Discussing Chinese Comics with Radii

Illustration of a cat reaching through a cellphone to touch a woman.

Radii featured an interview with Paradise Systems founder Orion Martin. Find the full interview here. Orion's comments are quoted below.

Historically, comics have been wildly popular in China. Lianhuanhua were a form of Chinese pulp comics that were a staple of Chinese print culture throughout the 20th century. They first appear in the 1920s, and then remain popular during the Communist era (Mao himself advocated using lianhuanhua as a tool to promote literacy). In the 1980s, there was a tremendous boom in lianhuanhua production, with 8.1 billion comics printed in 1985.

The lianhuanhua industry collapsed in the 1990s, and has now been largely forgotten, though some publishing houses continue to put out comics in a lianhuanhua style. Paradise Systems publishes a series of books that call back to the dimensions and format of lianhuanhua. We’ve published two so far, and I should stress that these books are distinctly contemporary works that abandon some of the stylistic formalities of lianhuanhua.