Say, remember that character
displayed prominently in my big group drawing from April? He’s from @amperethecomicseries and my copy of volume one just arrived today! I can tell you proudly and without fail that artist/author @retromissile
delivered; every page of this sci-fi/fantasy graphic novel is
jaw-droppingly gorgeous with super clean lines and vibrant colors.
(thanks for the especially cool sketch on the inside page!
The Shadow Hero: giving an origin story to comics' first Asian-American superhero #2yrsago
Gene Luen Yang has made comics history with his graphic novels about race and identity, now, with Sonny Liew, he goes back in time to reinvent the first Asian superhero in the history of comics. Cory Doctorow reviews The Shadow Hero and presents an exclusive excerpt.
Back in October 2013, I posted a video in which comics creator Gene Luen Yang introduced his next project, The Shadow Hero, a graphic novel that invents an origin story for The Green Turtle, the first-ever Asian-American superhero who featured in a short-lived, five-issue series in 1944.
The Shadow Hero is out in stores today, and it’s a provocative, exciting adventure that lives up to the promise of a collaboration between Yang (whose work, like the award-winningAmerican Born Chinese, has been fearless in its willingness to engage with tough issues of race) and illustrator Sonny Liew, whose work I came to love through Malinky Robot.
Yang and Liew’s backstory for the Green Turtle is a golden-age comics whiz-bang adventure story that unflinchingly faces the widespread racism against Asian-Americans that rose to a fever pitch in WWII, while skewering modern stereotypes of Tiger Mothers and nose-to-grindstone Chinese kids. It walks a fine line between slapstick and commentary, to great effect – reminiscent of the work of Will Eisner or Harvey Kurtzman in its blending of broad humor and sly digs.
At the same time, Shadow Hero is a terrific story, full of the kinds of timeless dilemmas about responsibility, power, and duty that makes the superhero motif so enduring.
The book ends with a powerful essay by Yang in which he discusses his motives for writing the book, and then a reprint of one of the original Green Turtle comics from its 1944 run.
SHUFFLE YOUR MUSIC LIBRARY AND PUT YOUR FIRST THREE SONGS HERE → Mozart: Symphony #35 In D, K 285, “Haffner” - 4. Presto; When The Sun Went Down by The Arctic Monkeys; and Veridis Quo by Daft Punk
LAST THING YOU BOUGHT ONLINE → Textbook for one of my teaching classes. Not very exciting.
ANY PHOBIAS OR FEARS? → Spiders, falling, and the panopticon.
HOW WOULD YOUR FRIENDS DESCRIBE YOU? → Quiet, smart, and intense.
HOW WOULD YOUR ENEMIES DESCRIBE YOU → I don’t think I have any enemies, but I hope they think of me as a scary-ass bitch. Fear me, motherfuckers.
WHO WOULD YOU TAKE A BULLET FOR? → My mom and my best friend, Sean.
IF YOU HAD MONEY TO SPARE WHAT WOULD YOU BUY FIRST? → What is our reference point for “spare” money? If we’re talking middle class concepts of extra money, I’d probably put it into a fund for traveling. If our reference point is someone ultra-wealthy, IMMA GET ME A HOUSE WITH A POOL.
“I was an enormous fan,” says Neil Gaiman, the multi-award-winning author and graphic novelist. “I still am. I don’t really understand why the material of Love and Rockets isn’t widely regarded as one of the finest pieces of fiction of the last 35 years. Because it is.”
“I grew up on a very, very remote farm in an incredibly white part of the Oregon coast,” remembers comic writer Gail Simone. “As a kid, the first issue of Love and Rockets I saw astonished me not just with its visual and storytelling mastery, but with the worlds it focused on – characters of every shape and background, from women selling babosas barefooted to sexy, smart mechanic girlfriends. I’d never experienced anything like it, and that’s because there is nothing else like it.”
New issue wades into the conversations about race, poverty and gentrification roiling the US, responding to a new political consciousness among fansBatman patrols the rooftops. But not until Wednesday did the Dark Knight find himself investigating a black teenager in a hoodie shot dead by a frightened white police officer, let alone wondering about his own indirect role in the boy’s death.
Comics critics say they are hard pressed to remember Batman ever addressing institutional racism and its socio-economic dimensions as bluntly as this in the character’s 75-year history. While police corruption has long been a feature of Gotham – even showing up on the eponymous Fox TV adaptation about to enter its second season – it it is rarely shown to disproportionately impact black people.
Yet Batman #44, a flashback story, begins with the blunt image of a dead black boy, his body left “for the crows”, as the narration reads, resonant of Michael Brown in Ferguson. He wears a hooded sweatshirt, as did Trayvon Martin before George Zimmerman killed the 17-year old. What begins as A Simple Case – the title of the issue – becomes a meditation on the meaning of a rich, white vigilante who attempts to solve intractable urban problems by beating up bad guys.
“Published for the first time in English, this critically acclaimed French graphic novel celebrates the life of the glorious athlete who metamorphosed from the young boxer Cassius Clay to the legendary three-time heavyweight champion, activist, and provocateur Muhammad Ali, and focuses on key figures in the civil rights movement.