As announced at Image Expo 2018, a new twisted tale of revenge takes an interesting twist in Shanghai Red, which sheds some light on the dismal practice of “Shanghai-ing”.
This was a practice where people were forced into service on departing sailing vessels, from whence they could not escape until the ship made landfall, and sometimes not even then. It was human trafficking, essentially, and a form of kidnapping that was particularly prevalent in the 19th century in Portland, Oregon, where the comic is set.
Eisner-nominated writer Christopher Sebela (High Crimes, Heartthrob, We(l)come Back), artist Joshua Hixson (The Black Woods), and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Felix & Macabber) team up to take this idea into the realm of a revenge thriller from Image Comics this June.
Moving to Portland, Oregon was the thing that jump-started my comics career, so I wanted to pay it back the best way I know how: by putting it in a book. After studying its history and going on a tour of the Shanghai Tunnels, I came out with Red, our main character. She’s as bloody and complicated as the city she’s come back to, and getting to do justice to both of them alongside Josh and Hassan has made this book a dream/nightmare come true for me.
In Shanghai Red, Red is one of hundreds shanghaied out of Portland in the late 1800s. Drugged, kidnapped, and sold to a ship’s captain, she wakes up on a boat headed out to sea for years, unable to escape or reveal who she truly is. Now, she’s on her way back, in a boat covered in blood, to find her family—and to track down the men responsible for stealing her life out from under her.
I’m really excited about what we’ve all put into this book. It has everything I love about a good revenge tale, but it’s also not without heart. It’s violent and bloody but centered around a story about family and belonging. That’s what drew me to the book the most.
Josh Hixson’s art is going to blow you away. It captures the grit, the desperation, the desolation, and most importantly, the humanity of it all. Where he’s been hiding, who knows, but getting to see him work his magic on every page is awesome, and I’m just trying to stay out of his way.
Shanghai Red #1, Cover A by series artist Josh Hixson (Diamond code: APR180478) and Cover B by Tyler Boss (Diamond code: APR180479), hits comic book stores Wednesday, June 20th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, May 28th.