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Graphic Lit

from the February 2010 issue: (Worth) Ten Thousand Words, Part IV: International Graphic Novels

from “King-Ma Has Come”

King-Ma Has Come (Ma Huang Jiang Lin) is a product of the hugely popular kuso culture in Asia. Also known as egao in Mandarin Chinese, the genre is known for its campy humor and outrageous parodies of the politically correct media portrayal of reality. King-Ma, Wei Tsung-cheng’s kuso martial arts take on political culture in Taiwan, pokes fun at everyone from Taiwan’s current and former presidents, Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian, to the reigning figures of modern Chinese history, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, neither of whom, if alive, would have ever allowed the publication of such a title. In regards to this latter fact, not only is King-Ma a satirical piece on the absurdity of celebrity politics, it is also a testimony to how far the “Republic of China” has gone from censorship to freedom, where the artist is free to ridicule the powerful, via hyperbolic kung-fu graphics et al., and the reader is free to enjoy whatever entertainment value, political or not, such mockery offers. Panels should be read from right to left, top to bottom.
from “King-Ma Has Come”
from “King-Ma Has Come”
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Wei Tsung-cheng

Wei Tsung-cheng (b. 1982) is a Taiwanese manga artist whose most recent work, Ma Huang Jiang Lin (King-Ma Has Come), epitomizes the best of kuso, a product of the Asian Internet subculture where outrageous parody in the form of text, photos, and graphics triumphs over the politically correct. First recognized in 2007 for his award-winning graphic novel Bagua Shan (Bagua Mountain), a historical depiction of Taiwan’s struggle against Japanese occupation, Wei is a prolific artist whose many creations can be found online at WeiComic.com, a creative platform which he founded in 2000 for aspiring Chinese manga artists of all genres. Following the huge success of King-Ma, Wei’s next graphic novel, AV Duanzhi, an uncensored look at Taiwan’s porn culture—à la kuso mode—will be published by the Taiwanese publisher Future-Digi in February 2010.


Translated from Chinese by Nancy Tsai

Nancy Tsai received an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa and an MA in translation and interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. A freelance translator and interpreter, she is especially interested in promoting the understanding of translation and interpretation as a profession and introducing Chinese literature, both fiction and nonfiction, to Western audiences.

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