What makes a comic book BL?
2 criteria: because the artists intend it to be so and when the readers embrace it as BL. I suspect the latter is more important because the fans will do the pairings. We found this popular HK kung fu comic at Sino Centre and apparently it's popular among BL fans in HK. The artists may have no idea about the BL market. After all, male bonding stories is the norm in action comics and movies. Eg. HK gangster movies of the 1980s and Hollywood cop buddy movies like Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours.
What has changed is the pretty boys factor in HK kung fu comics. It is not so much the artists are tapping into the BL market, but they are borrowing images of pretty boys from K-pop (and earlier, J-pop). That is the look now. Not the rough demeanor of Tiger Wong, but even the best street fighters should be using Gatsby facial wash to achieve that Super Junior style.
You can understand why all these appeal to the BL fans whether it's intentional or not. That's the thing about intent - it is very hard to establish. But what is important is that the BL community reads into it and embrace the comic as their own. It is a big fan base and helps the comic to sell more.
Another HK example: The Ravages of Time/ 火鳳燎原
Even Southeast Asian comics have come onboard the BL wagon. A review of Love is in the Bag by Studio Studio in the Philippines talks about the hint of yaoi in the comic. In Singapore, The Resident Tourist?
Enough BL musings on CNY. Huat ar!