Whether you discovered the art of Kung Fu through the films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter video games, or your local strip mall martial arts school, Kung Fu is pervasive in our media and culture.
And while Kung Fu has also been prevalent in comics over the decades, there has never been a Kung Fu shared universe in American Comics, which brings us to the new Fa Sheng: Origins series (now available to back on Kickstarter). The new six issue mini-series follows on the heels of Immortal Studios’ first title, The Adept, and features the humble beginnings of the Shaolin Master, created by Peter Shiao and written by Rylend Grant and artist Dexter Wee.
We spoke to Wee about the new series and all things Kung Fu in this exclusive interview.
How did you become involved in Fa Sheng: Origins?
Dexter Wee: The project was first introduced to me by a mutual friend and writer Anthony Fabro. Afterwards I received a message from Rylend Grant, the writer of Fa Sheng regarding the proposed project and an email from editor Brian Cunningham who asked me to do sample pages for the book. I am very much thankful for these gentlemen for believing in me and helping me achieve this dream.
In terms of your art style, how does it fit Fa Sheng?
Dexter Wee: I have been working with pen and brush for years now and I feel those two art tools suit Fa Sheng. I’m using more brush work also to give the pages that organic classic feel. I hope I am able to convey that image. I can be versatile in different genres, that’s why I am consciously reminding myself not to draw superhero style or manga while I am working on Fa Sheng pages. I approach Fa Sheng with an old school style but also a touch of modern lines.
Fa Sheng is obviously inspired by Wuxia cinema, but did you take any inspiration from the Jademan Comics and others from overseas?
Dexter Wee: Sadly I didn’t take any inspiration from the Jademan Comics. I didn’t grow up reading them as there were only a few comics in my place but I remember the old Chinese comics that my father bought me like One-Arm Swordsman and Yin Fei the Chinese Ninja. My main inspirations actually are the Shaolin Temple movies and Once Upon A Time in China movies. All starred in by the great Jet Li.
Fa Sheng is also a period piece, so what type of research did you have to do on the settings and era?
Dexter Wee: Rylend provided most of the historical background references that helped me prepare for this project. We also had these history lessons in high school and my favorite Once Upon A Time in China series is part 2 which was also set during the Boxer Rebellion era.
Who is your favorite Wuxia star?
Dexter Wee: I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s era so my favourites are Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Chow Yun fat and Bruce Lee. Brilliant actors.
How does Fa Sheng help build on your shared universe concept?
Dexter Wee: It will help the readers and fans of the Immortal Studios books to fully understand who Fa Sheng is. What his origin is. And what made him the man that he is today.
Dexter Wee: I am currently working on Fa Sheng issue two but I have an upcoming book this June from Scout Comics titled Mega Centurions. I am also currently working on a couple of projects, one is a werewolf graphic novel written by my pal Sean McArdle called The Wolves of Babylon. This is our second book after the Fuhrer and the Tramp.
Fa Sheng: Origins will be available to back on Kickstarter until May 24.