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5 home / october 2002 / feature Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Animefringe Coverage:
Curtis Comic - Bringing Manhwa into the Public Consciousness
By special guest Isaac Alexander

Animefringe is pleased to present an interview with Curtis Lee the President of the North American Manhwa distributor Curtis Comic (www.curtiscomic.com). Manhwa is a term to describe Korean comics, much like manga being a term used to describe Japanese comics.

Animefringe/Isaac Alexander: Can you give some personal information about yourself and how you became interested in comics?

Curtis Comics/Curtis Lee: I was born in Korea and came to United States when I was in high school. I've been really into comic books since I was young. I was growing up familiar with the American comic books like Spiderman, Superman, Batman, etc.

AF: What do you think the North American perception is of Manhwa?

CC: I don't think the majority of comic fans in North America knows about manhwa yet since it's pretty new. However, the reactions I have received from people who know or read manhwa is pretty positive and hot.

AF: What made you decide to start Curtis Comic?

CC: I started Curtis comic to introduce quality Korean Manhwa to many comic lovers. Also, I would like to spread manhwa in North America as well asother parts of the world.

AF: Are you self funded, or do you have a corporate parent?

CC: Yes, I am self funded.

AF: Where are your comic artists and writers located (Korea or North America)?

CC: All the artists and writers are currently in Korea and I am planning to invite some of them to Comic-Con (San Diego) next year.

AF: Do you license the titles directly with the artist/writers, or publishers?

CC: I have copyrights from the publishers.

AF: What publishers do you license your titles from? Are the titles you are selling available in Korea or Japan?

CC: All of our titles are available in Korea. Some of titles are still continuing back in my home country.

AF: Any thoughts about doing a compilation publication such as Animerica Extra or Super Manga Blast of your titles?

CC: I don't have immediate plan to do compilation publications right now. We'll possibly release them in the future.

AF: You've chosen to release titles from a variety of genre's (Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, and Sports). What led you to this decision?

CC: Each person has different taste. I thought it would be nice to have a variety of genres of comics. For example, Into The Storm is about car racing and Extreme is about inline skating. I thought these titles would grab people's attention who like those sorts of titles.

AF: What titles are your favorites?

CC: I like all of them. If I had to pick my favorites then they would be PSI, Slasher, and Into The Storm.

AF: What is the difference in your opinion between manga and manhwa other than what countries each come from? Do you plan to market your comics differently than manga?

CC: They are similar but since they are from different cultures, they both create different themes and stories. I tried to pick different types of works from manga.

AF: Do you plan to release your comics in a graphic novel format? What is the time frame for this?

CC: I plan to do graphic novels sometime in next year.

AF: What are your thoughts of other manhwa titles being picked up such as Ragnarok from TOKYOPOP?

CC: When someone picks up a title from TOKYOPOP in my opinion, they will think it's manga that they have purchased. Isn't Tokyo the capital of Japan after all?

AF: Are you aware of any other companies that have released manhwa in North America?

CC: So far I think TOKYOPOP is the only one.

AF: Would you consider licensing manga as well as manhwa?

CC: I have it mentioned on my website that I will specialize in manhwa only. I might make more money if I do manga as well but that's not what I want.

AF: Do you plan to have your comics sold in places other than comic book retailers?

CC: Only retailers will sell my comic books.

AF: Do you plan to release any other products other then manhwa (Korean Animation, toys, models, etc..)?

CC: I will do animation, toys and models such as action figures in the future.

AF: What public conventions and festivals do you plan to attend to promote your company?

CC: I have been at Otakon convention, Comic-Con (San Diego), and Dragon-Con so far. I plan to attend Wizard-Con, Pittsburgh Comic-Con and Comic-Con (San Diego) next year.

AF: Any last words you have for potential readers of your titles?

CC: "WE MAKE YOU HAPPY NO MATTER WHAT MOOD YOU'RE IN..." this is my company slogan and my goal to you readers.

Here's some links to sites about Manhwa:
http://www.cartoon.or.kr
http://www.sequentialtart.com/ao_0902_4.shtml
http://www.ybfree.com/1MANHWA1.html
http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Garden/3416/manhwa.html

Isaac Alexander: Former Editor In Chief of Anime News Network and the current Corporate Liaison for Sakura-Con 2003.

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