Hsu Mao-song (許貿淞) is a senior comic artist who has played an influential role in boosting the popularity of Taiwanese comic books. Integrating elements of Taiwanese glove puppetry with local pop culture, Hsu has created around 200 works within half a century. For his lifelong dedication to Taiwan's original comics, Hsu was honored with the 8th Golden Comic Special Contribution Award.
Before becoming a comic artist, Hsu began drawing cartoon characters while serving in the army. After completing his mandatory service, Hsu was introduced to a major comics publisher based in Tainan by his brother, who is also a comic artist, and started his drawing career in 1958.
Hsu published his debut comic series "Fengshen Yanyi (封神演義)” in 1960. Influenced by Japanese comic artist Sanpei Shirato (白土三平), Hsu's early works are mostly packed with action, martial arts, and battles.
Combining old Chinese legends of the supernatural with characters from western mythology, the prolific Hsu released roughly 100 wuxia comic series, including "Big Mystery (大神秘),” "Emperor of Martial Arts (武林皇帝),” "Fist of Shooting Star (神拳流星),” "Super Kid of Fist (霸拳神童),” and "Rock Fairy Child (石頭仙童).”
During the 1960s to the early 1970s, Hsu established the Songshan Painting Studio to cultivate young artists to continue the wuxia style and produce quality comic series. Though the contemporary rise of Japanese manga affected the sales of local comic books, Hsu's era marked a big milestone in Taiwan's development of comics.
From 1980 and onwards, Hsu began studying religion and trying his hand at religious paintings. Encouraged by Taiwan artist Chiu Hsi-hsun (邱錫勳), who paints with asphalt, Hsu developed a unique vermilion style depicting Guanyin with a sense of magnificence and greatness. For more than four decades, Hsu has created numerous religious works and held solo exhibitions throughout Taiwan.
Though Hsu has shifted his focus to religious art, he still pays attention to Taiwan's comics sector. Ever worried about the overall environment for comics-related education and development, Hsu has stated that he is willing to contribute more to help out Taiwan's original comic books if he's given the chance.