AfterShock Comics have a new title to tell us all about, as well as a first look too. The new series – Search for Hu – is from co-writers Steve Orlando and Jon Tsuei, artist Rubine and colourist DC Alonso and is due out Wednesday 8th September.
“Aaron Tse lives for his family, and if he’s not careful, he’ll die for its secrets.
When he left the military, Aaron Tse’s first thought was providing for his aging parents. His parents’ bar is experiencing hard times, and one night it’s shot to hell, with his parents critically injured in the attack.
But this was no ordinary robbery — Aaron’s mother reveals that she fled China to escape a blood feud between the Jewish and Chinese sides of her family…both of which are powerful organized crime families. Peace existed between these two families — the Hu and the Margolis — but now it’s been broken, and Aaron must protect his parents from further violence. Aaron hops a plane to the homeland he never intended to explore, on a path to revenge he never wanted to walk.
Written by Jon Tsuei (Sera and the Royal Stars, RunLoveKill) and Steve Orlando (Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, KILL A MAN, PROJECT PATRON) and drawn by artist sensation Rubine, SEARCH FOR HU is a fast-paced, action-packed exploration of complex cultural histories, powered by a bloody family feud.”
As ever, AfterShock go that extra mile and provider us with a few choice quotes from both Orlando and Tseui to whet your appetite and give you more background details about the influences behind the book and why you should consider picking it up:
What else is the book about?
SO: SEARCH FOR HU is a first of its kind cross-cultural action thriller, digging into a shared history of Jewish and Chinese lineage dating back to the Russian Revolution. It’s about the cultural connections we never expect, something Jon and I discovered together. But that’s the tapestry, the story is about a man, Aaron Tse, who discovers this part of his family’s past in the most explosive way possible: when it comes back to haunt them.
After an attack in America, Aaron finds himself embroiled in a revenge tour of the homeland he never considered, and a family he never knew he had. But it’s this very same family that Aaron’s mother left China to escape, and getting to the bottom of his family’s bloody internal feud might leave Aaron nothing but another dead-end on the family tree. SEARCH FOR HU is something I can’t wait to get into people’s hands. It’s the best type of action story, one that thrills you, takes you on a wild ride, and while you’re rooting through every explosive battle, shows you something new.
JT: What really excites me about this book aside from the high-octane action and revenge plot is the exploration of my own heritage, something that I haven’t had the opportunity to do in my other comics work. It turns out that the first Russian Jewish immigrants to settle in China ended up in the North-Eastern region of China, where my family was originally from before they ended up in Taiwan. The characters in this book are a reflection of Steve’s own Russian Jewish heritage and my North-Eastern Chinese background. This is a mashup I don’t think we’ve ever seen before in Western comics and I can’t wait for people to dive in.
What are some of the influences behind the book?
JT: Steve and I have a shared love of John Woo, Beat Takeshi and Johnnie To films and I think that was our starting point. But the more we started to dig into the history of Jews in China and the region in which they settled, we unexpectedly found a shared history between our peoples and cultures. That really allowed us to inject more of ourselves into the book. Like Steve mentioned, one of the themes of this story is identity, both on the page and behind it. Our main character Aaron starts the story unaware of his Jewish heritage and has grown up as the son of Chinese immigrants. The struggle that Aaron’s family has gone through isn’t far off from the experiences of my own family. So, the inspiration comes from our shared love of Asian cinema, the historical research we did and our own life experiences.
SO: The spark for this book was one of self-discovery. I’ve always been a fan of Hong Kong action, and anyone who knows me and follows my work knows the revenge story is near and dear to my heart, there…right next to intensely complex family drama and heartbreaking questions of identity. SEARCH FOR HU set out to offer all that in a new and exciting way, as well as offering a similar journey for Jon and me to research a shared history neither of us was previously aware of, between our own backgrounds.
More on the book’s cast of characters:
SO: Things will explode! Lies will be told! And the anger will be bold! I think after books like DEAD KINGS and KILL A MAN, readers know our characters play for keeps, come to thrill, and make you think about the things you’ve previously been so sure about.
SEARCH FOR HU is no different. Aaron Tse is a man who has built his whole life about paying forward the love and dedication his mother and father gave him. Like many in a lower socioeconomic bracket, he was pressured into enlistment, and then all but abandoned on discharge. Like friends I know, he’s an adult who sends part of his paycheck back to his family every week. So there’s no bigger fuse for him than endangering the people that have worked to give him a better life. That’s a check Aaron’s newly-discovered family might not be too excited to cash, routed in blood.
JT: Aaron is driven by his love and devotion to his family. He’s fiercely loyal and willing to do anything to protect those he loves. That includes flying halfway around the world to avenge his parents. The stakes are high in this story, not just for Aaron, but for everyone he encounters along the way. Everyone is playing for keeps. Readers can expect one hell of a powder keg that’s set to explode with every issue.
Reasons to buy the book:
JT: 1. This is a classic revenge story with a unique twist. Though it’s culturally specific, the themes are universal and I think readers from all backgrounds will find something to connect with.
2. If you love action, look no further! We’re delivering a story packed with over the top action but we’re not skimping on the heart.
3. Rubine! Rubine! Rubine! The art of Rubine is simply gorgeous. He can seamlessly move between big action sequences and intimate character moments. You don’t want to miss out on such amazing art!
SO: FIRST, it’s a brand new mashup of worlds that have rarely if ever met, especially in the action genre. SECOND, it’s a brand new mashup of styles, between me and Jon, for a flavor and style that’s wholly unique! And THIRD, the work delivered in this book, on every page and in every line, by Rubine Cubiles, as next-level, career-making action. It’s expressive, it’s explosive, and it’s some of the finest storytelling I’ve ever been part of.
Benefits of co-writing a comic book series:
SO: I alluded to it above, but to me it’s all about telling a story, and creating a voice, that is different and unique to what either of us could deliver on our own. Could Jon or I have told this story alone? Technically, sure. But the way the characters speak, the way the story appears on the page, the world the characters inhabit, is richer, more singular, more authentic, and more exciting than if we hadn’t worked together. The alchemy of co-writing is different every time, and the results only get more and more exciting to me!
JT: If you’re familiar with both Steve’s and my writing, you’d probably say we’re stylistically different. Finding the cohesion between varying perspectives is exciting and fun. What you’re getting with SEARCH FOR HU is two very different people coming together to write a story about themes that mean a lot to both of us. I think that’s the beauty of collaboration. Together we’re writing a story that simply wouldn’t exist in its current form without the both of us involved.
The Search for Hu #1 is out 9.8.2021 from AfterShock Comics