The Green Turtle was a comic book superhero created by Hawaiian-born Chinese American artist Chu Fook Hing in 1944. Hing intended the Green Turtle to be Chinese, but publisher Blazing Comics refused, stating there wouldn’t be a market for an Asian superhero. Rather than change Green Turtle’s identity, Hing resorted to always hiding the character’s face behind a mask, object, or his own arm, or simply by having the character turn away from the audience.
Green Turtle had no special powers, but like all superheroes, he was dedicated to fighting crime and injustice. In his stories, the Green Turtle aided Chinese guerrillas defend their country against the Japanese invasion of World War II; his sidekick was a young beggar he rescued from execution by the Japanese. While the Green Turtle’s true identity has always been a mystery, readers can still feel his brave character and patriotic heart. This March, Marvel Studios hired director Destin Daniel Cretton to direct its first Asian-led superhero film based on the character Shang-Chi, a half-Chinese half-American superhero and master of a variety of wushu martial arts.