Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 61

The Coming of Age of Chinese Comics 57 Wang Strip was such an instant hit that Shanghai Sketch published the collections of the comic Strip while the series were still running. Not only were there were nine volumes of four kinds of collections of the Mr. Wang serial published in the 1930s,11 but also there were a total of eleven film comedies adapted ffom the Mr. Wang comic Strips from the 1930s to the 1940s,12 and one in 1993.13 The popularity of the comic figures, as I am going to elaborate in the rest of my paper, provides an interesting case of how Chinese artists localize Western visual forms to construct a modern identity for the metropolitan Shanghai. And the appearance of this long comic Strip marked the point at which manhua had fully grown into an effective graphic narrative tool of social humor. Ye Qianyu and Mr. Wang The creator of Mr. Wang is the comic editor of the joumal, Shanghai Sketch, Ye Qianyu. Originally named Ye Lunqi, Ye was bom into a merchant family in Tonglu, Zhejiang. He never received any formal training in art, but taught himself painting and drawing by copying from lithographic models published in Shanghai. He started his career in Shanghai at age eighteen as a self-taught commercial artist who painted advertising billboards, stage settings, textbook illustrations, fashion design, etc. These practices, according to Ye himself, cultivated his ability of modeling (zaoxing).14 Inspired by the flourishing print culture in Shanghai, he started drawing Cartoons. His first cartoon work, “Liangmaoqian bao yanfu” (To Feast Your Eye with Twenty Cents) was published in Sanri huakan (Three Day Pictorial), which was edited by cartoonist Zhang Guangyu who encouraged Ye to contribute to the pictorial. Because of this connection, Ye got to know other active cartoonists at the time, such as Huang Wennong, Wang Dunqing, and Lu Shaofei. Since then, he started frequently contributing to newspapers and populär magazines and devoted himself to the editing of the comic pages of Shanghai Sketch when the joumal was published. The creation of Mr. Wang demonstrated both the influence of American comic Strips and the distinctive quotidian life of petty urbanites in Shanghai. According to Ye, the idea of launching a comic Strip in Shanghai Sketch was inspired by an American comic Strip, Bringing Up Father, serialized in the Sunday Su