The rise of the Asian comics: manga, manhua, and manhwa

Posted by Tamiko Ogura & filed under Uncategorized.

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Surely, you’ve heard of manga (Japanese comics) but you may be new to its cousins: manhua (Chinese comics) and manhwa (Korean comics) [we shouldn’t disregard the truyen tranh (Vietnamese comics) and komiks (Filipino comics)]. All three share common characteristics, but diverge in their themes and visual and narrative approach to showcase their own cultural and historical contexts.

In terms of manhua, a majority of them come out of Hong Kong, including ones made into films such as Fung Wan (Wind & Cloud) which became the cult film The Storm Riders; Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon; Hero; The Ravages of Time of the Three Kingdom period; and the Young & Dangerous series. Taiwan’s most popular contribution is The One, a girly comic about the fashion industry.

And climbing up the popularity charts has been the Korean manhwa…considered to be more poetic than Japanese manga. Incidentally, manhwa is read in the same diretion as English books–that is, horizontally from left to right because hangul is normally written this way. Internationally well-known is the Hyung Min-Woo’s (his pic above) manhwa PRIEST (pic to the right), a blend of gothic horror and Wild West. Priest has garnered attention from gaming and movies, with a Hollywood adaptation in the works right now (starring Gerald Butler)…

Priest spans the modern times, the Crusades, and the Wild West, and tells the story of humanity’s battle against 12 fallen angels, led by the archangel Temozarela. Despite having fought for God in the battle against Lucifer, the angels find that God had lost interest in them and is focusing his attention on humans. So the angels decide to rebel against God in light of God’s favoritism towards the human race…


*Understanding manhwa blog @

*Priest fansite:

*More Priest info @

*The Religious Beliefs of Priest @

*J-Pop info on Priest @

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