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Korean publisher brings China’s literary classics to America

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A Korean publisher hopes to introduce the Chinese classics to U.S. readers.

JR Comics made a splash last month at BookExpo America, giving away 6,000 graphic novels from its line adapting the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature: Water Margin (adapted as Outlaws of the Marsh), Romance of the Three Kingdoms (adapted as Three Kingdoms), Journey to the West (adapted as Monkey King) and Dream of the Red Chamber. They’re among the world’s oldest novels.

JR Comics’ goal is simple: to expose young English readers to these classic Chinese tales.

“Although our comics are already tremendously popular with Asians all over the world, JR Comics is on a mission to share the Monkey King’s dazzling adventures with North American readers,” JR Han, CEO of JR Comics, said in a statement. “We’ve set an unprecedented goal of creating comprehensive adaptations of the East’s greatest stories via one of the West’s greatest storytelling innovations: the comic book.”

The creation of each adaptation is overseen by Chinese artist Wei Dong Chen, the founder of China’s largest comics studio.

Each of JR Comics’ adaptations is ambitious in scope, reportedly taking 20 graphic novel volumes per novel. Monkey King and Three Kingdoms have already begun release, with the first four volumes of Outlaws of the Marsh planned for September. Here’s a look at the covers for the first volumes of three series in this line:

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