During summer 2018, the National Palace Museum in Taipei opened its doors for the first time to comics. The prestigious museum that houses treasures of Chinese culture exhibited the works of a master of the 9th art of the island, Chen Uen. Manhua (a term used to refer to both comics, press drawings and animation in Chinese) was then introduced into the ranks of the remarkable arts by this epic cartoonist whose works of singular energy capture admiration.
“Assassins” was conceived in 1985 for the then newly created bimonthly Joy Comics. Other challenge than to put in images, these scholarly texts, written two millennia before and which are the source of Chinese historiography. For this Chen Uen goes back to the art : “I quickly understood that my usual techniques could not adapt to the style. It was too rough to paint in watercolor. The brush soaked in water is as difficult to grasp as symphonic music that accompanies a Chinese air. So I stopped thinking for a few days and when I had to put my plates back on, I had a revelation. Why not use Chinese techniques to bring Chinese stories to life? So I took my brush to paint the image of the killers as I imagined it to be in color ink.”