Crimson Star – Beginning (Again)

Crimson Star has had a long journey since the creation of the character slightly more than a decade ago. This alien artefact-powered, classic superhero-inspired, ‘80s-set iteration of the character isn’t even how he was first conceived.

He was originally conceived as a vigilante whose adventures were rooted in Japan-occupied Singapore in the ‘40s. That Crimson Star’s inspiration stemmed from my love of Zorro, but it just felt more appropriate to craft a story around a more traditional superhero for this initial effort.

While this sci-fi superhero has become the subject of focus, he doesn’t necessarily replace the original. In fact, the two share an inadvertent link… which’ll hopefully be explored if the opportunity to tell their stories arise.

But until then, the privilege of telling the current Crimson Star’s story is a joy that has created the unique chance of working with multiple local artists.

Starlight vs Tech-0-Mech by Fred Fang for the Crimson Star Ashcan (2018)

Having first launched an ashcan in 2018 with art by Fred Fang, scheduling issues put a stop to things, leaving the issue somewhat incomplete. Fred was one of many artists who had submitted their art during an open call on social media, and was the first to bring the comic’s characters to life in both Singapore and New York, the primary setting of the first chapter of Crimson Star.

Subsequently, in 2019, we had the opportunity to work with then up-and-coming artist Kang Jing (of Chiral Comics). Kang Jing was essentially the first artist to capture Fandi as Crimson Star, depicting one his earliest adventures, framed against the backdrop of a National Day Parade no less. The chapter made its way into our Singaporean superhero anthology SingaHeroes, which was funded on Kickstarter last year, and is slated for print later this year (fingers crossed).

Crimson Star Takes Flight! for SingaHeroes (2020) by Kang Jing of Chiral Comics

Clearly it hasn’t been a smooth, or even direct, journey for Crimson Star. But like all good superhero stories, there’s always triumph beyond all the trials, and the upcoming Crimson Star #1 might just be it for this Singaporean hero. With the talents of the amazing Tasha Leah Santiago, this upcoming issue will be a one-off print, with subsequent chapters published only in a collected “graphic novel” format—along with the contents of issue #1.

Cover Art for Crimson star #1 by Tasha Leah Santiago

Not only is this issue a new beginning for Crimson Star, it also allows us to highlight the many iconic features of Singapore, beginning with Changi Airport.

Presented here in her brilliantly illuminated style, Tasha brings us back to a Changi influenced by the ‘80s, while her art adds a contemporary spin on things. This 4-page preview not only depicts Fandi’s Singaporean roots, but is also the only time in this arc in which we had the opportunity to portray our local landscape.

Art for pages 1-4 of Crimson star #1 by Tasha Leah Santiago

While Singapore remains the core storytelling premise of Crimson Star, it was important that the setting was unaffected by the influence of superhero activities prior to Crimson Star’s arrival. This necessitated shifting the early narrative to New York. However, it was of great importance to us that Singapore was the introductory locale, and what better place to welcome readers than the the bridge between Singapore and the world.

Follow Crimson Star and our journey towards publication on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Author: Ryan Mennen

Ryan Mennen has been said to put the 'fan' in 'fanatic.' It has also been said that only he has said that. With experience in film, TV, comics, and theatre, Ryan's true passion lies in creating homegrown content for a global audience. Having grown up on a specialist­ recommended diet of pop culture and fried meats, Ryan is on a crusade to spread the love of original superheroes in Singapore! Unfortunately, said crusade has been a little slow due to him not finding a steed that can bear his weight. You can blame the fried meats for that.

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