Even though it only came out today from First Second, Gene Yang and Sonny Liew's The Shadow Hero is already one of my favorite graphic novels of the year. Through their revival of an obscure Golden Age character called the Green Turtle, Yang and Liew have gone back to tell a story about one of the forgotten heroes of the first wave of American comics, blending a story full of action and adventure with rumors about the true motivations behind what may have been the first Asian-American superhero.
To find out more, I spoke to Yang about how he discovered the Green Turtle, what he hopes comes out of his work on a public domain character, and why he focused on the Green Turtle's relationship with his mom.
It's already been a pretty amazing year for original graphic novels with Kyle Starks' Sexcastle being funded on Kickstarter and Box Brown's long-awaited Andre the Giant in stores now, but we're not done getting great comics yet. The latest contender for OGN Of The Year is The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew, out this July from First Second.
In their story, they tell one of the most exciting and heartfelt superhero stories I've seen in a while, and they do it by reviving one of the most interesting characters of all time. See, The Shadow Hero is actually a Golden Age character called the Green Turtle, and while his adventures on the page never really caught on, the story behind the character is fascinating -- especially how Yang and Liew use that real life story to shape the one they're telling in the book.
Box Brown's Andre the Giant: Life and Legendis already one of my favorite graphic novels of the year. In an exhaustively researched, incredibly compelling biography, Brown goes through the major events of Andre's life, both in the ring and outside of it, and he pulls off the pretty amazing trick of making him seem like a flawed and relatable human being while simultaneously painting him as the larger-than-life giant that he was.
Today, with the book finally being released next week, I've spoken to Brown about the research that he did, his experience watching Andre's match against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III over and over, and why he's not Facebook friends with pro wrestler Blackjack Mulligan anymore.
For manyScott McCloud is a name that's synonymous with comics -- Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics and Making Comics -- but it's been awhile since the Zot creator has released sequential art that wasn't rooted in education. That changes on February 3 next year with the relase of The Sculptor from First Second, a story McCloud's had in mind for more than two decades and has been actively working on for five years.
We may still be in the thick of spring, but First Secondis getting ready for the May 6 release of This One Summer by writer Mariko Tamakiand artist Jillian Tamaki, prolific Canadian cousins known for a variety of solo works on top of their 2008 collaboration, the graphic novel Skim.
Set in a quiet beach town, This One Summer shows readers the culmination of preteen Rose's vacation, which deviates from its annual fun-in-the-sun standard and comes peppered with new parental problems, local teen drama and horror movie-watching. You can get some insight into how the Tamakis' worked together to craft a coming-of-age story for 2014 in our full interview after the jump.
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Cartoonist Lucy Knisley attended both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Center for Cartoon Studies. She's written two graphic novels, French Milk and Relish, the latter of which was a New York Times bestseller. She's also worked for many comics publishers including Boom! and Marvel.
Fresh off his lengthy series of short Gum Girl graphic novels, cartoonist Andi Watson is shifting gears toward a long-form, "adorably spooky" title coming from First Second in winter 2015.
Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula will follow the exploits of an overworked underworld princess who decides to hire a chef (who happens to also be a vampire) to help her achieve her day-to-day tasks. For more on Watson's take on the book and a first look at its interiors, hit the jump!
The artist behind Late Freeze, Slow Storm and Refresh, Refresh is back this week with a new original graphic novel from First Second, and it's a wild one. Danica Novgorodoff's The Undertaking of Lily Chen is the tale of a young man seeking a corpse bride -- no, not for himself, for his dead older brother. Sent by his parents to fulfill the tradition of sending single men of good standing into the afterlife with a similarly deceased single woman following a "ghost marriage," Deshi ventures into hills of northern China where he must contend with every corner of a business that's shadier than Steve Ditko's Changing Man -- including Lily, the unfortunately living candidate he's stumbled across.
If you'd asked me three months ago what my most anticipated graphic novel of 2014 was, I could've given you the answer without even having to think about it: Box Brown's Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, a comic book biography of one of the most famous professional wrestlers of all time. Admittedly, I'm right smack in the center of the target audience for that book, but there's so much about the man that's fascinating, and Brown's work as a Xeric Grant and Ignatz Award-winning cartoonist is top notch -- it's something I feel like I would've been interested in even if I was going into it cold, with no knowledge whatsoever of the world of professional wrestling.
The book isn't out until May, but the book's publisher, First Second, sent over a review copy and I couldn't wait to read it. It's the sort of book that I knocked out in one sitting, and it lived up to every hope I had for it. It's not just one of my favorite graphic novels of the year, but it's also one of my favorite comic biographies of all time.
Following the immense critical and commercial success of his two volume epic Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang announced his next project for First Second, The Shadow Hero. Written by Yang and illustrated by Sonny Liew, The Shadow Hero is an origin story for The Green Turtle, a golden age pulp hero who first appeared in 1944′s Blazing Comics #1.
Created by cartoonist Chu F. Hing, The Green Turtle was the first ever Asian-American superhero, and one of the first characters to have an Asian-American creator. The Shadow Hero will be a revival for the character, as he stars in new stories for the first time in decades.
But before its release, Yang and Liew created a preview for the book, first published in the pages of the Shattered Anthology, which Tor.com has just released in full color.
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