Month: February 2014

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye Preview No.2

Here’s another preview of the Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, excerpts from the first 25 pages or so.

(See the earlier preview here:

It’s still a work-in-progress draft, so please excuse any typos! :p (note: The pages below are in sequence, but there are missing pages inbetween some of them :p)

005 006   008009010 011

012 013 015 016 021 022 023

Shadow Hero: Process (No Recess)


The Shadow Hero script was the first I ever worked with with detailed thumbnails already included, and the clarity of pacing, comic timing and general storytelling in Gene‘s layouts were so spot on, most of the time I just had to follow them as they were.

Where there were changes, it usually felt like for-the-sake-of-change rather than any improvement in storytelling.

Same, yet Different, is about all there was :p


In any case, I’d do the revised thumbnails and send them over to Gene and the folks at First Second for approval, and once the go ahead was gotten, it was on to the pencils.


These days, I make a scan of the pencils and print them out on A3 paper – mostly it’s out of Fear of Bad Inking, since it gives me the option of reprinting a page and starting over, rather then the horror of ruining your one and only page of pencils :p


After that it’s the inking…


Then the color flatting (where I had invaluable help from Xueling, Clement and Junjie)


And finally adding a tone of two to make everything pop a bit more 🙂

The pages above are from issue 2 of the Shadow Hero, do get your E-copy before they, erm, run out! :p

Some early reviews, including an “A” from the Pullbox  (Myke likes it for the”quality of the script” , “the beautiful and cheery aesthetic and charming plot” and it’s “unique tone and appeal“) and over at Goodreads!


Shadow Hero: Enter Mr.Han?


When I first saw the thumbnail sketch Gene did of one of the villains the Green Turtle faces (see above), I was 99% sure he was based on the the character Mr.Han (played by the late  Shih Kien) from Enter the Dragon.

The black outfit, the sharp nose, the claw… and he was, after all, the main baddie in one of Bruce Lee‘s best known movies.


But when I asked Gene about it, he’d never seen the movie before!

Strange coincidences, strange attractors,  the mysteries of the world 🙂

Here in any case are the sketches for the character, my homage of sorts to Mr.Han. Look out for him in upcoming issues of The Shadow Hero!




Shadow Hero: The Backgrounds Strike Back


The Shadow Hero is out today in e-format, available from Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Nobles! 🙂


We used 1930s San Francisco as our main visual guide for the story, with locales ranging from provision shops to casinos, police stations to restaurants. A lot of visual reference was required, and aside from buying as many books of 1930s Chinatowns as I could get my hands on, there was of course the internet.

Below is a sample of the collated pictures! (Click on it for a slightly larger version)


See if you can match any of the images used to panels from the book!

(No prizes unfortunately, besides the quiet satisfaction of being just a little sastified :p)


Here meanwhile is another character sketch. Hank is on the lower tier, but who’s the old fellow with the moustache? Find out in… The Shadow Hero! 🙂

Shadow Hero Character Sketches Set#1


With the imminent release of the first E-chapter of The Shadow Hero, by myself and Gene Yang, here are some of the early character sketches….

They ultimately ended up looking like they do in the panels above, but Hank’s parents went through several permutations in the design stage…



Well, actually Mother was always based on the actress Chen Pei Pei; in more recent years known for her role in “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon“, but who first became a star back in 1966’s “Come Drink With Me“. Most of the tweaks were with the hairstyle :p



Father’s appearance underwent a bigger shift, ultimately based loosely on another Shaw martial arts star, Ti Lung.

father-2  father-v2

(The rationale was that the Shadow Hero could be based off the actor in his younger days, and Father on his older, present, self.)

TiLung-115-b ti_lung_1

younghank youngparents

Finally, a bunch of drawings of young Hank, and young Mother 🙂 Drawings all done with ink, coloured in Photoshop.

Stay tuned for more! 🙂

Mask of the Phantasm


Always a little conflicted by presentation choices made by the Straits Times in their comics coverage, where they favour photos of creators rather than artwork from the books.

You’d think that readers would be more likely to pick up a book if they had a better idea and imprint in their minds of what the cover or interior pages looked like.

ShadowHero-Ecover-1-rgb-550x843 ShadowHero-Cov-final-small

The existing model works for non-illustrated books, but comics is such a visual medium it seems odd to confine the images to small thumbnails (TV and Film I guess avoid that since you  can do both with a shot of the actor in a  scene).


But maybe that’s wrongheaded, and in the context of limited space on a page (as opposed to the acreage afforded on websites), a focus on personalities does make sense. And probably we should all be grateful for any coverage at all, in this oversaturated world :p

Still: What  would make you more likely to buy a comic?

Anyway, buy an E-copy of The Shadow Hero this week, or get your pre-orders in! :p


The Shadow Hero #1


The first E-issue of the Shadow Hero is out next week! 🙂

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.

The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but the acclaimed author of American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang, has now revived this character in The Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle as a young, Asian-American immigrant named Hank whose mother is really, really excited about the possibility of having a superhero for a son . . . with at times disastrous results.”

Looking for Chu Hing and Other Things

Chu Fook Hing Photo 1919

The Shadow Hero, the origins story of the Green Turtle written by Gene Yang and drawn by me is out in book form in July from First Second, and  issues of the e-version is already out this month 🙂

Gene recently came across a blog entry by Alex Jay about the original creator of the Green Turtle, one Chu Hing, that has fascinating details about the life of one of the first Chinese American comics creators.

Here’s the life and times of Chu Hing:


Meanwhile, a project for the National Art Gallery on the painter Georgette Chen is going into post-production, and the book should be out soon!


Work on the Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye continues apace :p

Hope 2014 has begun swimmingly for everyone 🙂