“The Shadow Hero,” by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second Books).


“So. I screwed up.”

That’s how Gene Luen Yang begins his first-person comic this week in a “Diversity in YA” Tumblr post.

Yang is addressing a mistake he made in “The Shadow Hero,” his much-acclaimed graphic novel (created with artist Sonny Liew) that has topped many best-of-2014 lists, including that of The Post’s Book World.

In an essay in the graphic novel’s first printing, Yang explains how “The Shadow Hero” creates a story around what just may be the first Asian American superhero in comics history: The Green Turtle, who first appeared during the World War II era. The Green Turtle was created by Chu F. Hing — that much is true. But in his new comic, Yang corrects the record regarding using “Hing” as the creator’s family name.

“This is incorrect,” Yang writes now. “Hing is his individual name. His familial name is Chu.” Yang goes on to explain how he conducted his research about the “mysterious” ’40s cartoonist who disappeared from comics history soon after the first five issues of the Green Turtle, according to Yang.

The “Shadow Hero” writer goes on to explain:

by Gene Luen Yang (used by permission of the artist)
by Gene Luen Yang (used by permission of the artist)


“I felt pretty embarrassed about it,” Yang tells The Post’s Comic Riffs, “especially after hearing a talk that [scholar] Sarah Park Dahlen gave [about cultural missteps] at Hamline University over the summer.

“I’ve been wanting to do a comic about it since then, but only now had the time,” continues Yang, who is a two-time National Book Award finalist, for “American Born Chinese” and “Boxers & Saints.”

Yang himself gave a rousing and widely shared talk about writing diverse characters, during the opening-night event for the National Book Festival this past summer.