By John A. Lent
University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 978-1-62846-158-9, hardback, $60
For Immediate Release
The first comprehensive overview of comics production and creativity in Asia
Asian Comics (University Press of Mississippi) dispels the myth that outside of Japan, the continent is nearly devoid of comic strips and comic books. Relying on his fifty years of Asian mass communication and comic art research, during which he traveled to Asia at least seventy-eight times, and visited many studios and workplaces, John A. Lent shows that nearly every country had a golden age of cartooning and, recently, has witnessed a rejuvenation of the art form.
Organized by regions of East, Southeast, and South Asia, Asian Comics provides detailed information on comics of sixteen countries including their histories, key personnel, characters, contemporary status, problems, trends, and issues. As only Japanese comics output has received close and by now voluminous scrutiny, Asian Comics tells the story of the major comics creators outside of Japan. The nations covered here include China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
This book is the first comprehensive overview of Asian comics books and magazines (both mainstream and alternative), graphic novels, newspaper comic strips and gag panels, and cartoon/humor magazines. Lent has done exhaustive research on the subject and the volume is crammed with facts, fascinating anecdotes, and interview quotes from many pioneering masters, as well as younger artists.
Readers may be surprised to learn that Indonesia had a self-named graphic novel in 1965, that the revered King of Thailand solicited the drawing skills of a famous cartoonist to illustrate his books, that sexual and scatological cartoon magazines have thrived during Nepal's annual Cow Festival, or that a member of royalty, a national leader, and the founding heads of state in four countries drew those nations' first cartoons.
Liberally illustrated in some cases, with rarely seen images, and well documented with plentiful bibliographies, Asian Comics is a rich resource that will be of much interest to many types of audiences.
John A. Lent has founded and chaired or edited numerous organizations and periodicals, including Asia and Pacific Animation and Comics Association, Asian Research Center on Animation and Comic Art, Asian Popular Culture group of the Popular Culture Association, Asian Cinema Studies Society, Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei Studies Group, the International Journal of Comic Art, and Asian Cinema. He is the author or editor of seventy-six books.