Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Legion Of Dustbin Heroes : The Green Turtle

It’s hard to imagine just how big the comic book industry was during the Golden Age. There was room for dozens of publishers who produced reams of product, particularly between 1939 til the end of WW2. The magazines were big (over 50 pages) and the strips often short (7-10 pages) requiring that tons of characters be created to fill those books. Sure we all know Superman, Captain Marvel, Submariner, and Plasticman today, but for every Flash or Captain America we recall there were dozens of obscure costumed heroes that are long forgotten. I intend for this series to explore these unremembered champions.

My first entry comes thanks to a link sent to me by sometime D/N contributor James. It sent me to a site that spoke of the Chinese-American artist and cartoonist Chu Hing. Reading the copy led me to check out a short-lived periodical BLAZING COMICS. It was the home of Hing’s Green Turtle. Check out his distinctive and horribly violent cover to the debut issue from June 1944.

The character was a mystery man based in war torn China who fought brutal battles with the invading Japanese. It combined elements from Quality’s Blackhawk with a dash of Capt. America. Each story opened with a string of Chinese characters, their translation and sometimes a corresponding English phrasing. Chu made a very cool artistic decision by having the hero’s shadow take on an expressive quality as the Chinese astrological being, the Black Turtle. Here is the opening tale from that same issue.

In BLAZING COMICS #3 our hero fights against his own doppelganger!

I’ll end things with his final tale from issue 5.

I rather like the Green Turtle and it inspires a crazy thought. Wouldn’t it be awesome if some Chinese film producer adapted him for a live action movie?


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