Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 6 of 68 min read

Zhang Guangyu’s 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西遊漫記 was originally created in the fall of 1945 while Zhang was living in the wartime capital of Chongqing. Deeply critical of the ruling KMT government, it was eventually banned and did not see print for another 13 years. For the sake of introducing Zhang’s out-of-print work to a larger audience, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the entire 60 page comic into English.

In the final part of this 6 part translation, the pilgrims have just escaped from the forces of False Qin and are sitting down to rest when a “black force” 黑气 approaches and steals their shadows. The black force is revealed to have come from the nearby the “black market” 黑市场, a shadowy realm of ghosts and demons guarded by a giant cat with one eye open and the other eye closed. Mice are said to be flowing into and out of a hole in the wall of the market, “like cars speeding back and forth on a motorway.” Eventually the pilgrims’ shadows make their way into the market where they immediately fall into a slimy pond full of talking carp who tell them to, “Seek profits! Seek profits!” They are rescued by a giant skeletal hand only to find themselves facing the “Spirit of Idle Capital” in the “Hall of Laughter and Curses.” The spirit takes a fancy to Zhu Bajie and follows his shadow back into the human realm to take over his body. Zhu Bajie then apparently abandons his body, somehow tricking the spirit.1 Once back in the human realm, Tripitaka asks Monkey to find some food and water for him. Monkey manages to find a stream inside a cave, but just as he is about to fill a kettle with water, a three-headed dragon appears and challenges him to a riddle…

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51. 那 四个影子再往前走几步,却被一堵城墙挡住,只是寻觅不着一个城门,正在迟疑间,忽然墙边有淅索之声,接着发现那 边有个小窟窿,许多耗子钻进钻出,好像马 路上的汽车一样驶来驶去,在另一个角落里却见有一对猫眼睛,一只眼开,一只眼闭,好像马路上的红绿灯一样,四个影子上前打问:“警察先生,请问如何入 城?”话还没说完,早被那猫脚爪猛的一掌,打进了城。

The four shadows walked another few steps, but found themselves blocked by the city wall. No matter how hard they looked they weren’t able to find the gate. Just as they found themselves in a state of befuddlement, they heard a pitter pattering sound, so they looked around and discovered there was a hole through which a multitude of mice were passing, like cars speeding back and forth on a motorway. To one side there was a pair of cat-eyes, one open and the other closed, appearing for all the world to be nothing else than a pair of traffic signals. The four shadows went forward to ask, “Mr. Police Officer, please, can you tell us how to get into the city?” Before they had finished asking their question, the cat had snatched them up with violent movement of his claws and pulled them into the city.

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52. 四 个影子被打进城去,不偏不倚正跌中在一个混水潭里,四下乱摸,尽是泥浆,腥臭难闻,冰冷透骨,摸来摸去终摸不到岸边,大家却摸着几条鲤鱼,鱼在手中却能作 人言曰:“得利!得利!”吓得他们又惊又喜,正在这时上面伸下一只枯骨大手,一捞便连鱼带影捞出水面,顺手又把他们送进一个骷髅嘴里,直吞下肚。

The four shadows were pulled into the city, and without exception dumped into a pond. Feeling about in every which way, there was only mud, and an unpleasant fishy smell. The icy-cold water penetrated to their bones, and feeling this way and that they were still unable to find the shore. They did, however, find several carp, who they discovered were able to speak upon touch human hands, saying, “Seek profits! Seek profits!” This both shocked and pleased the shadows. Just then, a dried-up skeletal hand reached into the pond and pulled both the fish and shadows out of the water, carrying them to the mouth of a skeleton which immediately swallowed them whole.


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53. 他们四个便在肚中游历,东张西望,只见黄金满屋,珠宝无数,美钞堆积,法币铺地,东边百货,西边食量,客所中悬有横额曰:“笑骂堂”,两边骨柱上有一联 云: “要钱且先伸手,不贪何来污名?”八戒看了,甚是赞赏,忽然从骨缝里冒出青磷磷一个幽灵,自称:“吾乃游资之魂” 今欲投个凡胎,寻个对象!”言时目注八戒影子,嘻嘻的笑着,直扑将过来。

The four shadows made a tour of the skeleton’s bowels, looking all around. The room was piled full of gold, and limitless pearls and jewels, piles of American dollars, French francs scattered across the floor; a quantity of various goods to the east, foodstuffs to the west. In the main hall, a hanging tablet read, “Hall of Laughter and Curses,” while the two pillars on either side of the hall bore a paired couplet which read, “If you want money, you just need to stretch out your hand. / Without greed where does a dirty name come from?” When Bajie saw this, he was full of admiration. Suddenly, a phosphorus ghost emerged from a crack in the bones, saying, “I am the Spirit of Idle Capital! Today I want to find a fetus to be reborn into, to find a partner!” As he was speaking, he eyed Bajie’s shadow, laughing happily, and rushed over.


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54. 八戒影子好生害怕,即忙拨脚逃走,“游资之魂”紧紧追赶,后面三藏等影子见不是头,也追上来救八戒,八戒影子直往八戒本身那里奔去,不料被那“游资”一把抓住,后面三个影子却拉住“游资”,三方面相持挣扎,正无法解脱也。

Bajie’s shadow was deeply afraid, running away anxiously, the “Spirit of Idle Capital” in close pursuit, but the shadows of Tripitaka and the others couldn’t see from behind, so they also followed, to try to save Bajie. Bajie’s shadow ran straight for his body, but unexpectedly “Idle Capital” caught up with him. The three shadows pulled at “Idle Capital” from behind, the three of them locked in a fierce struggle, but were unable to shake him free.


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55. 话说八戒等影子与“游资之魂”正相恃不下,还是八戒本身出来调停道:“你这孤魂,抓住我的影子有何用处?还不是老朱本人道高德深,权且可以收你做个“义 魂”,”那“游资之魂”听了十分满意,便放了八戒影子,来投八戒本人,于是八戒便多了一种智慧,遇到有可以投机的机会,十分依恋本身,他们暗中私议 道: “我们难得出去见见世面,不想便遭到这样惊险的事情,以后再也不敢离开了。

It is said that Bajie and the other shadows were no match for the “Spirit of Idle Capital” so Bajie himself came up with a compromise, “Oh lonely soul, you’ve taken hold of my shadow, what possible use could you have for it? Is not Zhu Bajie moral and virtuous? So I could take you on as a ‘Step-Brother-Spirit.’” Upon hearing this, the “Spirit of Idle Capital” was deeply pleased, and so he released Bajie’s shadow and moved into Bajie’s body, whereupon Bajie pulled a trick, and when he saw his chance but hating to leave his body. The pilgrims said quietly in the darkness, “It was hard for us to go out and see the world, and now, unexpectedly, we’ve come up this bit of misfortune. We’ll never leave again.”


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56. 却说三藏坐在草堆上,精神恢愎过来,顿觉唇焦口渴,饥饿难熬,他便呼唤悟空道:“徒弟啊!我今口渴肚饿,你去打发一点茶水,还要化些斋饭来受用受用!”悟 空 应道:“我今先去打发茶水,回来再去化斋饭!”说罢便去了。四处找寻,却不见一条河道,只听乱山凹里有流皇铮淙之声,便顺着声音去寻,果见有一脉清泉,便 拔下一根毫毛,变了一只水壶,却待弯身去取那水,不道那边山岗背后转出一条三头毒龙来,喝道:“和尚!你可认得我吗?”

Our story continues: when Tripitaka came to on the pile of straw, he realized that his lips were chapped and that he was rather thirsty, not to mention hungry beyond compare. So he called for Wukong, saying, “Disciple! I’m thirsty and hungry, go and find me some tea-water, and alms to make use of!” Wukong replied, “I’ll go get the tea-water first, and when I come back I’ll go begging for alms!” He searched high and low, but couldn’t find a river or stream, instead hearing only the sound of clashing water from the mouth of a cave. Looking for the source of the sounds, he came across a clear spring, whereupon he plucked a single hair from his body which he transformed into a kettle. As he was bending to fill it with water, however, a three-headed poisonous dragon emerged from behind some mountain or another, shouting, “Monk! Do you recognize me?”


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57. 悟 空一见,呆住了,却应道:“老孙倒不认得你,打量你是个妖精,在此作崇,我且问你,你可晓得老爷是谁?”那龙道:“闲话少说,我也不问你姓甚名谁,凡是到 我这里来的人,有个规矩,我必须要试试他有几分聪明?给他猜个“谜语”,要是猜透了,我便将这个世界让他,要是猜不透,我便结果了那些笨坯!”说着张口伸 舌,弄弄身畔几根白骨,表示他的尊严。

Upon seeing the beast, Wukong was dumbfounded, so he replied, “Old Sun doesn’t know you, but I reckon that you’re a monster that’s here to make trouble, so I want to ask you, do you know who your daddy is?” The dragon replied, “Let’s not mince words, and I won’t ask what your name is. Everyone who comes here has to follow the rules: I get to test their intelligence. I give them all a riddle to solve, and if they guess correctly they get to go past. If not then I get to finish them off!” So saying, he opened his mouth and stretched out his tongue, spitting out several white bones to show the sincerity of his threat.


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58. 大 圣听了,有些诧异,心里想,这个妖精倒如此闲逸,可惜老孙没有工夫,取水要紧,我那师傅就要渴死,岂不是这个妖精故意刁难,否则我就仔细铺猜他的“谜 语”,既然如此便不睬他也罢,便顺手拔下一根汗毛,变个照妖镜,迎面一照,说声:“看镜!烘现出你的本相来,倒底是什么东西?”那毒龙被照,叫声:“啊 呀!”顿然化了一阵青烟,现出三个人头,飞升而去。

Upon hearing this, the Great Sage was a little flabbergasted, and he thought to himself, a monster like this, living a life a leisure. It’s only too bad that I don’t have time to mess around, since I’m in a hurry to take back this water.  My master is dying of thirst, and this monster is just making things difficult for me, otherwise I really would try to answer his riddle, but things being the way they are, I’d better just ignore him. With that he pulled out a single hair which he transformed into a magic mirror, pointing it at the monster, saying, “Look into the mirror! Reveal your true form! What are you, really?” The poisonous dragon, caught in the beam, said, “Ahhrggg!” and transformed into a plume of dark green smoke and revealed three human heads, and flew up into the sky.


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59. 悟空虽是看见毒龙的形状,却仍不明白他是变的什么东西,定睛再一看,却又发现那毒龙留下一个“孽蛋”,悟空不能忍耐,便藏子镜子,耳朵里取出金箍棒来,举起便打,蛋破浆流,却又化阵青烟,只见许多小龙呼啸腾去。

When Wukong saw true form of the poisonous dragon, but he didn’t understand what sort of thing it had transformed into. Looking at it more closely, however, he discovered that it had left behind an ‘evil egg.’ Unable to restrain himself, Wukong put away the magic mirror and took out his golden cudgel from his ear. Raising it high, he struck the egg, which broke, releasing a viscous liquid which likewise changed into dark green smoke, revealing a multitude of smaller dragons, which flew screaming up into the sky.
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60. 正 在这时,一阵怪风刮将过来,暗中现出一个巨神,大声喝道:“祸事!祸事!”悟空看时,认得是“拿破仑”,连忙问道:“你说什么祸事呢?”拿翁道:“我奉上 帝玉旨,看管山龙,他叫”法西斯蒂”,回上帝不准他超升,着我管他,不想被你放走了,可是世界从此多事矣!这都是你闯的祸,我当奏与上帝知道,就说你做的 好事,如果上帝要责罚你,也就是罪有应得了!。”

Just then a strange wind rose up, and from the darkness emerged an enormous spirit, shouting, “Doom! Doom!” When Wukong saw this, he recognized that the spirit was Napoleon and promptly asked, “What sort of doom are you talking about?” Old man Napoleon said, “I’ve received a jade injunction from the Lord on High to look after the mountain dragon known as ‘The Stem of Fascism.’ Since the Lord on High would not let him to ascend to the Western Paradise, so he put me in charge of watching over him. Unexpectedly, you set him free, setting the world up for a great deal of trouble! This the doom that you have created! I will present a memorial to Lord on High, and let him know all about the fine mess of things that you’ve made. If the Lord on High decides to punish you then it will certainly be a case of the guilty getting what they deserve!”


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End of the First Issue
See the next issue to see how it turns out!


Nick Stember
Nick Stember is a translator and historian of Chinese comics and science fiction, currently working on his PhD in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. In 2016 he completed his Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia with his (very readable and not at all obscure) thesis on the formation of the Shanghai Manhua Society in the mid-1920s.