Return of the Condor Heroes: The Making (5)
Return of the Condor Heroes: The Making is a blog series documenting the people and processes involved in the production of Return of the Condor Heroes Collector’s Edition Boxset. Discover first-hand some of the behind-the-scenes work and the art of creating comics in Singapore.
A martial arts epic, Return of the Condor Heroes《神雕侠侣》was originally a Chinese literary work and the second book of the Condor Trilogy, by Chinese writer Louis Cha Leung-Yeung. Louis Cha (1942–2018), better known by his pen name Jin Yong, is a modern Chinese-language writer of popular Wuxia (“martial arts and chivalry”) novels. His first novel, The Book and the Sword, was published in 1955 and became and instant hit, earning him a reputation as one of the finest Wuxia writers.
In 1995, Asiapac Books’ founder, Ms. Lim Li Kok, and local artist Wee Tian Beng had decided to adapt Jin Yong’s renowned Return of the Condor Heroes into a manga series. Tian Beng’s character designs had appealed greatly to Jin Yong, leading to them beginning their work in December that year. The Return of the Condor Heroes manga adaptation was hugely popular in Singapore during its original run, eventually becoming a hit in the local comic scene and that of other Chinese-speaking countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan.
It may be difficult to find someone of Chinese ethnicity who has not heard of Jin Yong. Jin Yong’s ingenious stories have bridged geographical and ideological differences, touching the hearts of readers since the mid-to-late 20th century. His works have been translated into numerous foreign languages, as well as adapted into various forms of popular media such as films, television series, comics, and video games. To have had his approval during the production of the Return of the Condor Heroes manga series in 1997 made the project even more significant and validating for our team.
Today, Jin Yong’s legendary piece of classical literature can be considered a socially and culturally significant work of art in Asian popular culture. The series quickly took Asia by storm, as clamouring demand in other countries soon led to its release in different editions in addition to the English and Chinese print. The entire manga series has been translated into multiple languages, including English, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, in various countries across Asia.