The first book of a biographical comic series titled Son of Formosa (來自清水的孩子) on Tsai Kun-lin (蔡焜霖), a political prisoner during the White Terror era, hit the shelves on Tuesday.
Tsai, 90, was imprisoned on Green Island from 1950 to 1960, following a crackdown on members of the Taipei Workers Committee, a group of Chinese Communist Party sympathizers planted within various government agencies.
The four-book series raised NT$1 million (US$33,389) through crowdfunding, and was a collaboration between Slowork Publishing, National Taitung University professor Yu Pei-yun (游珮芸) and illustrator Chou Chien-hsin (周見信).
Photo: Cheng Ming-hsiang, Taipei Times
Yu and Chou spent nearly four years collecting background information, interviewing Tsai and poring through history books to get the buildings, background and clothing of the era right.
In 1966, Tsai began publishing a children’s magazine titled Prince (王子雜誌), which contained popular comics, for which the Ministry of Culture honored him with a Special Contributions award at the 2018 Golden Comic Awards.
Slowork Publisher president Huang Pei-shan (黃珮珊) said the company plans to release the second book next month, and complete the whole set by next year.
Photo: Cheng Ming-hsiang, Taipei Times
Because of social-distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was not able to hold a book launch, Huang said, adding that he hoped to reach out to people over the Internet and persuade them to support original products that tell a tale about Taiwan.
Huang said the series has piqued the interest of overseas publishers, especially in the European region, because of its content and portrayal, with some referring to it as the Taiwanese version of Persepolis, a French comic series by Marjane Satrapi that depicts her childhood to early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution.
It is highly possible that the series could become popular internationally, Huang said.
Political dissidents and communist sympathizers were suppressed during During the The White Terror refers to the suppression of political dissidents and communist sympathizers, as well as public discussion of the 228 Incident, when Taiwan was under martial law from May 19, 1949, to July 15, 1987.
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