By Wu Ziru
BEIJING, April 22 -- With all 100,000
first-edition-copies sold out almost instantly after it hit the market, Tibetan
Rock Dog, a comic book written by rock star Zheng Jun, has successfully
emerged as one of the most popular cartoons in China while simultaneously
getting attention abroad.
"A series of related merchandise, such as dolls and
movie, will also be produced-a commercial mode Chinese cartoon industry has
never adopted before," says Ju Lang, the general manager of Denghuo Culture, a
studio taking charge of the whole business involving Tibetan Rock Dog.
The cover of Tibetan
Rock Dog, a comic book written by rock star Zheng Jun. (File
According to the author, only two weeks after its
publication, several foreigners from Western cartoon companies called him to
discuss proposals for shooting films based on this comic book. "It really came
as a pleasant surprise to me," says Zheng.
"I'm really glad that my book is welcomed by so many
people and now we are trying our best to develop a few merchandise around this,"
says Zheng, adding that editions in English, Japanese and French will be
launched soon after.
However, for most Chinese cartoonists, such
opportunities are hard to come by. With the huge domestic market almost divided
up by foreign cartoons, especially those from Japan, they have to struggle to
create demand for their own local cartoons. Promoting them in foreign markets is
"The Achilles' heel is we don't have good stories
although there are a large number of talented painters and cartoonists here,"
says Wang Wei, an independent researcher on cartoons. "Cartoon in China is
totally a new industry and most of the cartoonists here are trying desperately
to imitate Japanese cartoons. This means that we don't have our own style at
But Tibetan Rock Dog, widely praised as a comic book
with a fantastic story and beautiful illustrations, has made a breakthrough by
throwing up some very original concepts.
"This is why it is so well-received since it came to
the market," says Zang Yongqing, chief editor of the Modern Publishing House,
the publisher of Chinese edition of Tibetan Rock Dog.
"As a talented rock singer, Zheng is also very good
at writing and he offered us a very good story here, which is chiefly
responsible for the success of this comic book," says Zang.
Zheng Jun, famous Chinese rock star and
cartoonist. (Photo: Global Times)
Combining Zheng's three loves -- music, cartoon and
animal-Tibetan Rock Dog tells a story of Metal, a Tibetan mastiff, who grew up
in a Buddhist temple in Tibet, and then went through many hardships to pursue
his dream of rock music in Beijing.
With modern elements like rock music and trendy
words, which are familiar to readers both from home and abroad, the book
actually praises traditional Chinese virtues such as loyalty, courage, and
"First, you need to pursue your dream with all your
heart, but you are not able to achieve it at all costs," says Zheng. "All you
should bear in mind is that there is always something more important than your
dream, that is, love and loyalty."
Those virtues, long cherished as Chinese traditions,
are inclined to be embraced by people around the world, and that is why the
author and his team are confident about the future, according to Ju.
Tibetan culture is another highlight of this comic
book. Widely known for his rock song Come Back to Lhasa, Zheng says he is crazy
about everything in Tibet. Growing up in Tibet and learning the secrets of
Esoteric Buddhism, the Tibetan mastiff Metal is actually a metaphor for the
But making a Chinese comic book widely accepted
internationally is no easy task. Despite the challenges ahead, Zheng is
confident he will spare no effort to pursue his dream of making Chinese cartoon
popular internationally. Since he believes, compared to rock music, cartoon is a
universal language, which surpasses the boundaries of different cultures. Zheng
is happy that he ultimately "found another way" to express his deep feelings
about things going on in the world.
(Source: Global Times)