Without hesitation, I congratulate the organisers of the Bucheon International Comic Festival (BICOF) and the International Comic Artist Conference (ICC) for organising yet again another Comic Festival and Conference that brings local, international and Asian artists together. ICC is a non-government exchange organization that promotes mutual and cultural understanding among comic artists around the world.
This event took place at the ManHwa Gyujjanggak Museum a massive complex with several stalls, a 4D-theatre, a Press centre, various exhibition floors, a Comic library and a cartoon museum to name but a few. Over 300 comic artists from more than 20 countries worldwide all gathered at the Conference.
My sincere thanks to ICC official Ms. Sophie Jang and the ICC Organisers who were relentless in ensuring that I visit this lovely country of pleasant and respectable people.
I alsoÂ learnt to bow, a form of greeting or call it respect. I was able to participate at the conference which took place in Bucheon about fifty minutes drive from Seoul. I enjoyed staying at first in downtown metropolitanÂ Seoul which was a very busy city. Korea has not forgone it’s traditions but has embraced the digital technology with style and noticeable as at when the need to use technology arises. Comic artists also have to move with times and this is just not a fact but it’s real.
From small gadgets to big ones, comics are on mobile phones, ipods, ipads, Xboxes and more.Â Various digital companies were represented at the festival highlighting the importance of comics and the need to tap into this growing industry. Having been a contributor to the Comic Festivals in the past, I am delighted that such an important venture continues to break all grounds in the area of promoting comics, works of comic artists, digital art and animation. This kind of venture continues to enable artists to come together under one roof and share works together with each individual’s distinctive skills and techniques and also to discuss comic art. Sharing the past, present and future of comics is essential to the industry’s survival.
An industry which continues to be prosperous because comic art is a universal language. The festival was able to bring together artistsÂ who probably would not have met each other from countries such as Mongolia, Finland, China, Japan, Macao, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Nigeria, Ukraine, Iran, Cambodia, Turkey, Russia, Singapore and from several other nations. I also noticed that Asia has more female Comic artists than the West. An editor of Marvel Co. Ltd the bubblyÂ C.B. CebulskiÂ was also invited to give a lecture on comics from a U.S. perspective. The official opening of the Festival had live actors and actresses re-enact Comic characters and showcase their martial arts skills.Â The Mayor of Bucheon, Kim Man-Soo believes that this Comic Festival is bound for greatness. He was present at the Festival with many other Korea government officials. The popularity of comic art and the adaptation of comics into live or animated feature length movie, has made the world pay attention to Comics and Comic artists.
Meeting and seeing him at work first hand, was a satisfying highlight of the conference. Walls were beautifully adorned with the works of the artists taking the “Open House” tour. There was also time for the invited artists to do some figure drawing by drawing the human anatomy. An important aspect of drawing figures.Â This Conference has been wonderful and with it, I believe that many bridges will be and can be built through comic art locally and internationally. Flying out of Incheon International airport one could not but notice how the departure lounge was looking more like one big shopping mall. There are shops within the vicinity of every boarding gate.