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The Database

Chinese Comic Heroes are a global crowd: they range from Tarzan to Monkey and from Hitler to China’s First Emperor. While little studied, the impact of comics on the formation of popular culture and cultural memory — because of their popularity, they have been one of the most highly recognized and reglemented art forms in the Chinese cultural canon — is not to be neglected. The HRA comic database offers digitized versions of Chinese comics, especially those which appear in the form of small rectangular pocket-books (ca. 13 x 9 cm) with stories containing a picture on the top and a short narrative on the bottom, the dominant form of comic popular in China since the 1920s. They would have been available cheaply not just in urban areas, but also in the more remote areas of China: at the barber’s, in the trains, at the hospital and at the streetsides. Thus, by the very nature of the medium, they may be considered the most popular of all art forms, they “planted the seeds for ideals and knowledge in the hearts and souls” of China’s youngsters, as Jiang Weipu 姜维朴 (1926- ), one of the most famous chroniclers of comic art in China has stated.

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