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  • interview | “storyof,” special comix editor: “possibility is everything”

    On the heels of Special Comix’s SC3 release, we caught up with Storyof (yes, his name is “Storyof”), one of book’s chief editors, to talk about the release, the SC comic collective, and what’s in store for the future. See below.

    For more from Special Comix on NeochaEDGE, link here. /// cy

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    Every time we read SC, we feel a sense of excitement not only because we love the stories, but because they represent the collective potential of China’s independent comic book artists. As one of the editors of SC, how do you characterize Chinese independent comic book artists? Why have artists with such different styles and stories all banded together within one book?

    I believe that there are many extremely talented people and SC is a platform to bring together the creative output of everyone. What’s most important is that we capture people’s talent and works and promote an attitude that we should not waste our days because we all have potential. The reason we band together for SC is to have unity in numbers and recognize everyone’s talent. We firmly believe that our diverse abilities and thinking can change the world. We all love comics and have a passion for them – this creates an enviornment in which we all have unconditional trust and help each other.

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    How is SC3 different from the first two editions? What’s in store for the future?

    The concept for the first book was “to gather together outstanding work and put together a book representing different comic styles.” The thinking behind the second book changed a bit to “to gather creativity from various disciplines to create a comic book collection showcasing those styles and stories.” Now, with SC3, the concept is even more specific – “produce a book that focuses on reality through various comic styles.” The evolution started with the simple naivety of just showing off comics and then moved to emphasizing narratives and stories in SC2. While SC3 continues on these goals, the theme for this collection is “the future” and we want to pay attention to reality as we think this can connect with the emotions of our readers.

    In the future, we want to publish more frequently with the goal of making the SC series a collector’s item for readers. To do this, we will release shorter, thinner collections with the hope of reaching a larger audience.

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    We all know that China needs independent culture. Original Chinese music, design, animation and even video games are gradually starting to come into the view of the mainstream with ad agencies, mainstream media, and brands starting to realize the importance of home-grown creativity. At the same time, there are many independent Chinese creatives who reject the mainstream. As an independent comic book artist yourself, what do you think about this contradiction of sorts?

    I think “independent” or “indie” can’t simply be interpreted as some type of resistance. Rather, it’s a love and passion for “possibility.” Of course, it includes a natural weariness of that which is repeated and overly conventional, but it is more a choice to explore and experiment. “Possiblity” is everything and alternative / indie thinking and art will give the mainstream a continuous vitality and sense of “new.”

    As a non-professional, part-time comic book artist, of course I hope that my work will be found and enjoyed by more people. I don’t reject the mainstream, but this may differ between individual comic book artists.

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    The theme of SC3 is “future.” Can you give us some examples from the book of how this theme was translated artistically?

    Sure,. For example, in Ivory Tower’s “Utopia,” she tells the story of traveling to utopia with all the scenes showing the journey along the way. The rhythm is poetic sometimes it’s fast, sometimes slow, evoking feelings of hope and loneliness. (see below)

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    Another examples is from Old Congee who tells a story from the days of SARS when the government was trying to conceal the truth around the epidemic. While satirizing the cruelness of our reality, it emphasizes our bright future. (see below)

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    MENZ’s vision of the future examines H1N1 by juxtaposing the perspective of a farmer and his chickens. While he sees it as a loss of property, what do the chickens think? (see below)

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    Have you ever looked into the demographic of SC readers? Those from the post-70 and post-80 generations can relate with the artists and the meaning behind their stories. For younger readers, what kind of influence does SC have?

    We have not done a formal suvey, but currently it seems as if many readers, as well as the participating artists, are from the post-80 generation. But as long as the work is genuine and up to par creatively, any reader and artist can find common ground. I personally don’t think age is very important. What’s most important is having a sense of curiosity, the ability to dream, and a love for different artistic styles. SC is still trying to find its core readership and its core readership is still trying to find SC.

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    Other than telling everyone that SC3 is finished and available for purchase, what would you like to say to readers? Is there anything from the process that you want to share?

    What we most want to say to our readers is that the possibilities of comic-book art far exceed our imaginations. The creative genre covers literature, painting, poetry, and the synthesis of all three – that’s what’s most charming about it. We hope you like SC3 and that you express your support for comic book art.

    In the process of making SC3, we have enjoyed an unending journey of discovery and refreshed our own understanding of comics.

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    Below are pictures from the Beijing release party of SC3. For more pictures, link here. ///

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    1. […] read the full transcript of the interview, link here. (Chinese language version of the interview […]



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