I’ve got a hardcover illustrated version of Sun Tzu’s classic The Art of War sitting proudly atop my bookshelf. It’s been an indispensable piece of literature, a manual, for many: Generals, historians, philosophizers, classicists, sociologists, entrepreneurs, coaches of sports teams, lovers of literature and (joking here) maybe even Call of Duty gamers.
Plenty of people are interested in and/or love the book and it’s been published in every language and in many different variations over the years.
From an artistic perspective, the version I own is a beautifully rendered and painterly approach to illustrating the 5th Century BC author’s writings and thoughts on war, detailing how to best win a military battle. It’s a worthwhile read, even if you’ll never find yourself on an actual battlefield. Still, it’s enthralling and thought provoking – and could even help (not joking here) in arguments with your spouse.
Today sees the release of a brand new, distinctly twenty-first century illustrated version of the classic, aptly titled The Art Of War V. 2.0: Sun Tzu For The Twenty-First Century.
As you might expect, any title that incorporates the term “V 2.0” definitely needs to have a grain of comedy inherent within its content. The Art Of War V. 2.0: Sun Tzu For The Twenty-First Century has more than a grain – and is still a very effective version that details the meaning of the original Sun Tzu text in a way that is both easily understood and entertaining.
Humorist Joe Queenan along with illustrator Keith Bendis, have set their cannon sights on the centuries old text and brought a modern sensibility to it while calling out historically dumb war-time strategies as comparisons, just a stand-up comedian might from a Second City stage.
When describing the importance of deception in war, Queenan compares Sun Tzu’s text to the historic and well-known Greek story of the Trojan horse, where he poignantly jests that “When it’s a choice between a costly 10-year siege and resorting to a dumb-ass trick, swallow your pride and build the goddamn horse.”
The wonderfully whimsical colour illustrations throughout the book by Bendis supports both the text and the mantra of the publication. They are stylized as political newspaper cartoons or humourous art that you might find in The New Yorker or even Mad magazine and they’re absolutely great!
Naturally, the humourous theme runs the length of the book, making for an often-hilarious look at an otherwise serious topic. It all makes for a perfectly inviting way for you to read, or re-read, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
It also makes for a great coffee table book and dinnertime conversation piece.
Make the run to you local (and better) comic book shop or bookstore today and pick up the hilariously informative and updated The Art Of War V. 2.0: Sun Tzu For The Twenty-First Century perfect today’s readers of classics and comedies!
You can catch a sneak peek of The Art Of War V. 2.0: Sun Tzu For The Twenty-First Century right here.