DC Comics will celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May with a new anthology comic, DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration on May 11th, and the upcoming 100-page issue won't just celebrate existing Asian superheroes but will introduce a brand new one as well. The one-shot will introduce the Monkey Prince, created by Gene Luen Yang (Superman Smashes the Klan, Batman/Superman, New Super-Man) and Bernard Chang (Teen Titans, Batman Beyond), in a 12-page story titled "The Monkey Prince Hates Superheroes".
The Monkey Prince character is inspired by the Monkey King, a legendary hero of Chinese mythology. In the upcoming anthology, The Monkey Prince will battle and team up with Shazam to defeat both the evil Dr. Sivana and a Chinese deer demon spirit. Yang, who has previously explored elements of The Monkey King in his graphic novel American Born Chinese, took to Twitter on Monday to talk a bit about the Monkey Prince.
"I grew up listening to my mother's stories of the Monkey King," Yang wrote in a thread. "And I've always loved when mythological characters make their way into modern superhero universes. Thor and Loki in the MU, Ares and Hera in the DCU... and I can't believe we get the chance to do the same for our fav mythological character of all time."
Yang also explained a bit about the Monkey Prince's M-shaped emblem.
"In Asia, the Monkey King is so popular that his story has been adapted into comics countless times. We wanted our version to feel distinctively DC Comics," he wrote. "Many DC heroes have iconic emblems that resemble letters but aren't really letters. Superman's S isn't really an S -- it's a Kryptonian symbol for hope. Aquaman's A isn't really an A -- it's an Atlantian glyph."
"Also, heroes' emblems often point to their origin stories. Superman's powers originate from his Kryptonian heritage. Fitting that he wears a Kryptonian symbol. Shazam and Flash got their powers when they were struck by lightning. They both wear lightning bolts on their chests," he continued. "The Monkey Prince's emblem looks like an M, but it's also a representation of Flower Fruit Mountain, the birthplace of the legendary Monkey King -- and the origin of his powers."
DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration will be released in stores and digitally on Tuesday, May 11th.