Avenue of Comic Stars opens in Kowloon Park with statues of characters
The world's first Avenue of Comic Stars (above left) opened in Kowloon Park yesterday, with fans having fun in the sun.
Tony Wong Yuk-long, president of the Hong Kong Comics and Animation Federation, and Gregory So Kam-leung (right), the Secretary for Commercial and Economic Development, officiating at the ceremony.
The landmark, featuring 24 characters dating back to the 1960s, aims to promote comic culture. The fibreglass figures placed along the 100 metre long avenue include the satirical Old Master Q who first appeared in 1962, Wang Xiao Hu, the lead character in the kung fu comic Tiger and Dragon Heroes, and McMug, a cartoon pig in a comic book dedicated to covering social issues and contemporary culture.
The figures, built at a cost of HK$1.5 million to HK$2 million, are up to three metres high. The Hong Kong Comics and Animation Federation and the Hong Kong Productivity Council organised the exhibition, with government money, and will last three years.
However, while Hong Kong is the third-largest comic exporting region in the world after Japan and the US, Wong who is also a veteran artist, said fewer people were joining the industry.
"Apprentices have to spend a long time in the comic world and they may not have the passion and talent," said Wong, the creator of Tiger and Dragon Heroes. "There is now the minimum wage; what can you do if he lingers in the workshop for 12 hours?"
John Chan Yu-fung, who has been drawing comics for 10 years and created the cat-like character Din-dong, another of the exhibits, said: "Academies should provide professional training on the script and theme, not just [drawing] skills. We should think about how to reflect the local culture through comics." Text: Jolie Ho; Photos: K.Y. Cheng