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Korean Comic Books Go Global

Posted August. 11, 2003 21:59,   


Are Korean comic books the next big thing in China, where Korean pop culture is enjoying phenomenal popularity? Seasoned comic book writers including Park Bong-sung has recently established a content firm titled `Comic Life,` and is now making a big push into the Chinese market. Advertising expert Oh Young-taek is heading the company, which has capital of 3 billion won.

The first shareholders` meeting held on August 8 was attended by such leading writers as Park Bong-sung, Gang Chon, Goh Haeng-seok, Kim Cheol-ho, Ya Seol-rok, Oh Il-ryong, Cho Myeong-hoon, Hwang Sung and Hwang Jae.

The first task of the content firm is to convert 60-episode Chinese TV series `Seven Swords, River, Sky and Mountain` into comic books. Hwang Sung, who wrote such hits as `Battle of Ten Kings` and `Sprits of Blood,` will turn the TV drama into 80 volumes of comic books to publish them in December this year both in Korea and China.

Director of the series Sikeu will have a press interview on August 12 at COEX, Seoul where the 2003 Seoul International Comic Book and Animation Festival (SICAF) is being held, and announce his plan to produce the sequel of the series. Comic Life expects that the comic book version will sell about 10 million copies in two countries.

The company is also developing `Gu Young-tan Star Project` plan, which will center on Goh Haeng-seok`s hit character `Gu Young-tan.` It plans to publish a comic book series `Ten Writers, Ten Colors,` which will introduce different translations of the character by ten leading comic book writers.

The project also includes a rock band `the Crying Nut` music video featuring Gu Young-tan and a sitcom. Goh Haeng-seok said of the sitcom, ˝Gyeong-tak (Cha Seung-won) in KBS TV series `the Bodyguard` fits the character of Gu Young-tan well.˝

Comic Life plans to open an Internet homepage (www.comiclife.net) on August 12 and provide some 6,000 volumes of comic books to four leading Chinese portals including Sina (www.sina.com) beginning November this year. It is also set to provide comic book content to Chinese dailies late this year, but has yet to decide which content to provide.

The content firm has also decided to create a comic book about the rock band `the Crying Nut.` It will also convert `Jeonggam Yeodo,` a TV drama starring Korean actor Jang Dong-geon, into a comic book series to publish it both in Korea and China.

Comic Life is set to take center stage at 2003 SICAF. Of SICAF`s three comic book strategic projects designed to link comic books to online games, characters and avatars, two has been awarded to the company.

˝Unlike Japan, Korea has adopted Chinese chivalry stories as one of comic book genres,˝ said comic book analyst Lee Myung-seok. ˝By appealing to Eastern sentiment, Korean comic books will be able to catch attention of Chinese readers.˝