Chinese residents can now enjoy Chinese traditional literary masterpieces in a more relaxed way -- reading comic books, with the first 74 volumes of comic and cartoon books hot off the press, produced by the country's first cartoon production line.
The Hebei Provincial Art Publishing House invested over three million yuan (about 361,000 US dollars) to establish the country's first cartoon production center in 2002.
All of the books are based on Chinese traditional masterpieces, including "A Flower in an Ocean of Sin", "Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio", "The Travels of Lao Can" and "Exposure of the Official World".
Zhang Chenguang, head of the publishing house, said that the 40 cartoonists completed the first series of 5,000 pictures in only six months.
A competitive recruitment procedure was introduced by the publishing house to designate head cartoonists.
A number of famous cartoonists from Shanghai, Sichuan, Jilin and Anhui have joined the production group.
Zhang noted that China's comic and cartoon book market has great potential as indicated by a survey showing that annual cartoon-related consumption in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou has reached 1.3 billion yuan (about 157 million US dollars).
(People's Daily June 19, 2003)