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Chinese Manhua, Comics and Graphic Novels

7 New Voices From Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beyond

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While relatively new to the US comics scene, Chinese manhua has been making its presence felt in recent years. From tales of contemporary teen angst like Orange to historical dramas like The History of the West Wing, Chinese comics showcase the creativity and unique perspectives of these up-and-coming creators. Here's a sampling of Chinese manhua worth reading.

Remember

Remember
© XIAO PAN / Benjamin

Author / Artist: Benjamin
Publisher: TokyoPop
US Publication Date: February 2010
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A young artist is constantly frustrated by editors who tell him he writes the wrong kinds of stories (he should draw historical dramas, not modern tales) and that he draws the wrong way (he should draw more like Japanese manga). Just when he's ready to give up, he meets a pretty and idealistic female comics creator who encourages him to push past his limitations.

The History of the West Wing

The History of the West Wing
Le Pavillon de l’Aile Ouest © XIAO PAN – Guo Guo – SUN Jiayu – 2007

Author: Sun Jiayu
Artist: Guo Guo
Publisher: Yen Press
US Publication Date: May 2009
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Chen YuQing is a traveling scholar who falls in love at first sight with PianPian, the beautiful daughter of a high-ranking government official. Unfortunately, PianPian is already betrothed to a young nobleman that she has never met, and her mother is determined to see this marriage take place. But when a group of bandits puts PianPian and her family in danger, will Chen's heroism save the day and win the girl, or will PianPian's mother put more obstacles in the young couple's way?

1520

1520 Volume 1
© kai

Authors / Artists: kai
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
US Publication Date: January 2009
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Luluronika is the spoiled princess of a wealthy kingdom. Zelos is the practical prince of a relatively impoverished neighboring kingdom.  So when Zelos comes to visit his regal bride-to-be, he's horrified to see how wasteful she is, as she throws away a perfectly yummy looking piece of cake.  But what Zelos and Lulu's maid Ana don't know is that by sampling the discarded cake, they must share a curse that causes them to alternate being young adult or child versions of themselves.

Orange

Orange by Benjamin, a graphic novel published by TokyoPop
© XIAO PAN - Benjamin

Author / Artist: Benjamin
Publisher: TokyoPop
US Publication Date: February 2009
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Orange is a dark story about a modern teenage girl who seethes with frustration and despair about her life in a nameless Chinese city. Disappointed by her parents, friends and so-called boyfriends, Orange (yes, that's her name) decides to end it all by throwing herself off a building. Then she meets a strange young man who tries to convince her that she has more reasons to live than she thinks.

An Ideal World

An Ideal World by Weidong Chen and Chao Peng, published by Yen Press
© XIAO PAN – PENG Chao, CHEN Weidong – 2006, 2007

Author: Weidong Chen
Artist: Chao Peng
Publisher: Yen Press
US Publication Date: March 2009
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You know all that stuff that says "Made in China?" Well, that stuff gets made in factories by people like A You, a young man who just can't find it in himself to feel motivated about his soul-sucking job as a forklift operator. After a particularly bad day at work, A You chases a white rabbit into a forest and ends up in a strange world where happiness is a way of life. Can his adventures in "An Ideal World" help A You turn around his lousy attitude toward work?

Wild Animals

Wild Animals Volume 1 by Song Yang, published by Yen Press
© XIAO PAN – SONG Yang – 2006

Author / Artist: Song Yang
Publisher: Yen Press
US Publication Date: September 2008
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Being a teen isn't easy, but 16-year old Ma Xiaojun is going through his rebellious years in the midst of China's Cultural Revolution, a time when going against the system is a grave infraction. Nevertheless, Xiaojun hangs with a group of punks and alters house keys to do some mostly mischievous breaking and entering. But when he enters Mi Lan's apartment, he finds himself smitten with the photos he finds of this 19-year old beauty. Will he find a way to melt this older woman's heart without revealing how he fell for her?

Step

Step Volume 1 by Yanshu Yu, published by Yen Press
© XIAO PAN – YU Yanshu – 2007

Author / Artist: Yanshu Yu
Publisher: Yen Press
US Publication Date: April 2009
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Mr. Han's a professional monster hunter – which comes easy to him because he's a vampire himself. When he's not slaying demon dogs, chasing ghosts or tracking down nine-tailed foxes, Mr. Han is looking out for Dynasty Tang, an orphaned vampire girl who, unbeknownst to most, amplifies Mr. Han's supernatural strength.

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