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Friday, 19 August 2016

Wong Yuk Long (TONY WONG) Interview, Batman Hong Kong -and then some!

It is a little odd.  That is Alfred and that is Bruce Wayne -and Batman.  It's Batman Hong Kong after all. Doug Moench wrote the story of course and he is very well known to us oldies as the man who wrote Master of Kung Fu for Marvel Comics (1975-77?). And fellow blogger Subzero has touched on this series a couple times:http://talesfromthekryptonian.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/master-of-kung-fu-monday-with-paul.html

Paul Gulacy, naturally, drew the comic and the team made it one of the comics of the 1970s.

But with Batman Hong Kong, Moench scripted for what the back cover blurb calls "international manga artist" Tony Wong. Seriously?  "Manga"??  Really, in Japan the comic form is Manga.  In Korea it is known as Manhwa.  But in China/HK it is Manhua. And there are more than a few Chinese who would be offended that that huge error.

The colours are the first thing that strike the eye but then there are all those tell-tale techniques of Hong Kong Manhua. At first I was a little unsure about the Batman drawn in a Manhua style but it does work.  I have no idea whether Night Dragon has ever appeared again (they probably changed him into a 15 year old African-American or something).  Pity.

Basically, the story is this: "When a serial killer begins to use a streaming video computer cam to broadcast his vicious executions, Batman must travel to Hong Kong to put an end to the brutal slayings. But when the Darknight Detective gets caught in the middle of a Cain and Abel feud between the Hong Kong police chief and the leader of the local triads, his only hope may rest in the hands of the mysterious Night Dragon, Hong Kong's native super-hero."

It's still widely available and on Amazon, so I'd very highly recommend it. And how can I not do a re-post about the great Tony Wong who is another creator I always wanted to work with but doubt I ever will!

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Some of this posting comes from my old freeservers Manhua site and I thought that since it was never published on any version of CBO -why not?

I've been writing articles about Manhua now for over 30 years.  That seems almost ridiculous but I've just checked and, yes, I wrote my first piece after a visit to China Town (London) and scoring a few Chinese Manhua -then, of course, Jademan Comics appeared suddenly before vanishing and leaving me broken hearted....sigh.

So, I've added more art and new bits and pieces.  I wonder whether Mr Dilworth remembers our Jademan inspired one off Chinese super hero strip featuring "Golden Tiger"??

Anyway, this post is about Wong Yuk Long and not me so...
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Drawing square jaws, ironing board thighs, and cosmic backdrops and influencing generations of comic book artists, Jack Kirby was and still is the King of Comics in America.
 In Hong Kong, Tony Wong is the king. Making his debut at 13 in 1971, he went on to dominate the Hong Kong industry by writing, illustrating, and publishing the Jademan Comics line of the '80s, which peaked, went public, and died in the stock market crash of 1987. In 1991 Wong was imprisoned for forgery, but upon release he founded Jade Dynasty comics and is doing better than ever. 
Most recently, he has expanded his audience by illustrating Batman Hong Kong for DC Comics.

GR: How do you feel about being called Hong Kong's King of Comics? How did you get the title? 

 
TW: I feel real honored to be crowned Hong Kong's King of Comics. I feel a stronger sense of social responsibility to do something for the Hong Kong comic industry. I feel blessed that my work and contribution in the past 30 years has been appreciated and recognized.

GR: You've created so many comic series. Which ones are you most proud of and why? 

 
TW: Dragon and Tiger Heroes is about a group of heroic youngsters. The story mixes martial arts from different countries, but Chinese kung fu is the dominant element. The exciting battles have won the hearts of many fans, and the series is the cornerstone of my comic business' success. The series has been published on a weekly schedule for over 30 years and will soon reach vol. 1500. Story of Weapons of the Gods adopts martial weapons into the main story, and incorporates principles of the Chinese mythology and martial art battles. It¹s been a great success, contributing to the associated product boom that generated manifold business opportunities.

GR: How do you feel about comics as art? Is there a division between high and low art? 

 
TW: There are high and low techniques of art, but there is no definite grading for it. It's a matter of how viewers appreciate, understand, and feel about it. Comics being viewed as an art is definitely very positive.

GR: Did you go to art school or have any mentors? 

 
TW: I didn't attend any art school. I was 6 when my eyes were first riveted to the comic sections in the newspaper. My elder brother inspired me to send my drawings to the publisher.


GR: What comics influenced you when you were growing up? 
TW: There are many comics that influenced me. From Hong Kong, Michael Hui's The Raid and Ho Yat Guan's Black Bat. From Japan, Saito Takao's 007 and Mikiya Mochizuki's Wild Seven.



GR: How are comics from Hong Kong unique? Are they different than Japanese or Korean ones? 
TW: The action, heroic spirit, detailed lines, and colorful images are better than Japanese or Korean comics. Also, Hong Kong comics are published weekly with an average of 30 pages, which is more exciting.

GR: What do you think of American comics? 
TW: Sundry style and heart-stopping story line.

GR: How did you feel when you got the Batman job? 
TW: Very excited. I found it to be very challenging. The style was specially arranged to tie in with the overall story.

GR: How do you keep up your rapid pace of drawing? 
TW: Because there's a deadline.

Above: Batman Hong Kong

GR: Do you have a special chair for drawing? 
TW: No, it's only an ordinary chair that I have sat in all these years.

GR: Do you listen to music when you draw? 
TW: I need to fully concentrate when I pick up my pencil, so I don't listen to music. However, once I start inking I will play some modern or classical music.

GR: Do you use a computer in your art-making process? 
TW: I only use my computer when I start to do the coloring and special effects. It's also handy and efficient when to use for saving the background, costumes, and weapons for future reference.

GR: A lot of your comics are now online. Is that the future of comics? 
TW: The Internet is just a media network. I believe that print is still the dominant media in comic books.

GR: I heard Donnie Yen is directing a film version Gate of the Dragon and Tiger. Are you involved in movie adaptations of your work? 
TW: I'm actively involved in the production of those movies, but the role of the director has not yet been confirmed.

GR: How do you feel about HK movie adaptations of comics like Storm Ridersand Young & Dangerous? Are they good for the comics industry or do they mess it up? 
TW: I personally believe that comics being transformed into animation, a movie, or TV series is the best. There's still room to grow, though. I think they can do a better job.

GR: I'm a big fan of the Deer and the Cauldron books by Louis Cha. What's it like adapting his novels? 
TW: I have no worries about the story line, so I only have to focus on the drawings. It is a very pleasant working experience.

GR: Did you draw when you were away from comics in 1991? Did this break affect your style? 

TW: Yes. There's more emphasis on the story line. Each volume's story and structure are associated and there's a harmonic balance between the martial arts battle scenes and story.
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 Which,oddly, is where the interview ended.  I am hoping, however, to try to interview Mr Wong for SBC online this Summer. ...yeah that fell through thanks to the new editor being insulting to Mr Wong (!).  But I have found a You Tube video of the man at work!  Thanks to uploader Jan Mai.


Above -guess?

Above: Sadly in Chinese no subtitles -but you get to see him work!


Above: Batman and Dragon from the BATMAN HONG KONG book for DC [c] 2007 DC/Wong

Below:Buddha's Palm. [c]1982 T.Wong 



Below: Drunken Master [c]1984 Tony Wong

below: Drunken Master 2 [c] 2014 Tony Wong 


Below: Young Rascals no.1 [c] 2014Tony Wong 
 

below:Young Rascals no.7 [c]Tony Wong



LITTLE RASCALS (ENGLISH TEXT)

LITTLE RASCALS

Wong Yuk-long's most popular comic was translated literally to English from Siu Lau-man,and carried connotations of a little gangster with anti social behaviour.  It was an original creation about a group of unemployed young hoodlums living in Hong Kong's Public Housing.

The story revolves around Wong Siu-fu and his elder brother,Wong Siu-lung,whose one hair covered eye brands him as "bad" [ah,now that explains the bad haircut---and maybe bad clothing style].  He turns away from crime to help his brother fight evil.  

The stories emphasize brotherhood,even though there is sibling fighting they still fight for justice
In the initial stories weapons used included chains,knives,clubs and so on which,of course,led to blood-spilling!  This changed as the series progressed so that wounds revealed the villains intestines,bones and more.  As can be seen from the covers not a lot was left out.
The positive message was not the main selling point after a while:the violence was.


Within a few years people were not just criticizing the violence in Little Rascals but other fighting comics also.
In 1975 the Indecent Publications Law called for less graphic violence.  Despite depictions of bloodshed still being common,Wong changed the title to Oriental Heroes and experimented with other ideas.


Nb:info taken from HONG KONG COMICS by Wendy Siuyi Wong
All Photos and art [c] the respective copyright owners.

Now, do I deliver or do I deliver?  No, I have no idea what I'm talking about either except that I just came across this news item about the man himself and his work -and please visit the site for a video of Wong and his work!
http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1313232/tiger-wong-and-creator-tony-wong-yuk-long-aim-draw-new-generation

Tiger Wong and creator Tony Wong Yuk-long aim to draw in new generation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 September, 2013, 12:00am


Tony Wong Yuk-long at East Point City. Photo: Nora Tam


When a statue of comic book hero Tiger Wong was being set up for an exhibition at a shopping mall, it was parents rather than their children who were getting out phones to take photos.

In the golden age of Hong Kong comics, Tiger Wong was the most popular cartoon character of the 1980s.
And his creator, Tony Wong Yuk-long, is now celebrating 50 years as a cartoonist - his work making its first appearance when he was just 13.

The exhibition at East Point City, Tseung Kwan O, is a celebration of his amazing career so far. "It will be quite nostalgic," said Wong, a comic book hero in his own right.

When his series Dragon and Tiger Heroes was at its peak, the comic book industry in Hong Kong pulled in annual sales of HK$300 million, Wong recalled. "But now we barely make HK$100 million a year."

Video: Tony Wong Yuk-long on his work as a cartoonist

The booming online game industry has pushed cartoonists further to the edge. "We've lost the young generation to online games, which happen to share the same subject as local comics - kung fu. It's not only readers, but also young talents," Wong said.

According to Hong Kong popular culture expert Yiu Wai-hung, the cartoon industry has been in serious decline since the 1990s.

"The government's crackdown on pornographic comic books in the 1990s made the whole cartoon industry look very bad in the eyes of the public," he said.

Real cartoonists should have adopted the pocketbook layout popular among Japanese cartoonists to differentiate their comics from the porn booklets and rebrand the industry, Yiu added.

Like Wong, Yiu has found the city's young generation would rather devote their talent to designing characters in online games rather than cartoon series. Their income and status is also higher than people entering the comic book industry.

Wong believes the industry could be revitalised if cartoonists would take on new subjects, such as romance and ghost stories, and develop merchandise, which has proved to be a huge success in Japan and the United States.

"It's also why I set up the exhibition - to introduce my works to the young generation," he said.
The exhibition runs from next Monday to October 20.

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