19 May 2015
Comic Con Shanghai
China’s comic scene has arrived. With the first Comic Con in China premiering in Shanghai this last weekend, you can tell the international comic community is starting to establish itself. In high school and college I frequently attended these types of conventions in the US, and I’m very excited to see this type of community emerge in China.
This past weekend, Shanghai’s local community of comic enthusiasts, gamers, cosplayers, and DIYers came together to ogle at chicks in spandex and pose with giant Adventure Time statues. For quite some time China has had interest in Japanese style of comics and cartoons, and was seemingly un-aware of the western realm of comics. The fact that international superhero blockbusters like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are starting to open in theaters around China is garnering interested in the western sphere of comics.
Upon entering Shanghai Comic Con, you can immediately see the corporate push to take a foothold in the Chinese market. Marvel is everywhere. This isn’t a bad thing, but my hope is that Chinese audiences will not be satisfied with just corporate merchandise shoved in their face. One thing I noticed was the lack of comic books at the “comic” convention. Back in the US the Comic, Gaming and Sci-fi Cons are more of a lifestyle event, where people come to make connections with one another. This often leads to after parties, exchange of goods and support of the local communities. I was a bit disappointed to see that the Comic Con was a bit more of a spectacle than a community event. When I used to go to Cons in the US there was plethora of small booths, with all kinds of indie and corporate artists and writers promoting their projects. In the SHCC there was almost none to be found, aside from a few dedicated web comic illustrators.
Even though the whole event seemed very corporate and targeted, on the whole most attendees showed genuine interest in the culture. I’m hoping this influx of comic culture will resonate with the local populace to inspire the creation of a new breed of local Chinese comic book artists.