In the 1800’s the practice of shanghaiing, the act of kidnapping or deceiving someone in order so they can be forced to be a sailor on a ship, was not uncommon. Ships were often short on labour, especially when the California Gold Rush struck, so captains needed to find crew – even if it were through nefarious means. Portland was notorious for the practice, with a secret system of tunnels under the city made for the very practice.
Why am I talking about this? Well, it’s the topic of Shanghai Read, a brand new series written by Christopher Sebela, artist Joshua Hixon, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and published by Image Comics.
Red is one of the many who has been shanghaied and wakes up to find herself on a boat heading out a years-long voyage. When the blood-soaked boat finally returns to Portland, Oregon, Red is determined to find her family and get revenge on those responsible for her ordeal. It’s a quest that will take her from the high seas to the dark underbelly of Portland, Oregon.
The comic book series was announced at this year’s Image Expo with a buzz of excitement. This is what writer Christopher Sebela had to say about his new series:
“Josh and I have been working on this book for a few years now in secret, just waiting for the chance to unleash it on readers and we’re kinda freaking out that this thing we’ve put so much time and sweat into is really real and really good,”
As you’ll see in the preview images below, Joshua Hixson the perfect match for this kind of story. His style is bold, with heavy use of blacks, but also has a roughness to it thanks to the way it has been inked. It’s with this method Hixson is able to bring out the much-needed grittiness of the situations and settings. Combine with the mostly muted colours and you have visuals that set the tone right off the bat and immerse you in the narrative.
If you’re a fan of a good revenge story or are fascinated by the concept of shanghaiing then Shanghai Red is the comic you need to have on your radar.
Shanghai Red #1 is available from all good comic book stores, digitally on the Image Comics website, and Comixology from June 20th.
Take a look at four pages from Shanghai Red #1 below.
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