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Comics Art in China$
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John A. Lent and Xu Ying

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496811745

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496811745.001.0001

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Reform, Modernization, Market Economy, and Cartooning

Reform, Modernization, Market Economy, and Cartooning

(p.107) Chapter 5 Reform, Modernization, Market Economy, and Cartooning
Comics Art in China

John A. Lent

Xu Ying

University Press of Mississippi

The deaths of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in 1976 and subsequent arrests of the “Gang of Four” for their perpetuation of the Cultural Revolution paved the way for cultural reform, including in the realm of cartooning. After some hesitancy, cartoonists attacked the “Gang of Four” and in some cases, followed the “Scar” art tenets that gave them a sense of individualism and advocated that the audience be active. Professional cartoonists organizations were instituted and individual cartoonists began to organize common people into worker-related cartoon groups for farmers, workers, and soldiers. New satire periodicals and columns in newspapers provided outlets for cartoonists. Lianhuanhua sales peaked and then bottomed out; Japanese-originated, Chinese manga hybridized with new comics (xinmanhua), and independent cartoonists popped up as comic book and online artists. The state played key roles in supporting comics and animation with large sums of money, tax incentives, and subsidies, but also continued as a regulator and censor under a revamped infrastructure, and found ways to use comic art to suit its purposes.

Keywords:   cultural reform, “Gang of Four”, “Scar art”, market economy, cartoonists organizations, farmer/workers/military cartooning, satire magazines, xinmanhua, government and cartooning

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