By Chung Ah-young
The 14th Bucheon International Comics Festival (BICOF) starts Wednesday under the concept, â€œSmartoon,â€ a combination of the words of â€œsmartâ€ and â€œcartoon,â€ at the Korea Manhwa Museum and Bucheon Media and Culture Complex through Aug. 21.
This yearâ€™s festival highlights the potential and wide range of comics in the digital era and introduces foreign works of digital comics.
The event explores the past, present and future of Korean digital comics.
The exhibition consists of five themes â€• Pioneers of Digital Comics; Hyung Min-woo and Priest; the Digital Restoration of the Ninth Myth; Present Conditions of Korean Digital Comics; and Digital Comics Technique.
The â€œPioneers of Digital Comicsâ€ section reinvents the early experimental pieces of web cartoons. Pioneers of online comics such as Scott Macleod, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Stephen van Dinther will participate to showcase their inspirational digital works.
In the â€œHyung Min-woo and Priestâ€ section, prominent cartoonist Hyungâ€™s illustrations and sketches will be on display. Renowned for his representative comic series â€œPriest,â€ Hyung is one of the most acclaimed Korean artists in the comics and graphic novel genre. In this section, an interview video with Hyung and original character figurines from â€œPriestâ€ and the process of making the character figurines will be demonstrated.
The â€œDigital Restoration of the Ninth Mythâ€ section is a meaningful project that presents the digitally restored issues of the comic magazine â€œThe Ninth Mythâ€ (1985-87) published by nine cartoonists including Kim Jin, Kim Hye-rin, Shin Il-sook, Lee Jung-ae, Lee Seung-hee, Hwang Mi-na and others. The magazine was a predecessor of the publication of â€œRenaissanceâ€ in 1988.
In the â€œPresent Conditions of Korean Digital Comicsâ€ section, the works by Koreaâ€™s representative Web cartoonists such as Kang Full, Kang Do-ha, Yoon Tae-ho and Ha Il-kwon will be exhibited.
The â€œDigital Comics Techniqueâ€ section is an introduction by leading U.S. online cartoon firm ComiXology of innovative online viewer technology. CEO David Timothy Steinberger of ComiXology will give a speech on Aug. 18 about the strategy of the comics industry in the era of smart media. The company transitioned comic books to the iPad and other tablets and has dominated Appleâ€™s top grossing apps list in the book category for the past couple of months.
Milton Griepp, CEO of ICv2, will overview the U.S. comic industryâ€™s digital situation, while Ferreyrolle Catherine, director of CIBDI, will present the operation strategy of the comic archives to adapt to technological environment.
Along with the themed exhibition, 11 other exhibitions including the late Kim Jong-rae exhibition, the Park Hee-jung exhibition and the commemoration exhibition of Huh Young-man will be held. Kim, the first-ever bestselling artist renowned for â€œThe Long Journey in Search of My Mother,â€ created comics shadowed with poverty and sad characters, reflecting the Korean pathos and sentiments of the 1950s and 1960s. During the period, Kim (1927-2001) produced numerous works based on traditional values. Born in Japan, Kim moved to Korea in 1946 and created â€œThe Story of Park Mun-suâ€ and built his reputation as one of the best dramatic comic artists with â€œThe Horizon of Tears.â€ Kimâ€™s family donated 474 volumes of his comic books to the Korea Manhwa Museum in 2010 and part of the donations will be exhibited during the festival.
Park, known for â€œHotel Africaâ€ and â€œMartin & John,â€ will hold her special exhibition at the Korea Manhwa Museum. She has a wide fan base for her emotional works both at home and abroad. Huhâ€™s donation of 15,000-page manuscripts to the Korea Manhwa Museum will be featured.
Also, a digital fair that showcases the distribution structure of Web comics and BPP (BICOF Promotion Plan) that is intended to open the door for more active investment in comics content are to be presented.
For more information, visit www.bicof.com or call (032) 310-3135.