Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Mei and I recently returned from a trip to China and Thailand to vacation and visit her family. While we were there I picked up a bunch of stuff, including these tiny old Chinese comics. They're roughly 3 1/2" tall, 5" wide, and of various thicknesses.

Many of them  have famous Disney characters, but I somehow doubt they're approved by Disney. It looks like they re-drew every image from a real Disney comic so the format matched the shape of these little books. Some have beautiful images, and then some are plain horrible.

I saw these books at several book shops in Guang Zhou, China. Some dealers were asking hefty prices for them, like $7 each, while others were selling the same books six for $1. The expensive dealers were firm on their prices too. Usually you can bargain with the dealers, but I couldn't get the expensive dealers to budge an inch on these. They said these books were collectible. Maybe and maybe not. Dealers in the other less expensive shops didn't treat them so seriously. They would fling handfuls into sacks, tearing them in the process as if they were garbage.

Mei told me these same old book shops we visited had been around since she was a little girl. Every single book, not just the comics, in these shops where old, and I wonder if these comics have been sitting on the shelves in there since they were new. Maybe Mei even picked up these exact books and flipped through them when she was a kid.

I grabbed a handful of Tintin comics and every Disney book I saw. There were a lot of famous Japanese characters mixed in too. It was real work to find some actual Chinese-specific character comics. I got a few but the pickin's were slim. I don't think Chinese illustrators draw many comics; I think they spend their time drawing wall art.

Some of these books were photo stories, with screen caps from old movies.

These three seem like actual Chinese characters to me. I'm guessing they are because they're about the Monkey King, who is popular in Chinese folklore. I need to ask Mei to be sure.

Look! Smurfs and Henry Hawk!

This is some kind of adventuring duck character. He fights robots and whatnot, and suspiciously resembles Donald Duck.

I asked Mei if this mean kid was actually cramming a feather duster up his dad's butt, or if I was just looking at it wrong. She said Yes, he's cramming a feather duster up the dad's butt, and the thought of it never phased her.

I'm not too keen on the drawings in this one, but I still like it because it's mostly wordless and I can understand the jokes.

Here are two:

These are all the "Disney" books I found.

Here's a typical inside page. You can see the images have been redrawn to fit the book's format. They aren't awful drawings, but there's something not quite right about them.

This elf character was pretty popular. I found piles and piles of books about him.

These elf comics are about the same size as a wiener dog's nose.

Look inside: Are people committing suicide in this kids comic?

All the comic panels are numbered. I guess that makes sense because I've seen some books in China read from left to right, while others read from right to left, or in columns top to bottom.

Here are some movie photo comics.

This one looks like a non-Asian movie.

There were bunches of kungfu comics. For some reason they were more beat up than all of the other comics, so I only got a few. Maybe the kids were practicing the kungfu moves they saw in mid-read?

THHHWIPP! I wonder if any kids practiced this move.

This was a box set of  six little comics that told one big story.

The covers have big, bright, colorful, fun action. So radiantly colorful in fact, I wonder if there's lead in the ink. Gulp.

Check out the action on the inside. How can you not love that?

I really like that whale painting below.

This is a page from inside the book in the above pic.

I found a bunch of Tintin books but only a few that still had all their pages.

These Tintin books were the thickest in the entire bunch.

I'm not sure if these Tintin comics were redrawn or not. The look pretty close to the originals, just formatted differently.

I bet Lucy wants to squat on these and "mark" them so other dogs know they're her property.

I like the drawings a lot in this one.

The cover of this book is in the last picture below, on the top of the stack on the left.

I probably spent less than $15 on all this! Now if I can learn to read Chinese it will have all been worth it!

I also got a stack of horror comics from Thailand. I'll try to get pics of them to post in the near future. During the next several days I'll be posting more pics from my trip. I hope you guys enjoy seeing it, because there's a lot.


  1. aH, YES. tHE "lEARN hOW TO cOMMIT sUICIDE" series from Mao Tse Tung's era. (Actually, if you read some of his writings he makes alot of sense). I like the idea that perhaps Mei touched some of these same comics as a little Girl. I love time travel thoughts like that ! We are all connected. Even if you don't learn to read Chinese, them pictures is UNIVERSAL. wHAT a SCORE !

  2. Lysdexicuss,
    Thanks for the visit! You are right; I'm enjoying them for the pictures. When I think about it, as a kid I think I mostly just looked at the pictures even in English comics.

  3. Hey Buddy, this is GREAT stuff! Thanx a Bunch!

  4. Eegah and Tabonga,

    Thanks for the visit and the comment!

  5. Staggeringly awesome! What a collection. They really remind me of that Batman manga book that came out a few years ago by Chip Kidd. Lucy!!

  6. I love that book you're talking about.

  7. What a treasure trove you've escorted home! I love finding stuff like this.

    Re: the Disney stuff...I drew layout poses for Tail Spin a few years ago, and Scrooge McDuck, and I can tell you that it doesn't take much to pull those characters off model. I had a ball working on that stuff...the model sheets were exceptional.

    Enjoy your vast collection, and lots of luck with your Chinese lessons!

  8. Willy, that's fantastic, you did some work for Disney! That used to be my ultimate goal in life. Later I realized they don't do animation in USA anymore so I figured it was a lost cause.

  9. where are you keeping all this stuff? your house must be overflowing by now. soon, you'll end up on that show, "hoarders"

  10. Pretty soon Mei's gonna have to move her shoe collection out to make room for my Chinese comics.

  11. "Pretty soon Mei's gonna have to move her shoe collection out to make room for my Chinese comics."

    Best of luck with that, my friend. I'm betting on Mei's shoes. Nothing comes between a woman and her shoes.

  12. This looks like a job for Evil Keith and his sneaky shoe-sabotaging abilities, heh heh

  13. what a haul of cool stuff Keith...love the Tin Tins and, well, heck, the entire haul...
    Love Lucy!

  14. the early Bruce Lee comics u have are valuable to the right collector looks like the big boss first Bruce Lee movie rare as


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