Immortal’s Latest Series Follows Shaolin Master Amidst Boxer Rebellion

A tale of heroism, enlightenment, and kick-ass martial arts, ‘Fa Sheng: Origins’ is rooted in historical events

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May 10, 2022 2 mins read

Can’t get enough of badass Chinese superheroes since watching Shang-Chi and Everything Everywhere All at Once? Us too. So here’s a hot tip: Keep an eye out for Fa Sheng: Origins, a new wuxia (武俠) comic book brought to you by Immortal Studios.

The Los Angeles-based comics studio behind The Adept and Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen is now on its third series, unfolding in a shared wuxia universe.

Taking a cue from actual historical events, Fa Sheng: Origins is set at the dawn of the 19th century, during the height of the Boxer Rebellion — an uprising against foreigners in China. Our protagonist: Fa Sheng, a “death-cheating, mind-bending Shaolin Master.”

Fa Sheng: Origins is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, mobilizing fans to support this groundbreaking project. Depending on the pledge package donors select, Immortal Studios will reward them with a digital or print copy of the comic, illustrated by Dexter Wee, along with special cover art and other benefits.

Little has been revealed about the storyline, although the project’s Kickstarter campaign does suggest we can expect an enlightenment-seeking Shaolin Master “committed to helping those in need” while also facing off against “ruthless adversaries, backstabbing power grabbers and cowardly charlatans.” The campaign page also offers a sneak peek at five different covers and a few inside pages.

One of the covers of Fa Sheng: Origins

Writer Rylend Grant, who has collaborated with Hollywood big shots such as Ridley Scott, J.J. Abrams, and Luc Besson, is also an ordained Soto Zen monk.

One of Grant’s missions when penning Fa Sheng: Origins was to inspire readers to face adversities without fear and be their best selves. In a press release for the project, Grant said:

“You’re not born into enlightenment. It’s earned. It’s fought for, tooth and nail, over time. It is too often a byproduct of tragedy and strife.”

Immortal Studios CEO Peter Shiao, who also created the character Fa Sheng, informed RADII of the time period’s importance to the story: Martial arts played a crucial role in how the Boxer Uprising unraveled.

He adds that the comic’s setting, Heze, previously known as Caozhou, in China’s Shandong province, holds historical significance where wuxia is concerned.

“Heze was the home of the heroes from the classic Chinese novel The Water Margin,” says Peter. “So it’s no wonder many of the Boxers who heeded the call of the time hailed from Heze.”

wuxia martial arts comics

The son of Shiao Yi, one of China’s most celebrated authors in the wuxia genre, Peter is on a mission to continue in his dad’s footsteps. His formidable father’s writings have been adapted into more than 30 films and TV series.

Translated to English as ‘martial arts heroes,’ wuxia is a genre of fiction from China that covers the realms of film, television, and literature.

As the genre of kung fu heroics that inspired films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, wuxia tales often center around stories involving warriors avenging misdeeds or obtaining justice for the downtrodden or the marginalized. These stories typically take place in ancient China.

Through Immortal Studios, Peter aspires to take the wuxia genre into the future with contemporary twists.

“As wuxia has been popularized and disseminated globally, it has a deep connection with Chinese youth culture,” says the creative, adding:

“I believe there is a lot of value in exploring real-life martial heroes in the not-too-distant past. Real heroes who fought and bled during circumstances that tragically brought the East and West together.”

The timing of the Kickstarter campaign for Immortal’s latest project couldn’t be better, since AAPI Heritage Month is observed during May in the U.S. As a comic that explores Chinese history and features a badass warrior monk, let’s hope it helps to generate interest in Chinese culture at a time when cross-cultural understanding between the East and West has never been more critical.

Are you eager to get a sneak peek at ‘Fa Sheng #1’? We don’t blame you, and you can do so by clicking here (you’re welcome!). You can also show the project some love on Kickstarter.

All images courtesy of Immortal Studios

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