Archive for March, 2009

A Grateful Nod to Asiapac

Friday, March 6th, 2009 by Lara

I’ve found it difficult to get a handle on Chinese culture unless I bug my Chinese friends with more questions than they probably feel like answering, gracious though they invariably are. If you’re not brought up knowing about the Brotherhood of the Peach Orchard or the Monkey King, the Hungry Ghost Festival or the number of different names a Chinese person can have, it’s hard to find someone with the English and the patience to explain this stuff to a beginner.

So I’m extremely happy to have found a Singaporean publisher, called Asiapac, which makes it its business to explain Chinese culture to non-natives!!!!! They do lots of stuff in short graphic novel form, from summarizing 5000 years of literature to explaining why Chinese culture is so fixated on calligraphy or boys (as opposed to girls). Here are some sample titles I bought:

Kung-Fu Panda – the Mulan of 2008

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 by Lara

It seems that every ten years or so animators realize that there’s a market for Chinese-themed feature-length cartoons. Mulan took the U.S. by storm in 1997 (Mulan II less so later), and now we’ve got Kung-Fu Panda. Which I like – it’s visually and stylistically very interesting, has lots of jokes about Hong Kong kung-fu movies in it, and of course Jack Black is the voice of the Fat Panda. And anything Mr. Black does is worth a look.

I’m wondering what the next Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks Chinese theme will be – any guesses? The Monkey King (although Forbidden Kingdom treated that, it was not an animated feature)? Stories about hungry ghosts or kitchen gods? Water Margins/ Outlaws of the Marsh might work; Story of the Stone (Red Chamber) – I doubt it. A Zhuge Liang bio-pic!