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Statistics :
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Interview with Andy Seto : A Kung fu comic creator
Interview Andy Seto Page 1
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
Date : 1/8/2003
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Stephen Chow Sing Chi
Andrew Lau Wai Keung
Ang Lee
Tsui Hark
Movies :
Black Mask 2 : City Of Masks
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
The Legend Of Zu
Shaolin Soccer
The Storm Riders
Lexic :
Mo Lai To
Wu Xia Pian
< Previous
Interview by Thomas Podvin, August 2003.

Many thanks to Andy Seto for his time and patience.

We extend our thanks to ComicsOne and Nicole Curry who allowed us to make this interview.

Pictures are courtesy ComicsOne. All right reserved.

Andy Seto has worked in comics for nearly 20 years. He created the 'Cyber Kung Fu' genre with comics such as Cyber weapon Z and Saint Legend. He has recently adapted Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In 2003 he adapts in a graphic novel Stephen Chow's masterpiece Shaolin Soccer.

introduction to andy seto

Andy Seto has worked in comics for nearly 20 years. In 1989, he joined Freeman Publications Limited, and created Sword Kill followed by the famous Gambling Saint. During 1993, He made his first big series Cyber Weapons Z with writer Chris Lau. It was later adapted into an animation series.

Upon its creation, he became the star of the comics world in Hong Kong. Fast forward a few years, in 1997, he served as illustrator for Story of the Tao, which was originally a novel. Then he went to establish his own company - Neo Company Limited. Over the following couple of years Seto and Neo Company Limited acquired the copyrights to illustrate The King of Fighters Z, and Saint Legend, both of which were well received. Seto has always been inspired by Japanese mangA Sriter and 'Venus War' and 'Orion' creator Yasuhiko Yoshikazu.

In 2002 Seto took on the challenge of producing the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon series adapted from Ang Lee's movie. In 2003 Andy Seto has adapted in a full colour 128-page graphic novel the multi-award winner Soccer - Kung Fu flick Shaolin Soccer by Stephen Chow Sing-chi.

HKCinemagic : Working on this interview I realised that you were very much acclaimed by comic aficionados from all over Asia and the USA. You have fans in France and you came here for interviews and autograph sessions. Please, can you briefly present yourself and tell us about your work for those who don't know you yet?
Andy Seto : Like many others, I’m just trying to make the best out of my living. Maybe I’m lucky to have my hobby as my career. Besides comics, cars are my favorite. Driving relaxes me after a hard day’s work. Everyday I work from noon to midnight, but inspiration can come at anytime. My comics can be in the past or present, and the content is not limited to science fiction, fantasy or drama.
HKCinemagic : About the system of comic book production in Hong Kong. Does it follow trends (like in the cinema industry) or do you feel that there is much more freedom let to an author to choose a special topic and his style?
A S : In Hong Kong, people like to follow trends. This also applies to comics, especially when the economy is at a down point. To attract the younger generation’s attention one needs fresh/trendy ideas. While I’m following the trends, I also try to maintain my own personal style and the freedom to create. I believe when a work has its own special style, the reader will like it.
HKCinemagic : It's said that you've developed the 'Cyber Kung Fu' genre. Can you explain this genre and tell us how you achieved this?
A S : As a Chinese person who has a basic knowledge of Kung Fu and a great passion for Sci-fi, it only comes natural that I put these two together to see how the ‘chemistry’ fits.
HKCinemagic : Your main influence is Yasuhiko Yoshikazu (Venus War & Orion). In which field do you think his work has influenced you ?
A S : Since I was younger, Yasuhiko Yoshikazu is my favorite and most respected teacher. He taught me the basics of comic making, so he has the most influence on me in all aspects.
On Shaolin Soccer
HKCinemagic : Why did you choose to adapt Shaolin Soccer into a comic book?
A S : ComicsOne actually approached me with this idea. I thought it would be great because the movie received great positive feedback and ComicOne is very interested in it. Therefore, I believe Shaolin Soccer has a certain level of marketing value.
HKCinemagic : In an interview, you said that Chris Lau writes stories that you draw. But eventually you'll always have the final say in the way the story goes. What did happen in this respect with Shaolin Soccer ? Did you follow exactly the story of the movie?
A S : In Shaolin Soccer, it was both the scriptwriter and I. However, who has more power is dictated by what we’re going for. For example, the Shaolin Soccer comic is 80% movie adaptation with 20% new content. So in that case, we focus more on drawing to change the original content.
HKCinemagic : Did Stephen Chow Sing-chi have much input in the comic production and the story?
A S : Nope!
HKCinemagic : Did you try to keep this peculiar Stephen Chow's 'moleitau' (non-sensical) humour within your graphic adaptation?
A S : Stephen Chow’s non-sensical humour is hard to adapt through illustration. I kept part of his peculiar humour. But mostly I take advantage of the similarities between my own expressionist style and Stephen’s peculiar comedic style to create the piece.
HKCinemagic : Usually it's a movie that is adapted from a comic book. I think of Ma Wing-shing's Stormrider remake directed by Andrew Lau Wai-keung for instance. What sort of challenges did you face doing it the other way round with Shaolin Soccer ?
A S : The greatest challenge for creating Shaolin Soccer was how to make the comic better than the movie without breaking the original concept. The movie and the comic have strong similarities.
HKCinemagic : Shaolin Soccer is said to be slightly inspired from the Japanese manga Captain Tsubasa by Yoichi Takahashi. Did you get back to this source while making the comic book?
A S : No, I never used any other comic book as my inspiration while making Shaolin Soccer.
Yourself and Comics
HKCinemagic : Have you been influenced by Hong Kong cinema and the peculiar sense of visual, timing, framing and editing that some HK directors have?
A W : Yes, I have absorbed all kinds of new ideas from the movies and include them in my new creations.
HKCinemagic : Comics One Corporation's goal is to bring Asian graphic novels to a wider American audience. They have already released your Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon comic in English language. How did you feel joining them and expanding your readership to English speaking readers?
A S : In fact, when I first started working as a comic artist, I had never thought about foreign fans. When French and American audiences accepted King of Fighters Z and Crouching Tiger & Hidden Dragon, it was a great encouragement and at the same time I felt blessed that my works were being published in other languages. I’m very happy to receive any suggestions and support from my different audiences.
HKCinemagic : Tsui Hark made a visually stunning Wu Xia Pian (Legend Of Zu) and a crazy super-hero movie called Black Mask 2. This director has an interesting view on cinema and comics. Would you be interested in adapting some of his films in the future?
A S : I have seen both of the movies and Tsui Hark is a very unique director. However, whether I would adapt his films is purely up to my readers. There first has to be a demand.
comics Works

- Sword Kill

- Gambling Saint

- Cyber Weapons Z

- Story of the Tao

- The King of Fighters Z

- Saint Legend

- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

- Shaolin Soccer

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