As many of you already know, I am on track to graduate from the Department of Asian Studies at UBC with my Masters degree in August. After a lot hand wringing, I’ve decided to take a year off from graduate school to devote myself to translation and other projects. I’m not sure if I will continue on to a PhD at the end of the year or not.
The good news: I’m still head over heels in love with Chinese comics, and plan to continue blogging and tweeting far, far into the foreseeable future. Here are the Chinese manhua and lianhuanhua that I plan to translate over the next six months to a year, depending other obligations (like eating, sleeping, paying the rent, etc) that life throws my way. Also, if you have any suggestions for future projects, or would like to donate to support my translations, there is a page for that now!
1. Smarty Pants Visits the Future 小靈通漫遊未來
Adapted by Pan Caiying 潘彩英 from the original 1978 story by Ye Yonglie 業永烈 with art by Du Jianguo 杜建國 and Mao Yongkun 毛用坤.
(Liaoning Fine Arts Press 遼寧美術出版社, May, 1980, 150 pages)
Description: Popular lianhuanhua adaptation of a groundbreaking post-Cultural Revolution sci fi story. A young boy visits the near future and learns about all of the amazing new technologies which will make life easier for the Chinese people, including smart watches, robot butlers, hover cars, and (of course) giant watermelons.
Think The Jetsons meets EPCOT as imagined by Deng Xiaoping.
2. Confucius: A Life of Crime 孔老二 罪恶一生
Xiao Gan 萧甘 with art by Gu Bingxin 顾炳鑫 and He Youzhi 贺友直
(People’s Press Shanghai 上海人民出版社, June, 1974, 23 pages)
Description: This short comic was produced towards the end of the Cultural Revolution as part of the 1974 “Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius” campaign launched by the Gang of Four. Sharply critical of the ancient philosopher whose teachings (or interpretations thereof) have come to be seen as foundational to Sinophone countries, this irreverent look at the man from Qufu is one of the more light-hearted products of the disastrous Cultural Revolution.
Think O Brother Where Art Thou meets The Devil’s Dictionary as imagined by Christopher Hitchens.
3. Nüwa Repairs the Heavenly Mantle 女娲补天
Adapted by Shi Jinglin 石景麟 from the original retelling by Yuan Ke 袁珂 with art by Hu Yongkai 胡永凱.
(Shanghai People’s Fine Arts Press 上海人民美術出版社, July, 1980, 65 pages)
Description: Lyrical retelling of the classic Chinese creation myth with incredible art by Hu Yongkai. Later made into an award winning animation by Qian Yunda 錢運達 at the Shanghai Animation Studio 上海美術電影製片廠, with art direction by Hu Yongkai. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, adaptions of traditional stories became a way for artists and authors to indirectly criticize the Gang of Four and the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. At the same time, these works introduced young people to a rich cultural legacy which had been suppressed for over a decade. For Chinese language learners, they are a great resource for people who want to a get a deeper understanding of Chinese culture than is generally available in most textbooks.
Think: The Book of Genesis meets Turtle Island as imagined by Carl Jung.
4. Pictures in Opposition of the American Imperialist’s Re-Armament of Japan 反對美帝武裝日本圖片
[or, for the sake of brevity, American Imperialism Exposed!]
(Three People’s Press 三民圖書公司, 1950-52, 32 pages)