The Green Turtle, the first Asian American super hero returns to comics
July 16, 2014 9:05 AM   Subscribe

If you heard the recent NPR's Codeswitch segment on The Green Turtle, the first Asian superhero created in the United States, you heard descriptions of the 1940s comic. But there's more (so much more!) online. Start with the entire run of The Green Turtle on the amazing Digital Comic Museum, which hosts public domain Golden Age comics (late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s). If you want to know more about Chu F. Hing, the artist behind the original Green Turtle, here's an extensively researched biography on the astounding Chinese American Eyes blog, which covers "famous, forgotten, well-known, and obscure visual artists of Chinese descent in the United States."

If that's not enough to get you lost for hours, I'll point out that NPR's Hansi Lo Wang was interviewing Gene Luen Yang, creator of the graphic novels American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints, who is now reviving The Green Turtle, making his Chinese heritage more apparent.

If you want to view some collections of Chu F. Hing's artwork, you can see Chinese American Eyes has four posts that might interest you: The Art of Chu F. Hing, Part 1: one-page features; The Art of Chu F. Hing, Part 2: covers and stories for various publishers; The Art of Chu F. Hing, Part 3: Marvel Comics; The Art of Chu F. Hing, Part 4: the Green Turtle, and the Judge and the Jury. Alex Jay doesn't talk much about himself, but Gene Yang describes him as someone who has been in the comics industry since the 1980s, and is a great researcher.

If you're wondering about Blazing Comics, the company behind The Green Turtle, Comic Vine has a short write-up on the parent company, Rural Home Publishing, which had a number of other comics companies under its umbrella. You can browse through their titles on Digital Comic Museum.
posted by filthy light thief (6 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I somehow forgot that Digital Comic Museum has been posted, twice, but it's a huge resource to fans of Golden Age comics. Speaking of the Golden Age, it's been mentioned, twice, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2014

And somehow people always forget that the Digital Comic Museum isn't alone, as Comicbook Plus also has an extensive collection of public domain Golden Age comics and beyond. (In fact both are forks from an earlier pd comics project.)

Also of course, to extend this excellent post, Saladin Ahmed regularly features weird as well as progressive Golden Age heroes and characters.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:14 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just bought this yesterday after meeting Gene Luen Yang at a trade show a few weeks back. He's super-nice, the Green Turtle is good (so far, still reading it), and, if you a) like comics and b) haven't read American Born Chinese, you should really do yourself the favor of reading it. Once you have done that, you should seriously think about reading Boxers & Saints, because Yang is that good.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:40 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have not yet read this but have it on hold (it hasn't made its way to the reserves area yet).

We had Gene Yang visit our library and some local schools several years ago. I got to drive him around. He is a very nice, laid-back, down-to-earth guy. I liked him a lot.
posted by johnofjack at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Gene Luen Yang is indeed a lovely person. His work is also very good. I love the mix of realism and magic in his graphic novels, and things like a Chinese-American character being drawn as white for part of American-Born Chinese because he sees himself that way (in contrast to his visiting Chinese cousin, who is seen as the worst kind of ill-behaved stereotype).
posted by not that girl at 12:13 PM on July 16, 2014

GYL is coming to the amazing Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis tomorrow (Friday) night at 7.
posted by gregglind at 5:45 PM on July 17, 2014

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