Yue Ming (also known as Li Kong) is a talented cartoonist who is currently studying in Japan. She works in a range of styles, from dense penciled comics to painting. Her work has been published by Chinese comics collective Special Comix (SC漫画).
Paradise Systems: When you began reading comics, what was the first work you loved? What do you read now?
Yue Ming: The first comic I loved was Yao Feila’s The Dreaming Girl (梦里人), maybe because I thought it was similar to my own life. Recently I’ve been reading Daijiro Morohoshi’s Strange Tales. I don’t really like Daijiro’s drawings because they’re always extremely weird. Some parts of the stories are so strange that no one would say they’re good, but they’re still hard for me to forget.
PS: Do you have any thoughts on the difference between reading comics on paper and reading them on computers or cellphones?
YM: Although cellphones are very convenient, they have a different status in Japan. There are few comics you can read on your cellphone, and they’re much worse than what you can read in print. Japan has hardly any apps like the ones in China where you can read comics for free. They all require you to pay. It’s not too expensive, those who always pay to read are readers who are seeking out fresh work.
Japanese books are small, exquisite, and great for carrying. There are many second hand bookstores, and it’s cheap to print high quality, so the ratio of those on the subway who read cellphone comics to those who read paper is one to one.
PS: Some of your comics lack a direct narrative, and are more like a series of connected moments. What differences does this have from traditional methods?
YM: I prefer a group of cartoonists who work more poetically, that seek out the connections between images rather than strongly express a narrative.
Tateishi Tiger is a great example. I think it’s a kind of experiment that’s best suited to expressing abstract concepts through the images.
In this kind of work, time and space become muddled. The creator provides a state and a concept, and what’s left (the internal activity) is handed over to the reader’s imagination.