Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsman (??) of fame wuxia novelist Shiao Yi has been adapted into a comic book series by Immortal Studios – with the first issue releasing on December 7. The new adaptation brings the iconic 1970s story into a modern setting, swapping ancient mystical mountains for urban jungles.
The author of the novel Shiao Yi is one of China’s most famous wuxia novelists, whose works have been adapted into 30 films and TV shows. In fact, he was honored with a permanent collection at UCLA’s East Asian Library, making him the first writer of Asian descent and the only Wuxia writer to appear in the permanent collection of the ‘UCLA.
Wuxia (æ¦ä¿ ), which translates to “hero of martial arts”, is a genre of popular fiction from China that covers film, television and literature.
Tales of Wuxia often center on stories involving martial artists, or swordsmen, as they are called, righting wrongs or bringing justice to the oppressed or marginalized. The settings for these stories usually take place in ancient China.
The comic version of Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsman was written by Peter Shiao, founder and CEO of Immortal Studios and son of Shiao Yi, and illustrated by Pop Mhan. It was originally funded by Kickstarter, where the campaign received an impressive 300% of its requested funding.
This first issue will be followed by three other comic book releases, which, taken as a four-part series, will constitute a graphic novel.
It follows the journey of Chinese-American student Phil Du, who finds himself in the midst of a civil war between supernatural warriors while navigating between reality and a virtual world.
“I am delighted to be able to present Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen [to] a whole new western audience, âexplains Peter Shiao. “I grew up surrounded by stories of wuxia, and Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen has always been my favorite of my dad’s bestselling novels.
He adds that the new comic book series has been modernized for a new generation of wuxia fans, with the introduction of Los Angeles as a new backdrop and new technology for the characters.
The novel-to-comic book adaptation is the latest addition to Immortal Storyverse, an interconnected universe created by Immortal Studios that brings together a wide range of characters and stories from the wuxia genre. The studio’s first track to release was The Adept, a beautiful ode to the tradition of kung fu which receded in 2020.
When asked why he embarked on the journey with Immortal Studios, Peter Shiao told RADII: âI have always believed that storytelling and media can be a huge tool for positive change in the world. , starting with personal transformation. And that the wuxia genus, in particular, is the genre that has a transformative perspective deeply rooted in its DNA.
Given the significant rise in anti-Asian sentiment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, adaptation could also be a much-needed way to strengthen cultural understanding among Americans.
In reality, Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsman specifically includes anti-Asian violence in its plot to commemorate this tragic chapter in our history.
“The lack of representation in culture and the media is one of the important factors which has allowed racist and ignorant views to take root in the absence of a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of Asians as an integral part of American life, âexplains Peter Shiao. “So, [by] by having stories for mainstream consumption that portray Asian American life from a conscious and focused perspective, we are creating systemic change. “
And Immortal Studios’ journey certainly doesn’t end there.
Peter Shiao shares: âIn 10 years I see Immortal in full bloom as a multi-faceted multimedia and lifestyle brand that is leading the world’s first history. Where our characters, stories and themes are ubiquitous in all forms of media, brought together with a powerfully engaged fan base that inspires heroes everywhere.
Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen is now exclusively available for purchase in print and digital format from the Immortal Studios website. A free 15-page preview of the title is also available for download here.
All images courtesy of Immortal Studios