The Shadow Hero

Reading time ~4 minutes

The (Western?) World’s first Chinese superhero! Gene Luen Yang creates an origin story for a forgotten, subversive character from the Golden Age. The Green Turtle! It’s fair to say that he has found a golden nugget from that era.

AUTHORS NOTE: I am embarrassingly behind on write ups. The others have kept up pretty well but I’ve spent the past year just not bothering. So here is a listicle version of everyone’s thoughts on the book. These are the literal notes from the night, which I’ve edited for any faux pas.



  • Felt quite grounded.
  • People who become superheroes.
  • Breath of fresh air and uncynical compared to Mark Millar.
  • Didn’t know any background - a mystery until the end.
  • Doesn’t need the revival story - works as it’s own thing.
  • Felt like a story working for itself.
  • Funny.
  • Great characterisation.
  • Loved his mother.
  • Not a character you see in comics much.
  • Family relationship: heavy on that like Ms Marvel.
  • Bit cartoonish, didn’t love the art but didn’t put me off.
  • Serves the story.
  • The whole sequence of pushing the boy into chemical concoctions - funny.
  • Thing not normally fond of.
  • Gangster thing again not one of my favourite things. Don’t like them…
  • …but in the background. Father gets killed and he turns into a super turtle.
  • An uninteresting character but didn’t need whistles and bells.
  • Liked him - innocent.
  • Fight scenes with tortoise giving instructions - brilliant/great.
  • Having read the 40s character and the struggle of it being Chinese…
  • …looking back over treatment, seeing the back a lot and similarities.
  • A really sweet thing.
  • Hope it’s a standalone.
  • Series of 5 issues is enough.
  • Loved setting of 40s World.
  • Brought it to life.
  • Cute romance but not necessary.
  • Not a lot to say really.
  • Read in one lunch time - easy.
  • Unexpected and quite pleasurable.


A solid 4 stars.


Mother's dream


  • A lot like Jake…not a massive amount… not because awful or hated it.
  • When I looked at it, wondered whether I would connect.
  • Remarkably accessible.
  • Extremely funny in some parts.
  • Not lol’d at things that are culturally different just funny situations - witty.
  • Art - not my scene.
  • Chew - people very much like the same in that.
  • Interested to know from anyone who insight into Chinese families if the archetypes are real or how much blown out of proportion?
  • An archetype that must exist for a reason.
  • A lovely, unlovable woman.
  • Father loves her genuinely.
  • The kung fu uncle loves her.
  • Son does even she is weird and stand offish.
  • As long as not through a lens that is weird for people not aware of it…
  • …as in I map my own experiences to it, like in divorcing parents I cannot stand infidelity.
  • But relationships here are so unfamiliar that I’m forced to look at it from outside.
  • Bizarre why he puts up with her - no emotional feedback but still devoted.
  • Making her smile but is heartbreaking.
  • Jake says that felt really real: drawn on something.
  • Honest, not stretching too far or too clever.
  • A yarn with a different spin.
  • Fave: “She’s talking about his testicles…”
  • “Really made me want to watch Big Trouble In Little China which can only be a really good thing”.
  • What’s with the obsession about the mother’s bosom?!?


Really interesting little thing. Didn’t stress. Didn’t want to burn it which is usually how I feel about Kelv’s books…


Green Turtle


  • I would’ve read it again myself… except Kelv had to borrow my copy!
  • Missed first time: we see the Dad’s shadow, Turtle fulfilling the promise.
  • Interested to read it.
  • Both creators have books on Tom’s list.
  • I think this is fantastic.
  • Boxer’s and Saints - I will definitely go and read.
  • Charlie Chan’s Art of Hok Chye.
  • Hadn’t heard of this one.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Really do have an issue with the big heads.
  • Will follow up on writer but not artist.
  • Just a style thing, calms down to a degree, settles on just the Mum.
  • A little too close to Rob Gilroy’s Chew which most of us don’t like.
  • Only the art holding Tom back
  • Read in 2 passes, as most of us - wanted to read it.
  • Not been able to watch much telly, but more time to read and this one was wanted.
  • Great touches how bullets scoot around.
  • Despite disliking how he designs people, storytelling approach is very good.
  • Dad death is a full page panel.
  • It’s dense yet reads really, really easily.
  • Jake loves all the silhouette work.
  • Wondered if the Tiger spirit is in the mother (Me: “No…!”)
  • Even though the dragon has a nice rivalry, the others weren’t needed.
  • 40s types superhero archetypes.
  • Really, really thoroughly enjoyed it.


If not for the art, it would’ve been a 5.


Golden Bravery


  • Art and culture feel genuine.
  • Tiger mum - hateful.
  • Humbleness isn’t a thing.
  • Hate how she treats son and husband.
  • Pride makes her horrible.
  • Genuine feelings.
  • Real calligraphy.
  • Easy to read.
  • Back story intriguing. Love the subversiveness.


I didn’t really like the art either but enjoyed the story immensely.



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