When more than thirty years ago Tsai (Tsai Chih Chung) decided to adapt Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” into a more modern format, he wanted to breathe new life into the 2500-year-old text. “When interpreting the need to pass on the classics to new generations, people often mean classics that are extremely sterile, monotonous and, in truth, tedious,” Tsai explained. Having studied several editions of the treatise and secondary sources, he realized that he was able to rethink The Art of War (which to this day remains one of the most important literary works about war and strategy) and present it to the world as an illustrated story. In 1990, Tsai created a comic version for a Chinese audience, and in 1994 an English version. Since then, millions of copies of his expanded, Illustrated Chinese Classics Library series (which included, among others, the book) have been sold.
Tsai’s adaptation revived the millennial treatise The Art of War. The artist cut out repeating, narrative-dragging elements until the ancient lessons of the war came to life on the pages. But it was drawings that became the defining element of Tsai’s work. His style, somewhat reminiscent of Disney cartoons, brings Continue reading
Jeff Jackson, author of Destroy All Monsters, about literature that conveys the unbridled power of rock music
Have you ever thought that you are being deceived? So literary critic Johnny Rotten has signed his monthly column, The Great Rock and Roll Novel, for the London Review of Books. Fans usually agreed with him: so many outstanding memoirs, biographies, historical monographs and collections of essays on rock have been written, so why are there so few worthy works of art? It would seem that this is an ideal topic to study, but it may be just as difficult to breathe really new life into these three familiar chords, as well as into the stone itself. “Destroy all monsters” is my attempt, inspired by Mr. Rotten’s burning pen, to write the latest rock novel. But, fantasizing about the spectacular death of the genre, I knew that I owed much to those novels that managed to capture fleetingness, mystery, Perception changes the charm and unbridled power of the best that exists in the rock. These works – with scenes unfolding on different Continue reading
The style of the biographical comic strip about Vincent Van Gogh at first seems ridiculous: simple dialogues, stick-stick-cucumber faces, instead of impressionism and sensitive details – pictures in the spirit of children’s coloring. The book unfolds as Van Gogh goes crazy: colors become brighter, silhouettes blur, the grid on the page dances, the reader plunges into the abyss of madness with the artist. Richard Linklater achieved a similar effect when he turned Downey Jr. and Reeves into cartoons in Haze.
The only controversial point of the book is a stretched happy ending: the story ends on a serene and joyful note just a week before the fateful shot. Continue reading