It surprisingly took me a while to realise that I could combine my passion for comics with my love of spirituality and eastern philosophy. But when the light bulb finally went off, it resulted in ‘Wu Wei #1’. This first volume was a collection of three separate stories and the final book was 20 pages and self-published.
The first story was a modern retelling of a Zen koan about a scholar who seeks out a Zen monk living as a hermit in the mountains of Japan. When the scholar asks the monk about Zen, the monk takes out a pot of tea and fills a tea cup until it is over flowing. The scholar becomes so confused and asks the monk why he is over filling the tea-cup. The monk smiles and says to the scholar that if he tries to understand Zen from an academic view point, he will merely become confused as he tries to fill his brain with more and more knowledge. If he truly wants to understand Zen he must first empty his cup of all understanding. This is a classic Zen story – designed to loosen the readers attachment to understand and open them up to wordless comprehension.
Below are the first two pages from story one.
The second story was titled ‘Now & Zen’ and went through a typical day of my life from the moment of waking up all the way through to turning off the lights at night. However, in the middle of the story I have a small moment of clarity, realising that life often feels like I am a fish in a pond constantly going around in circles over the same small bit of water. But I quickly shake it off and go back to my day.
Here are a few pages from the second story.
And the final part of ‘Wu Wei#1’ was an abstract comic, which is something I am still quite interested in. The idea, at least to me, was to make a comic that isn’t following a narrative, but still calls upon the aesthetics of the comics medium. Although, with the piece below, there did end up being a running narrative as the visual interplay of dark and light, night and day natural emerged. And so the final piece was titled ‘Duality’.
Below are the first three pages.
And here is the back cover of the book – I only include it because I quite like it and would like to use more non sequitur panels in my comics.
This book is currently out of print.