Kateřina Čupová, Karel Čapek

Kateřina Čupová (b. 1992, Ostrava) is a Czech animator and comic book artist, and a graduate from the renowned Department of Animation at the Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín. Many of her works have been published in magazines and comic anthologies. Her webcomic The Author’s Apprentice was published in print following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Her eye-catching, cartoon-like style is firmly rooted in decades of prized Czech animation.

Karel Čapek (1890-1938) was a key figure of Czech literature in the interwar period, a prolific journalist, fiction writer, playwright, translator, and critic. Among his best-known works are novels The White Disease, Krakatit or War with the Newts, and plays such as R.U.R, Pictures from the Insects’ Life, or The Mother. He was close to his brother Josef, with whom he co-wrote many of his works, and to the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk – the popular collection Talks with T. G. Masaryk is one product of their collaboration. Karel Čapek used his writing to reflect on the looming political threat; he did not live to see World War II, unlike his brother, who was eventually murdered in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

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R.U.R.

November 2020, 256 pages

A timeless commentary on the nature of human existence – and our future

This comic book adaptation of Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. is an attractive reimagining of a play which has lost nothing of its force since it was first staged in 1921. Apropos, did you know that the word “robot” – invented by Karel Čapek’s brother, the painter and writer Josef Čapek – also first appeared in print a century ago? In his timeless humanist drama, Karel Čapek addresses a number of moral, ethical, and philosophical problems that pertain to human existence. He ponders the very nature of humanity, as well as its relationship to the machine, the question of technological progress, and its role in the future of our societies. The robots in Čapek’s play are not the robots of our time, but rather biological creatures reminiscent of Frankenstein’s monster. The illustrator works with great respect for the original text; her drawings are gentle yet full of vivid color, lightness, and elegance, and bursting with her original perspective.

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