Writer Kelly Roman and illustrator Michael DeWeese’s upcoming graphic novel The Art of War uses the Sun Tzu classic as the basis for a “mind-bending thriller set 20 years in the future when Wall Street is militarized and China is the world’s dominant economy.”
Roman wants readers to think about what the rise of China means for international free speech and freedom, as he explained last year in an interview with The Gothamist:
I want to start a conversation about what it means that China is becoming enormously powerful. The Chinese flag is red to symbolize the blood spilled in the Communist revolution. A lot of American blood has been spilled defending freedom, especially the freedom of speech. Fighting for freedom of speech in China is fighting for freedom of speech everywhere, because media companies today are global enterprises and they are listening to what China has to say about the content they create and distribute. Avatar grossed $193 million dollars in China, which means the Chinese market is critical for media companies that own not just Hollywood studios but broadcast news and book publishing and much of the content on the web.
So when we see China make someone like Ai Weiwei disappear because he critiques the Chinese government, we need to gives these dissidents our support by following then on Twitter and we need to keep a close eye on how global media companies are covering their demise — or not covering it. China’s influence is even more powerful in the financial world, where the book spends most of its time. People need to think about this stuff, but I want people to be moved emotionally by the story first and foremost, and then realize they are gaining a deep, intimate understanding of The Art of War along the way.
Roman wrote the book as a sideline from his day job as a partner in Fisher Wallace Laboratories, a New York-based company that makes the Fisher Wallace Stimulator, a medical device marketed as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress.
The book comes out July 31st but you can read the first 60 pages here.