keep watching this space!

Posted by: seoulgraphics | October 31, 2010

Jeeyeon Kim On Seoul Graphics & Hong’s Mythology

This was published under the heading “Korean Comics Arrive in Western Markets: An Interview with Jeeyeon Kim”  by Nicholas Yanes over at SciFiPulse.net in March,2009.  The link is: http://scifipulse.net/?p=6764

Doctor Jeeyeon Kim is a translator of Korean/English, the Head of Seoul Graphics and Project Manager for the English editions of Hong’s Classical Mythology: a Graphic Novel Series. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Language in Korea,she studied in the UK towards a Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL),followed by a PhD in Sociology. Dr. Kim is currently developing a ‘Manhwa’ 09 exhibition in liaison with her work partner, Paul Gravett, at London’s Korean Cultural Centre this autumn.

Nicholas Yanes: As an American,I’ve been mostly exposed to superhero comic books. What are the popular comic book genres in Korea?

Doctor Jeeyon Kim: It’s quite difficult to pin down a specific genre as the representative of the Korean Manhwa, because it presents a variety of genres. Varied cartoons have been introduced through varied comics magazines and popular Internet sites. Recent development in Webtoons (cartoons read on the Internet) has also made Korean Manhwa varied and diverse in terms of their contents and media in which they are delivered. Famous genres are:Fantasy,Romance,Comedy,Science Fiction,Erotica,Horror,Action,Sports and Historical Drama,but I shouldn’t omit Educational Comics for children here,as they have been prominent in the comics industry in Korea.

Yanes: Outside of genre conventions, how are Korean comic books physically different from western comic books?

Doctor Kim: Most Korean comics tend to be in the book form,contrary to the booklets seen at the book shelf in the Comics shop. The comic books from Korea tend to go over 200 pages each volume and are likely to go in series,such as the Donghwa Kim’s Trilogy. It might be because Korean history has been the base for many Korean literatures and subsequently a variety of Manhwa titles have been derived from existing Korean literatures.

Yanes: Before we get into the specifics of Hong’s Classical Mythology is there anything in particular that Westerners should know about Korean comics?

Doctor Kim: Korean Manhwas are increasingly attracting international audiences. Publishers all over the world are actively seeking to translate works from Korea. This phenomenon has been seen only recently by Korean comics industry, mainly because of the development of the Internet Technology and subsequent globalization. It means currently there are so many brilliant titles veiled in Korea which can be translated into other languages. Korean comics are a treasure island that publishers should go and explore.

Yanes: Hong’s Classical Mythology deals heavily with Greek Mythology. Do you believe that your stories bring anything new to these classic stories?

Doctor Kim: While Classical Mythology: A Graphic Novel Series are taken from the classical texts, they are reproduced for a modern audience and young readers in a more reader friendly style and with vivid imagery. I also hope I’ve rendered the stories of the ancient Greeks in a form that is relevant to modern knowledge.

Yanes: The stories are translated from Korean to English. Is there anything lost or gained in translation?

Doctor Kim: Translation is a creative process, like any other writing. The linguistic difference between English and Korean is huge, as well as the cultural difference that the languages are associated with. I’m sure every translator will agree there are cases when the translator needs to make decisions to discard or expand words as necessary to make stories flow. While I aim to be faithful to the meaning of the original text, I wouldn’t deny some changes have taken place.

Yanes: Eunyoung Hong’s art is beautiful. Is it a typical style among Korean comics art?

Doctor Kim: At a first glance, most people recognize Hong’s style as Japanese Manga, but I know many Japanese cartoon artists have approached Mrs. Hong, wanting to learn her art style. So I wouldn’t say Korean or Japanese. It will be Hong’s style.

Yanes: I’ve heard Hong’s Classical Mythology was a phenomenon in terms of book selling. Can you tell us how many copies were sold in

Korea?

Kim: As the genre of children’s book, the previous edition of Hong’s CM was sold over ten million copies in

Korea alone. The current edition of Hong’s Classical Mythology: A Graphic Novel Series is based on the previous edition which composed of 18 volumes. The differences between the old and new editions are the accompanied guidebooks as well as broader readership target and improved art style in the new edition.

Yanes: You’re in a unique position in that you are trying to find an English publisher for a Korean series. What has this experience taught you about the comic book industry?

Doctor Kim: I only take works which are worth translating. Translating and trying to locate the right publisher as well as representing the work have been most challenging experience for me, especially in an era when the economic downturn is affecting businesses. Few projects like mine have been done in English, only by advanced publishers like First Second. The comic book industry is conservative in accepting new materials. However, it has been an absolute privilege to make friends in the comic industry, each of whom I found incredibly talented and human. I’ve received a lot of help from them. I’m glad I’m in this industry, even though I can’t draw.

Yanes: There is a large number of academics that study comic books. How do you think academics should approach Hong’s Classical Mythology?

Doctor Kim: Hong’s Classical Mythology can be regarded as an academic book on its own. The guide books that accompany the series are informative and educational in writing style.

When I was doing my PhD, I had the two most hard-to-please supervisors, who demanded accuracy and precision in the writing. They used to make me write ten times for one submission. I’d be lying if I don’t fear criticism from academics in this sense. But just as Hong reincarnated classical figures into colorful cartoon characters, I did transfer difficult classical texts into easy, reader-friendly writings. Although Hong’s series targets the 11 plus age group, I would like them to be enjoyed by adults too. By adults, I also mean academics of classical texts.

Yanes: Finally, if you wanted fans of Hong’s Classical Mythology to add false information to one Wikipedia entry, what entry and what information would you want added?

Doctor Kim: The best ever reference created by a brilliant cartoonist and a crazy translator, who enabled the novice reader to pretend the mastered knowledge of the Classical Mythology. Then it won’t be false information, will it?

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