Summer Read: Faster Than A Speeding...Turtle?

August 7, 2015 | Helena

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The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

ShadowHeroBookCoverDid you know that in the 1940s, during what is widely considered the Golden Age of Comics, an obscure Chinese-American illustrator named Chu Hing created what is arguably the first Asian-American comic book superhero?  The Green Turtle wore a mask and a green cape and defended China, one of America's allies during the Second World War, from the Japanese military.  The comic strip only lasted five issues, and the Green Turtle's Chinese heritage, although hinted at, was never acknowledged.

In The Shadow Hero, award-winning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang gives readers the Green Turtle's origin story.  It begins with the collapse of the once great Chinese empire at the turn of the last century and the emigration of thousands of Chinese people to America.  A generation later, and San Inciendo's Chinatown is bustling but dangerous, ruled by gangsters through intimidation and brute force.

After Hank Chu tragically loses his beloved father to the whims of a gangster, he realizes that it is up to him to make Chinatown safe.  A mild-mannered son of a grocer, Hank transforms himself into a skilled and courageous fighter with an amazing ability that makes him unlikely to ever be vanquished.  To find out what that is, check out this exciting, unusual, and funny graphic novel.