Book Review – Outlaws of the Marsh Volume 1: Spirits and Bandits

Excellent graphic adaptation of “Outlaws of the Marsh” (also known as “The Water Margin”), one of the four great novels of Chinese literature. The presentation is lucid and easy to follow, with character sketches and summaries of each chapter, as well as maps showing the movement of the characters. What really shined was the clean full-color illustrations that captured nuance without being busy. Details such as Jin Shi’s dragon tattoos and calligraphy on signs in the towns bring the images to life. The action translates extremely well to comic form, yet even the set piece battle between Da Lu and the monks does not overshadow the character presentation. This is a meaningful work of literature, artfully presented, and I am definitely eager to read more.

ARC kindly provided by NetGalley.

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