Seriously when I saw the words “green” and “turtle,” I immediately associated with these dudes:
But that’s besides the point.
Green Turtle (no relations with Green Lantern or Green Arrow) is an OG superhero character from the Golden Age of comic books and was created by Chu Hing in the 40s. Now Gene Luen Yang, author of Boxers & Saints, is reviving the superhero in his new graphic novel titled The Shadow Hero which will feature Green Turtle’s origin story. Here is the premise for his graphic novel
We tell the story of Hank Chu, a Chinese American teenager growing up in 1930′s Chinatown. Hank wants nothing more than to work in his family’s grocery store. His mother has more ambitious plans. She wants him to embody the excitement of their new home. She wants him to become a superhero.
So who is this turtle cloak stuntin’ crime fighter?
At the time Chu Hing wanted his character to be a Chinese American superhero, but the publishers was not having it. America was not ready to be shaken by this change in the default race of most superheroes in the Golden Age. But Chu Hing was no fool, he drew the original Green Turtle comics with the superhero’s face covered or unobstructed by an object.
Whenever the hero is on a panel, we almost always just see his cape. Whenever he is turned around, something is blocking his face. […] Rumor is that Chu Hing did this so he could imagine his hero as he originally intended, as a Chinese-American.” That would make the Green Turtle, who debuted in 1944, the first Asian-American superhero.
The hero was said to be a skilled fighter(#turtlepower) with no special abilities and was fitted with a green cowl and a cloak with the ill turtle shell design on it. Unfortunately, the origin of Green Turtle was very obscured during Chu Hing’s time, but with The Shadow Hero I think it would be interesting to see the Asian culture and the values getting the spotlight in America’s comic book realm.
The first installment of The Shadow Hero will be digitally release next week and the print version will be available in July.