Preview: Sonny Liew’s and Gene Luen Yang’s retro superhero book

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Over at his blog, Sonny Liew’s been posting some lettered pages from his as yet untitled upcoming book with Gene Luen Yang for First Second, and it looks pretty great, particularly that 50’s inspired pulpy cover. As a fan of Liew’s work, I’ve been keeping up with this project for a while, (although aware of Yang  -as the author of American Born Chinese and Level Up- I’ve yet to get round to reading any of his books), so I knew it was a retro superhero book, but that’ s about it. Here’s an exclusive, and intriguing, little synopsis from Liew:

‘It’s basically a origins story of a character created back in the 40s – his distinction being that he was meant to be Asian American. Gene has been exploring identity issues with his comics, of course, so this is another angle.

One of the interesting things about the comic was that the artist and creator (Chu Hing) has to go out of his way never to show his face in the comic – which apparently was due to his publishers or editors not wanting to reveal too  clearly that he was, in fact, Asian! We did try to incorporate those elements into the book.’

Chu Hing is credited for working on 29 issues in the 40’s and 50’s, 4 of which were on a title called Blazing Comics (the book Liew’s homaged in the cover above). These books featured the character Yang and Liew are reviving: Green Turtle- ‘the first Asian superhero’, a ‘mysterious individual who almost never let anyone see his face (the reader included). Armed only with his wits, combats skills, a remarkable light aircraft (the Turtle Plane,) and a mystic jade dagger, he and Burma Boy, a youngster he saved from the Japanese, flew across Asia battling the Imperial Japanese Army. While having no obvious powers granted by his jade dagger, he did seem to cast a shadow that had a bright pair of eyes and face.’ (via Comic Vine)

No projected release date for this yet, but another title to add to your list of ‘books to keep an eye on.’

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Comments

  1. Chris Hero says:

    Gene Yang’s work is awesome. He does a fantastic job communicating a lot of information with each of his drawings. It’s not the flashiest stuff, but it’s soooo fundamentally sound.

  2. Sonny and Gene’s Green Turtle is featured in a three-page story called “The Shadow Hero,” told via old newspaper comic strips in SHATTERED: The Asian American Comics Anthology. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595588248

  3. Zainab Akhtar says:

    Thanks Keith, I wasn’t aware of that, it looks great. Now to hunt down a copy…

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