Tibetan Rock Dog
Danwei recently wrote an excellent post an on a new graphic novel we would love to get a peek at called Tibetan Rock Dog by rock star, Zheng Jun. Zheng Jun, combines his interest in animals, cartoons and music to create a graphic novel that he hopes will “give ourselves the decent childhood we missed, a deluxe childhood that a healthy, happy individual ought to have.” Zheng Jun sees the graphic novel as a medium for adults to “enjoy the storied benefits of childhood.”
Danwei’s description of Tibetan Rock Dog:
The story unfolds in Tibet, where a Tibetan mastiff named Metal grows up in a Buddhist temple after his parents and siblings die protecting a peasant family. His grandfather, who learned the secrets of walking upright and speaking human language, trains him in canine meditation and teaches him about his ancient enemy, the Tibetan wolf. A rock musician on a pilgrimage adopts Metal as a son and takes him back to Beijing. The city is a fabulous new world for Metal: in Beijing, dogs walk upright and have a secret underground realm of their own. He forms a rock band with the friends he meets obedience school.
Danwei’s book buzz:
Setting the story in a hidden canine empire is inspired, the art is full of puns and pop-culture references, and the extended fight sequence that takes up half of the second volume is fairly entertaining.
Zheng Jun, who’s credited with the characters and overall supervision of Tibetan Rock Dog, has revealed that a film version is in the works — something like Kung Fu Panda (not a knock-off, since he came up with Metal and friends four years ago). He might also come out with a prequel or a sequel to the graphic novel. The current story fills 340 pages split between two volumes and was written for kids of all ages.
From Zheng Jun:
The story is set in two different locations. First, there’s the background story of him growing up in Tibet, and then there’s the process of him realizing his dream after he gets to Beijing. These two things will appeal to foreigners, I think. How a Tibetan mastiff makes music in Beijing and, together with a group of other dogs, finally succeeds in his aims. Heavenly Mastiff Yoga, a form handed down from ancient times by Tibetan mastiffs, at its highest levels can enable a dog to speak human language and play an instrument.
Tibetanized Chinese on the cover of Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun
In the preface, Zheng Jun writes frankly about Chinese childhood and what he sees as the role of the graphic novel:
A friend of mine once said that Chinese children have no childhood. They spend their childhood doing child labor, and are busier than their parents. Children have few opportunities to tell children’s stories, and they rarely dare to dream. His words are a little absolute, but they’re not without merit.
What’s strange is that I discovered one day that adults in China have the opportunity to enjoy the storied benefits of childhood. As masters of our own lives, we are fully able to give ourselves the decent childhood we missed, a deluxe childhood that a healthy, happy individual ought to have. Of course, no one necessarily knows what a deluxe childhood ought to be. I know a few young women who insist on sucking their water out of baby bottles, and who go to sleep hugging Hello Kitty. This seems to miss the point, but a return to youth is always a good thing.
I finally had a deluxe childhood after I became a father. Or perhaps it would be better to say that I took over my daughter’s childhood, but at any rate I was excited and overjoyed to have it. I discovered that enjoying childhood as an adult feels much better than enjoying adulthood as a child.
Photo from Danwei.