Ravaging Times

Deluxe Volume 3

(outer flaps of the box show the color portraits of Xun Yu, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhang Jiao, Lü Bu; the bookmark shows Sima Yi)
The Burning of Luoyang Arc
chapters 33-41
The Battle of Hulao Arc
chapters 42-50
page 414, Top Secret Exposé – The Greatest Challenge… Establishing A New Market

In the beginning of writing “The Ravages of Time,” I had a feeling that I must draw faster, so I hired two assistants. I really went all out back then… because despite the public praise received for both “Not Human” and “The God Pretender,” the sales number was merely average. So in order to afford their salary, we had to draw fast and sell a good amount of books.

In the early days I started work at 10am, went home after 10pm, and kept working until at least 3am. I worked on Sundays too, sweating the whole day because the office had no central air conditioning. It was because I knew that’s how a comic artist should work.

And yet the greatest challenge wasn’t the hard work- it was the mode of thinking. Hong Kong comics and Wuxia series had major influence over the styles in our local media. It seemed like my comic wouldn’t sell if it didn’t have kungfu and the flying. I had to beat my head against the wall: Neither Liaoyuan Huo nor Lü Bu worked on their martial arts, and none of the military advisers practiced magic, so what was my selling point?

Luckily I went all in again because I wasn’t afraid to lose. I believed that there must be other people like me who didn’t like to stick with the tradition. Missing elements in the market might be the result of lack of options instead of being unpopular.

Luckily for mischievous employees, there exist bosses who dare to not micromanage. With the support of my boss Mr. Fan, “The Ravages of Time” established itself as a mainstream comic series that focused on strategy. It also earned the company a good place in the comics market.

From the mind of this stubborn employee, a heretical piece of work came to being- one that rarely focuses on the main character(s), or that there were less and less fighting (later on), or that it gave forced interpretation of the classics.

Right now my drawing speed might have dragged due to masochistic research into ancient warfare, but I attracted many readers who shared my interest. Even though there are intense Copyright infringements on the Internet, I kept my nose to the grindstone to have Ravages stay at the top of the sales chart. Because of that my old works were selling too and put into new print runs.

Compared to the early days, the only thing that has changed is… I finally get to have Sunday off.

{03-10-2012, to be continued}

(I don’t know what to say about the “copyright infringement” because “sorry” is hollow, and stopping isn’t going to end the infringement. I just hope to contribute financially when I’m able and maintain the translation quality to the best of my ability; they say 1% of any fanbase will pay for the work, so here’s hoping the total fanbase keeps growing)


1 Comment »

  1. I really wish Chen Mou would speak about the difficulties in expanding Ravages to other markets and countries (like, why the series only lasted 9 volumes in Japan) in future deluxe volumes… methinks a big part of why unofficial translators and scanlators pop up is that a small dedicated fan base has come to appreciate the series despite the lack of official localization, intellectual property regimes be damned


    Comment by 'reader' — February 22, 2017 @ 11:31 pm

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