Earlier this year, I was contacted by Mr. Petri Kittilä, a representative of the Arctic Comics Centre in Kemi, Finland. He told me he found Captain China while doing research on Chinese comic books and characters. He wanted to know if I’d be interested in providing him with some artwork of Captain China so he may exhibit it at the Arctic Comic Centre. I was pretty surprised by his offer and thought it was a real honor to receive such an unique invitation, so I whole heartily agreed to it. What came about a couple of months later was an even bigger surprise to me.
As you can see from the photo, it is an absolutely stunning display. To see your own creation treated with such respect and appreciation it is quite emotional. I was truly blown away by how nice of a job they did with the exhibition.
The Captain China Exhibition is on display right now at the Arctic Comics Centre in Kemi, Finland, Please go pay them a visit in you are in Finland. I also received an invitation as the main guest and speaker for the 2017 Arctic Comics Festival, which I will definitely be attending. So I do hope to see many of you comic fans there at the show!
Arctic Comics Center in Kemi
The Arctic Comics Center in Kemi is a small but well known Finnish cultural society which organizes annual Arctic Comics Festivals, produces exhibitions, does publishing and contributes to comics in various ways. The Arctic Comics Center has it's own comic and cartoon exhibition in Kemi. The opening of this permanent exhibition was held in April 2015, and some of the items on display have been previously seen in many short time exhibitions around Finland. The exhibition consists of, among other things, original artworks from over 20 Finnish and foreign comic artists, and more than 40 three-dimensional cartoon figure statues. These statues were made with the kind cooperation of art students from Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences.
The group has organized The Arctic Comics Festivals annually since 1981, and it became international in 1985. So far, more than sixty well-known illustrators, critics and researchers from all over the world have visited the worlds northernmost comics festival. This annual event (usually held every year on October) is supported by Kemi town and the Ministry of Education. The President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, acted as a patron at the 20th anniversary festival in 2001. She also visited The Comics Centre in autumn 2002.
For more information, please visit the official Arctic Comic Centre in Kemi website:
Ever since the launch of Captain China comics in 2012, articles and news reports have been appearing all across the internet. I've also received several interviews, fanart and even found cosplayer photos. Here is a collection of some of the most interesting stuff that has popped up in the past few years!
A fun Captain China parody video by Chinese website feidieshuo.com
Interview for China Files, a Italian site featuring reports from China.
Interview for Stamen Aus China, a German based news media site reporting on China.
Review article by James Fallows - National correspondent of The Atlantic and former chief speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter.
Reports and articles by American media sites:
Hollywood entertainment related news:
Reports and articles from around the world:
In the last 2 decades, American superhero characters have achieved success in both film and TV like never before. This explosion of popularity has continued to ripple with dozens of new movies and shows being announced all the way to 2020. Superhero properties have also gained huge momentum expanding onto other multimedia platforms such as video games and online content. It is a time period unseen before in American superhero history.
Yet, where unimagined success has been achieved by superheroes in every field of modern entertainment , the one area that has not only been unsuccessful and is currently on the decline happens to be comic books itself, the origin point of all these fantastical characters.
Recent news article on comic sales decline:
So why is that?
It is no secret that Marvel has dominated DC in comic book sales ever since Stan Lee retooled the superhero formula during the 60’s by making these simple candy-colored power fantasy characters more relatable with them mirroring our everyday plights. Superheroes suddenly have to fight villains and save lives while dealing with common problems such as catching a cold or the need to pay rent. Superhero books since then have become increasingly more layered and complex as the years go by, and one of the biggest stumbling block they face today is the "over-mirroring" of our current events and social issues.
Both Marvel and DC both have taken social agendas and have been emphasizing them more and more in their stories and characters. The biggest problem from what I can observe is that they are not putting out these stories to address the issue and make a difference, they are simply exploiting these idea in a hollow manner to raise sales. Homosexuality, feminism, religion, racial diversity, sexual deviances, and so on have been used as marketing ploys in pursuit of what they publicize as “expanding the readership”. No matter what type of comic books, whether American or Japanese, they are a form of escapist fantasy. While it’s good to reflect a certain degree of reality in entertainment, having too much can become a hindrance to a reader’s enjoyment. And what the big two publishers seems to have forgotten is that that the main target demographic for superhero comics (ever since the inception of Superman), are kids, adolescent boys and teenagers, and they don’t buy comics for those reasons! And these special groups they try to target in general do not read superhero comics on a regular basis!
“Who in the world are you guys trying to sell these books to?” "Do they think kids responds to this stuff?" are the questions I frequently ask myself when I see images like this from recent comics.
It’s disheartening to see how the comic book industry has gone against the successful business formula they have been practicing (solid characters, fun action, good storytelling) and abandoned them for fluff pieces or shock values that will not sustain them. Marvel and DC make all these efforts to try and create media coverage to spike sales, but with each what they deem successful attempt, it ends up eroding their core fanbase more and more in the long run. Loyal readers who have purchased superhero comic books for 10, 20, 30 even 50 or 60 years have now started to drop their habits of buying them. These books are no longer the type of entertainment that caters to their escapism. All these great characters the core fanbase look up to as heroes and role models no longer stand for the morality and decency that is so fundamental with the idea of what it is to be an American superhero.
Superhero comic books are hitting an all time low while everything else related, whether it’s movies, TV shows, games, toys, apparel, candy and merchandise are soaring in sales and popularity. And that’s because these other media are portraying them correctly in the public eye.
Imagine a kid just coming out of the latest Captain America movie feeling excited and wanting more of his adventures. You take him into the local comic shop and this is what you find inside the newest issue of Captain America comic...
It’s absolutely ridiculous to have the latest Captain America movie crossing over into the billion dollar mark while it’s comic book counterpart pullings in only around 60,000 copies.
And I strongly believe that if Marvel and DC want to regain their sale numbers for comics, they have to restore their characters’ principal and morality back to the basics and direct their business strategy toward the right demographic audiences again!
Fore more related reading you can check out some of these articles.:
In the past week, news broke out over DC Comics adopting a new logo again. It is definitely not the first time the company has made such a change, but what makes it so jarring is that this is the third logo DC has switched within the past 10 years.
Amit Desai, DC Entertainment Senior Vice President of Marketing and Global Franchise Management stated: “The launch of the new logo is the perfect tribute to DC’s legacy, exciting future and most importantly, our fans.”
And with that reasoning in mind, DC's logo moving backwards in a retro appeal invoking the 1972 version is completely baffling. Since most comic fans still consider the "DC Bullet" from 1976 the best looking design. Why not use it again or have something similar? Even when I was buying DC comics as a kid, I always thought how the bold text within the circle made it looks very official like a Presidential seal, and how the 4 stars made it feel all American!
So of course many on the internet reacted negativity towards the change, seeing it as nothing more than a desperate and needless act to save the company. It is no real secret that DC comic sales has always been behind Marvel, and not to mention currently losing out to them in the cinemas as well.
But can changing a company's logo actually help boost sales and interest? Is a logo really that important? The answer is YES (to a good extent)! But a logo has to be more than just a pretty image. It has to represent your company's "business identity".
Let us take a look at Marvel Logo evolution for comparison sake:
There are definitely many aspects to to be considered such as colors, ascetics, or meaning when designing a company logo, but the most important point is the how the logo must correctly represent what type business it is associated with. Your company logo has to inform the viewer of what your company is all about in a single glance. That is the mindset I frequently find missing in a lot of small companies' logos. They either copy something famous, or just go with a trendy "cool look".
Excel Comics went through numerous drafts during its logo design phase. We hired an experienced commercial logo designer for the job and here was the first batch of concepts he turned in:
And Hector was right because here's what we got back as the second batch of designs:
We liked (d2) and felt the lightening bolt makes an exciting statement, but it still needs some more refinery and must incorporate the word COMICS as part of the design. So the designer went back to the drawing board came back again wth these:
Hector and I both thought (e2) was clean, simple, and straight to the point. So after some final adjustments, we at last had our very proud comic company logo!
Marvel is Red, DC is Blue... so we chose the last remaining primary color Yellow to stand in contrast. And perhaps if give enough effort and time and luck, we can also drop the word COMICS and move ahead towards an even bigger future!
Today, I'd like to talk a bit about Excel Comics' lost member Hector Collazo.
I first Met Hector when I was just staring out as an intern at Marvel Comics in 1993. We hit it off immediately and that was probably due to the fact we both came from the same art school (New York High School of Art & Design). At the Time Hector worked as an editor in Marvel’s Special Projects department, which is primarily involved with developing specialized comics for use with snacks, candies, toys, movies or any company that wants to officially produce a Marvel comic book as a promotional tie-ins.
Of course, not everyone got into comic business to be an editor, so it wasn’t long before Hector began seeking out some freelance work as an artist at both Marvel & DC. Shortly afterwards, he landed his first regular gig as the Inker for Daredevil during the now famous "Fall from Grace" storyline.
But around 1995, the independent comic market was on the rise and overall sales for Marvel and DC started to become stagnant. Many of us at Marvel began discussing creator-owned projects during our spare time. Hector went into development of his own superhero/crime noir comic titled "Crime Buster", and asked me to provide the coloring design for the visuals. And that was really the first time we had a chance to work together.
But the American Comic book industry suffered a complete collapse that resulted with even Marvel Comics filing for bankruptcy in 1997. There were massive layoffs at both Marvel and DC with many smaller comic companies disappearing overnight. A lot of people lost their jobs and money in the process, and our independent projects never saw fruition simply because we just couldn't sustain them. Hector and I both moved out of New York and onto new jobs, but we stayed in touch from time to time.
The comic industry has since recovered in the 10 year period but it was still a shadow of its former glory. With the continuing rise in cover price and shrinking of the retail market, It did't seem like a good idea for any of us to try getting back into the business through traditional means. But due to the rapid emergence of Digital Reader devices and online distribution by 2007, I felt there was a chance that we could approach comic book publishing this way. I started discussions with Hector regrading this route of business and he whole heartily supported the venture.
After I took trips in both 2008 & 2009 to China, it had dawned on me that China is a rapidly growing foreign market in need of entertainment properties, and that is when I redirected the company's focus in producing comic books for the Chinese audience. The Captain China idea was conceived and Hector had a direct hand in the early character design process.
Hector's support and contribution to to my company Excel Comics is immeasurable. His unexpected passing is a tremendous loss not just to me but everyone who knew him. Here is the only photo I've ever taken with Hector. This was us having a good time at the York Comic Con in 2009.
Lastly, I would like to share some of Hector's fantastic artwork from his portfolio. He developed this unrefined minimalist style which I thought was completely unique within the industry. Capable of expressing so much power and dynamics with so few lines, his art is truly a gem that is lost to the entire comic book industry and for all the comic fans out there.
Wish you were still here my friend!
It's been a long time in the making but Excel Comics is finally back online again! One of the main reasons it took so long is because I've been occupied with running a retail store in the past two and half years. It was an unexpected business venture which resulted with me owning and managing an anime shop here in Orlando Florida.
My day pretty much starts with an hour's drive to work, then about 8 hours of dealing with customers, ordering merchandise, organizing shelves, calculating expenses or paying bills. It ends with another hour of driving home, so all of this leaves me with very little time to work on comic books. If lucky, I’m able to squeeze in about 2 to 3 hours of comic production before going to bed.
I generally devote whatever spare time I can these days to juggling all the necessary components such as writing scripts, planning new projects, making art corrections, and of course rebuilding this website… and it always feel like I don’t have enough time!
Another difficulty I had to overcome is the lack of money. It’s actually very expensive to produce a professional comic book and to keep it going. And with the way American comic book industry has been stuck in the gutter for the past 20 years, it is almost impossible to make any money if you are operating as a small independent press.
Despite all of this I kept pushing on because I really do enjoy doing comic books, and I strongly believe in Captain China and all the great projects this company will have to offer. Which is why for the better part of the last 2 years, I’ve been working relentlessly on translating Captain China into multiple languages for a world wide release. As of this moment, 5 different translations (English, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and Russian) are already completed and you can purchase and download all of them right here at this site.
As far as I know, Excel Comics is now the world's first and only multi-language digital comic book publisher. And I really want to thank you all for your patience and support because even bigger and better things are still to come!
雖然等待很長一段時間, 但卓越漫畫的網站終於能再次上線! 其中停止這麼久的主要理由是因為在過去 兩年半的時間我一直忙著經營一家零售商店。一個意想不到的商機儘然讓我在佛羅里達奧蘭多這裡擁有自己的動漫精品店。
我每天差不多開一小時的車去工作, 之後8小時内需要與客戶打交道, 訂購商品, 整理貨架, 計算費用, 或支付賬單, 最後再一個小時開車回家。這一切使我有很少的時間製作漫畫。如果幸運的話, 我大概
能在睡前擠出2至3小時的時段來做點漫畫。通常一有任何空餘時間, 我就會多項作業, 如寫劇本, 策劃
新書, 檢查作畫, 和重建這個網站... 但我總覺得我沒有足夠的時間!
另一個必須克服的困難是缺錢。專業漫畫製作在實際上是非常花費的商業, 再來因美國漫畫業銷售量在過去20年來一直停留在谷底 (包括漫威和DC), 在這種情況下經營一個獨立漫畫公司, 幾乎是不可能 賺到什麼錢。
即使是這樣我依然默默地努力前進, 其中也是因為我真的很喜歡做漫畫, 而且我堅信中國隊長和其他
(英文, 中文, 西班牙文, 意大利文, 和俄文), 而且您也可以從這個網站用電腦或手機直接購買和下載任何一個版本。
據我所知, 卓越漫畫現在是全世界唯一的多語言數位發行個人漫畫出版商。 我也真的要感謝大家的耐心 和支持, 因為有更強更好的作品都還在後頭, 即將來臨!
虽然等待很长一段时间, 但卓越漫画的网站终于能再次上线! 其中停止这么久的主要理由是因为在过去
我每天差不多开一小时的车去工作, 之后8小时内需要与客户打交道, 订购商品, 整理货架, 计算费用,
或支付账单, 最后再一个小时开车回家。这一切使我有很少的时间制作漫画。如果幸运的话, 我大概
能在睡前挤出2至3小时的时段来做点漫画。通常一有任何空余时间, 我就会多项作业, 如写剧本, 策划新书, 检查作画, 和重建这个网站... 但我总觉得我没有足够的时间!
另一个必须克服的困难是缺钱。专业漫画制作在实际上是非常花费的商业, 再来因美国漫画业销售量在过去20年来一直停留在谷底(包括漫威和DC)。在这种情况下经营一个独立漫画公司, 几乎是不可能
即使是这样我依然默默地努力前进, 其中也是因为我真的很喜欢做漫画, 而且我坚信中国队长和其他
卓越漫画进行中的计划将会给读者带来极大的娱乐。这也是为什么在过去的2年大部分的时间里, 我一直利用个种机会把中国队长翻译成多国语言向全世界发布。在这一刻, 我已经完成了5种不同的翻译 (英文, 中文, 西班牙文, 意大利文, 和俄文), 而且您也可以从这个网站用电脑或手机直接购买和下载任何一个版本。
据我所知, 卓越漫画现在是全世界唯一的多语言数位发行个人漫画出版商。我也真的要感谢大家的耐心和支持, 因为有更强更好的作品都还在后头, 即将来临!