Monsters assembled from the severed limbs of its victims, humans riding flying cats, and planet-eating entities. These are the types of characters that inhabit the mind of Taiwanese comic artist Huang Liang-Chun, better known by his alias Karmarket. He’s an artist unafraid to explore the deep recesses of his mind, those dark corners of horror we usually strive to avoid. But he consciously gives his stories emotional breadth and meaningful depth. It’s also frequently infused with his own signature brand of humor.
残臂断足、飞猫坐骑、舔舐星球的庞然巨物——这些猎奇元素均来自台湾漫画家 Huang Liang-Chun（又名 Karmarket，藥島）的内心深处。对此，他毫不避讳，直面那些人们避之不及的黑暗角落。与此同时，他的作品丝毫不缺乏内容的深度与宽度，很多时候还会以意想不到的幽默感公示于众。
Huang writes and draws all his comics, drawing inspiration from dreams and daydreams alike. His first comic, “Somewhere On Fire,” was inspired by photos he took of local street food vendors. It started as three standalone illustrations, but due to the inspiration of a surreal Japanese manga, he developed a full comic out of the scenes. It became an outlandish story about a man who sees smoke in the distance and jumps onto a flying cat to go to the rescue, only to discover the smoke is actually just steam from a restaurant. So instead, he just sits down and orders food.
“It doesn’t really have a clear plot or make much sense,” Huang laughs.” “I wanted to draw people eating street food and it grew into this.” At the end of the comic, news of a real fire is broadcast on television and the hero looks on, depressed. It’s a helplessness that mirrors Huang’s own feelings when watching the news.
Since that first comic, Huang has completed two others. All are drawn in the same style, strictly black and white with an almost pointillist shading technique. “I’m a little color blind and my college professor told me my color sense is terrible,” he chuckles. “I was using a brush tip pen in high school, then used a fine tip, and when I switched to digital I continued the style.”
“Ghosts From Outer Space” drills deeper into feelings of despair and horror. In one panel, a giant, blob-like monster growing out of the Earth with tentacles that eat up ghosts in space. Circular orbs glom onto each other, creating the shape of growing tendrils the stretch into the exosphere, which is packed with the white silhouettes of ghosts floating aimlessly in orbit. This illustration was the comic’s initial inspiration. Huang had drawn it for fun and decided to expand it into a full story afterward. “I was having trouble explaining to people what the drawing was about, so I created a whole story to back it up.”
It’s the story of a woman who’s been haunted by spirits her whole life—their mangled, tortured bodies present at every waking moment. She joins NASA to escape from it all, hoping the vacuum of space will offer peace and quiet. Instead, she finds the entire history of human kind on Earth in orbit, including her mother. Then the blob grows into space eating the ghosts, mom and all. Her fellow astronauts can’t see the ghosts and think she’s gone insane, so they send her back to Earth, where babies start being born dead without souls.
For “Phantom Limb,” Liang-Chun wanted to draw a full-fledged horror story. Although it’s pretty gruesome, full of blood and guts, it’s also about coming to terms with trauma. A man who’s been hospitalized with a lost limb after a car accident sees visions of monsters made from other people’s body parts. In the hero’s dream, he feels the soft and tender wet grass on his missing foot and wakes up happy. Originally, Liang-Chun just wanted to draw a bunch of hacked off limbs but added the deeper themes after getting that part out of his system.
All of Huang’s comics are available on the Creative Comic Collection website, a government-sponsored comics portal. He printed a couple of them before working with CCC, but readers will have to wait for the rest to be published. He says they’ve approved ten stories, which he expects to be published in about a year. “The government pays me to draw,” he smiles. “I won’t be rich or anything but I get paid to draw what I want.”
现在，藥島的所有漫画都可以在 Creative Comic Collection 网站上找到，这是一个当地政府赞助的漫画网站。其中一部分漫画现已印刷出版，还有些作品将很快已纸质形式和读者见面。他表示，其中十个故事已经通过审批，预计将在一年左右出版。他笑着说道：“政府出钱让我画画。虽然我不会因此变得富有，但我可以靠画自己想画的作品获得报酬。”
Huang’s work delves into dark themes, with gore and destruction always a page away. Even when it’s just a scene of restaurant patrons enjoying tasty noodles, it looks ghastly and dangerous. Massive spreads of ghouls and blazing fires are regular. They’re fantastical stories, happy to explore unreal worlds with flying creatures and blurred lines between the living and the dead. But he always strives to bring a human element to his tales, something that speaks truth to our souls. His characters deal with trauma, whether that be the death of a loved one or a life-changing accident. Some find peace and others don’t, much like the real world. It’s a balance that lets readers escape but also keeps them thinking.
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Contributor: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
供稿人: Mike Steyels
英译中: Olivia Li