Hong Kong Comics @ The 50th Angoulême International Comics Festival in France
HONG KONG SAR 15 February 2023 – Hong Kong comic books tell stories! Comics sporting the ‘Made in Hong Kong’ label utilise distinctive drawing styles to delight readers around the world with genre-spanning tales set in boundless fantasy worlds. This year, 15 original comic books published as part of the Hong Kong Comics Support Programme (HKCSP) featured in the annual Angoulême International Comics Festival in France. Chief artists of 7 titles represented the HKSAR at the festival and helped showcase the creativity and imagination of the Hong Kong comics industry to global audiences at the Comics Festival.
Since 2006, the 【Hong Kong Arts Centre】 has strived to organise programmes to promote Hong Kong’s local comics culture and comics artists to audiences around the world. With the support from 【Create Hong Kong】(【CreateHK】), an initiative of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, more than 50 Hong Kong comics artists and members of the industry has participated in the world renowned Angoulême International Comics Festival, held annually in Angoulême, France and featured works, including Wai-chun LEE, Chi-ching LEE, Chi-tak LI, KONG KEE, SIU HAK, CHI HOI and LITTLE THUNDER. Such international exposure after the participation of the Festival afforded artists opportunities to showcase their creativity in partnership with iconic local brands such as Hong Kong Tramways, Hong Kong International Airport, and others. One member of the Hong Kong delegation in Angoulême, Chi-tak LI, later worked on a comic book project with the Louvre Museum and has a contract with an overseas publisher for a French edition of his featured comics.
When commenting on the importance of such international representation for Hong Kong artists, Rebecca IP, Executive Director of the 【Hong Kong Arts Centre】, said, ‘We are proud to once again present comics from Hong Kong at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. By actively promoting artists and their creations, we hope to further develop the arts in Hong Kong. 【Hong Kong Arts Centre】acts as a bridge between the local and overseas art scenes, and promotes comics artists with strong potential on the international stage. One of our missions is to make more people aware of Hong Kong’s unique creations and local styles. I am truly happy to know that comics artists from Hong Kong have received further project invitations following the exhibition, and that their creativity and hard work have gained recognition around the world.’ The 【Hong Kong Arts Centre】plans to continue promoting Hong Kong comics overseas. Given comics have the potential to transcend barriers, they are a way to connect Hong Kong culture with the wider world.
The【Hong Kong Arts Centre (Comix Home Base)】and the【Hong Kong Comics and Animation Federation】(HKCAF) partnered together again under the sponsorship of【Create Hong Kong】(CreateHK) to bring 15 original comic books published as part of the 1st HKCSP to readers outside the Asia-Pacific region in January. The 15 titles featured this year as part of the 50th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival in France. Together, the works showcase the impressive creativity of Hong Kong artists and the wide range of comics as an art form in Hong Kong.
Following its inception in 1974, the Angoulême International Comics Festival has become the most important comics festival in Europe. It is held annually during the last week of January in Angoulême, France. The【Hong Kong Arts Centre (Comix Home Base)】has since 2011, brought notable Hong Kong comics to the festival in a bid to foster collaboration between Hong Kong creators and overseas publishers and other industry players. These exchanges connect artists, industry representatives, and comic book fans eager to find new and exciting works. This year, with the sponsorship of 【CreateHK】, 【Hong Kong Arts Centre (Comix Home Base)】 was pleased to participate in the festival again. Besides showcasing 15 comic books published under 1st HKCSP in Asian Pavilion Manga City, the Centre also set up a booth in the International Rights & Licensing Market. It is hoped that the above comics can successfully draw interest for overseas licensing and publications, seeking opportunities to promote the Hong Kong comics industry to the global market. Through exporting Hong Kong comics to foster cultural exchange. This time participants from over 35 countries representing 115 companies across the comics industry gathered in Angoulême this year. As in previous years, there was keen interest in works coming from Hong Kong.
In addition to the above-mentioned 15 titles, 7 Hong Kong comics artists – Chi-kit KWONG, Chivas LEUNG, Linus LIU, Pen SO, Mimi SZETO, Man TSANG, and WAH KEE–who participated in the 1st HKCSP represented the HKSAR this year in Angoulême, France. Man TSANG, WAH KEE, Chi-kit KWONG, Chivas LEUNG, Linus LIU, and Pen SO demonstrated their superb hand-drawing techniques in Manga City, while Mimi SZETO showcased her digital drawing talents. The artists shared the unique style and characteristics of Hong Kong comics in live drawing demonstrations with on-site audience. Moreover, comics artists took part in various seminars, receptions, and overseas interviews as well. Commenting on his participation in the festival, artist Chi-kit KWONG shared, ‘I am grateful to the【Hong Kong Arts Centre (Comix Home Base)】, 【CreateHK】 and 【HKCAF】for giving me this opportunity to join such an incredible event. It is inspiring to see that creating comics is not only a viable means to earn a living, it can also be an inspiration for so much more. If you work hard enough and fight for it, you might get featured in the comics hall of fame, and that opens doors to Europe and the wider world.’
The Angoulême International Comics Festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023. The resumption of international travel has meant participants and industry professionals were able to gather in person to celebrate this important milestone. The Hong Kong representative comics artists demonstrated their comics drawing skills every day, creating eye-grabbing performances to a large group of visitors. The 15 official entries from Hong Kong attracted considerable attention from overseas media, who were eager to learn more about Hong Kong’s unique comic culture. Global media outlets interviewed Hong Kong artists throughout the event, asking for their perspectives on what makes the Hong Kong comics scene so special. Upon returning to Hong Kong in March, 7 participating Hong Kong comics artists will share their exchange experiences and overseas licensing at a press conference.
The 15 comic books featured in Angoulême this time were published under the support and professional guidance of 1st HKCSP, which was organised by the 【HKCAF】 and sponsored by 【CreateHK】. The HKCSP provided assistance to 15 Hong Kong comics entrepreneurs and their chief artists to launch their brand-new original comic books, aiming to cultivate Hong Kong comics artists and local comics start-ups.
Fifteen Fantasies ‧ Hong Kong Comics @The 50th Angouleme International Comics Festival, France
Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Centre (Comix Home Base)
Co-organiser: Hong Kong Comics and Animation Federation
Sponsor: Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Supporter: Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels
In Association with: Angoulême International Comics Festival
Venue: Manga City (Booth No. MC8)
Venue: International Rights & Licensing Market (Booth No. RL34)
Hong Kong Comics Artists Attending In Person:
● Chi-kit KWONG
● Chivas LEUNG
● Linus LIU
● Pen SO
● Mimi SZETO
● Man TSANG
● WAH KEE
15 Featured Hong Kong Comics:
● Kuma CHAN Crash
● Jerry CHO Naraka Warrior
● Chi-kit KEUNG PANDOLA
● Chi-kit KWONG The Architect’s Epiphany
● Chivas LEUNG NIGHT NIGHT
● Linus LIU Cat Mask Boy
● Alice MA CMS Astronomical Research Team 1 The Mysterious Stone Pillar at Observatory
● Andy SETO Cyber Phoenix
● Pen SO See You In Memories
● Mimi SZETO A Little Step 1
● Stella SO The Stories At The Foot of Victoria Peak
● Man TSANG The Zeros
● Sam TSE The Last Soul – Overland 1
● Mimi TSOI The Land of MingYi – MingYi Yu Fei
● WAH KEE My Soul Mate
Extended Events: Live Drawing Demonstrations / Cocktail Reception – Meeting Hong Kong Comics Artists and Professionals! / Sharing Talk