Tao Te Ching
A contemporary graphic novel adaptation of a spiritual classic.
180 pages Shambhala (December, 2018)
“This bold, visually surprising, and completely unique interpretation of the Tao Te Ching—the poetic classic that is the philosophical and religious basis of Taoism—brings its teachings into a modern light in a completely fresh way. Each of the 81 poem-passages of the Tao Te Ching is reinterpreted by award-winning graphic novel writer Sean Michael Wilson and brought to life by the artful illustrations of London-based artist Cary Kwok, who sets the text in various historical and contemporary scenes to bring out the modern relevance—in ways that are both unsparing and hopeful.”
This book is unusual in that its the first of my books that is not really a comic book. It features Bill’s translations of each of the 81 poem-passages of the Tao Te Ching book on each left side page of the book and a visual/textual interpretation by myself and Cary on each right side page. So its really a collection of 81 double page text and art spreads. Each sets some aspect of the poem-passage on the left in a modern setting and/or a timeless interpretation on the right, with new text by me and wonderful illustrations by Cary. With such an ancient and poetic classic, the subject of analysis for more than 2000 years, there is bound to be people who think our efforts here are way off the 'correct' Tao. But that's ok... ours is just one more look at it. One I’m very happy with.
Note: in this case its stretching the term to call it a 'graphic novel' as the book does not have a continuous story to it. The approach is more like an illustrated interpretation. But as graphic novel is now an accepted marketing/library classification term that has been used by the publisher.
"Overall, the graphic novel is an extensive explanation of this important religious text which both forms the basis of Buddhism but also has contributed to worldwide philosophy. The presentation by Sean Michael Wilson is engaging, well researched, and very relatable. The translation by William Scott Wilson is thorough. The art by Cary Kwok is alluring and vivid. Altogether, the creative team has made this essential text even more compelling not only for those interested in theology but also philosophy."
- Graphic Policy