The Shadow Hero

The Shadow Hero

Book - 2014
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In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity ... The Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero.
In the Chinese neighborhood of San Incendio, Hank's mother wants him to become a superhero. Hank is not interested, until gangsters threaten his father's grocery. The plot contains sexual references, violence, and negative stereotypes.
Publisher: New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2014
Edition: 1st ed. 2014
ISBN: 9781489843364
Call Number: TEEN GN YANG
Characteristics: 158 p. : chiefly col. ill. ; 26 cm
Additional Contributors: Liew, Sonny 1974-- Illustrator


From Library Staff

The Green Turtle—arguably the first Chinese-American superhero—is recast as 19-year-old Hank Chu, a second-generation Chinese American living in who (at his mother's urging) takes up crime fighting, aided by an ancient shadow spirit that gives him limited superpowers and provides some hilarious b... Read More »

Was the Green Turtle the first Chinese-American superhero? Witty dialogue and action-packed panels will keep readers flipping the pages to find out.

Funny, fast-paced graphic novel starring what might be the first Asian-American superhero.

Was the Green Turtle the first Chinese-American superhero? Witty dialogue and action-packed panels will keep readers flipping the pages to find out.

From the critics

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Jun 30, 2017

Great graphic novel. A book hard to put down, with a touching and intriguing story. One of the better graphic novels out there! Highly recommend for anyone who loves a page turner!

JCLGreggW May 08, 2017

An homage to an obscure pre-WW2 Chinese superhero, Gene Yang creates a original tale filled with warmth, heart, the love of family, a hint of mystery, and plenty of two-fisted heroism. This is an absolute delight.

JCLJoshN Feb 27, 2017

I think I know a lot about the Golden Age of Comics, but I'd never heard of Blazing Comics and the Green Turtle before. The Shadow Hero is a great introduction and elaboration on the character, imagining a terrific origin story as well as telling a great story about Chinese immigrants and their children in early 20th century America. This is a wonderful way of taking the racist-for-their-time World War II-era superheroes and reimagining them as something truly inspiring and empowering.

spl_merley Nov 20, 2016

A beautiful, funny retelling of the first Chinese comic superhero The Shadow. What does it take to become a superhero? It turns out it helps to have an obsessive Chinese mother and an unexpected legacy. A delight to read.

me_tis_awesome Oct 31, 2016

It's new, that's whats important.

Aug 31, 2016

Yang and Liew are two of our favorite comics creators, and their reincarnation of an almost-forgotten 40’s superhero called Green Turtle is absolutely perfect. Who was he? How did he get his superpowers? He has powers, right?

Well, no. His mother did push him into a toxic spill once, but that didn't work. Her other attempts didn't work either. So she finally took him for kung fu training from her ex-boyfriend (that’s not awkward), and The Golden Man of Bravery was born! Except a name change is possibly in order. The Golden Man of Bravery is just too long.

Whatever his name, I can’t think of a better way to describe this book than what’s on the back cover: “…this hilarious and insightful graphic novel about heroism and heritage is also a loving tribute to the long, rich tradition of American superhero comics.” Pick it up, y’all!

Apr 22, 2016

As a fan of American Born Chinese, I wanted to read more of Gene Luen Yang's work. I'm definitely all for more Chinese protagonists (or any of colour, for that matter). The Shadow Hero is an inventive imagining (albeit based on an old comic) of a Chinese superhero and how he became who he is. There is intrigue involving ancient Chinese spirits and a mob boss, and humour is laced throughout, giving the story a light feel despite some dark moments. The plot hits some bumps along the way that unfortunately aren't always believable, like how would Hank's mother gleefully coerces her son to become a superhero without once considering his safety (until tragedy strikes), or Hank's uncle is conveniently a kung fu master. Instances like this such as these remove immersion in the wonderfully drawn panels. Yang seems more interested in the idea of Chinese superhero than writing a cohesive and structured narrative.

Oct 12, 2015

It's a history lesson and a superhero story rolled into one. It's funny and yet in moments very sincere. I also love the story for it's diversity. There aren't many Asian superheros.

BklynAthenaD Jun 17, 2015


Sep 25, 2014

A very fun imagining of the 1940s origin of the first Asian American superhero. Gene Luen Yang is in fine form.


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