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. She won the Muriel Award for a short graphic story and was also nominated for her R.U.R this year’s comic book adaptation. 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 as a prolific journalist, fiction writer, playwright, translator and critic. Among his best-known works are novels The White Disease, Krakatit and War with the Newts, and plays such as R.U.R, Pictures from the Insects’ Life and The Mother. He was close to his brother Josef, with whom he co-wrote many of his works. Alongside the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, he produced the popular collection Talks with T. G. Masaryk. Karel Čapek used his writing to reflect on the looming political threat. He himself did not live to see World War II, though his brother was eventually murdered in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
GOLDEN RIBBON AWARD (BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL OF THE YEAR)
November 2020, 256 pages
Rights sold: France (Glénat), Turkey (Dergah), South Korea (Sunest), Italy (Miraggi Edizioni), Spain (La Cúpula)
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.
“Argo Publishers is giving Rossum’s Universal Robots a chance to conquer the world again, making sure the immortal classic doesn’t bore readers to death. The comic book approach is the perfect way to bring classic literature to a contemporary audience. Readers’ emotions are tapped into using not only drawings which are color-matched to reflect the atmosphere of the story, but also through the speech bubbles. The text quite literally leaps off the pages at times and gets the audience fired up with its carefully selected punchiness.”
„The drawings are distinctive and impeccable. R.U.R. is essentially a depressing tragedy of apocalyptic proportions, albeit tempered at the end by a hint of better times in which the best of humanity returns to the world of robots. Čupová stages the story using subtle, almost cheerful, or rather caricature-like drawings.”
– Pavel Mandys, iliteratura.cz