Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword
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|Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword|
Cover of Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword vol. 1 (1980). Art by Ma Wing-shing.
|Publisher||Jademan, Culturecom Holdings (Hong Kong)|
|English publisher||Jademan (Hong Kong)
|Original run||1980 – 1995|
|Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword|
|Literal meaning||Chinese Hero|
Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword is a wuxia manhua series created by Hong Kong artist Ma Wing-shing. It is also referred to as Blood Sword, Blood Sword Dynasty, A Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword and A Man Called Hero.
The artwork and drawing style of Chinese Hero is responsible for the modern characteristics of manhua. It was a breakthrough in terms of using high levels of details, realistic style, clear cut action scenes and skillful use of color in combination with an engrossing plot. The manhua turned the artist Ma Wing-shing from rags to riches. Ma became the most popular manhua artist in Hong Kong at that time. The story was an immediate hit selling 45,000 copies when first released. At the peak of its popularity, sales hit peaks of 200,000 copies. It is famous for having characters that are physically imperfect, such as missing an eye or limb for the sake to express the realism that real life people are not perfect.
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After seeking vengeance on the Westerners who murdered his family, Wah Ying-hung (name literally means "Chinese Hero") flees to America to start a new life. Throughout his adventures in America, he meets new friends such Ghostserver and Gold Dragon and gradually becomes a powerful martial arts master. Once in Chicago, Wah is up against gang wars, murder, treachery and racial discrimination.
Chinese Hero was first published in Golden Daily in 1980 and was a supplement to Wong Yuk-long's Drunken Master. It then later became its own separate manhua. The first issue of the Chinese Hero periodical was published in 1982.
Jademan comic releases
In late 1988, Jademan Comics started publishing Chinese Hero in English under the title The Blood Sword, which was criticised for poor translation. Jademan later published a second series titled Blood Sword Dynasty which followed the adventures of the protagonist Wah Ying-hung's son, Wah Kim-hung. Ma Wing-shing left Jademan by 1989.
The Chinese manhua Blood Sword Dynasty is part of the same series as Chinese Hero and not a spin-off. Despite its popularity, the series was eventually canceled in 1995.
In October 2006, publishers DrMaster announced that they were planning to release a new English translation of Chinese Hero. These new releases included an all new English translation as well as new digital re-coloration. The re-release started from the beginning of the second series, with the plot alteration of Hero's parents being murdered by a "rival martial arts clan" instead of Westerners in the original version, due to the first series use of anti-Western sentiments. The reprints at the point of volume 8 do not extend beyond the original plot of the original Jademan comics.
The collections are:
- Chinese Hero:
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 1 (April 2007, 260 pages, ISBN 1-59796-041-1)
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 2 (September 2007, 260 pages, ISBN 1-59796-116-7)
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 3 (August 2007, 280 pages, ISBN 1-59796-117-5)
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 4 (November 2007, 280 pages, ISBN 1-59796-118-3)
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 5 (February 2008, 240 pages, ISBN 1-59796-124-8)
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 6 (May 2008, 224 pages, ISBN 1-59796-131-0)
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 7 (August 2008, 224 pages, ISBN 1-59796-148-5)
- Tales of the Blood Sword volume 8 (November 2008, 224 pages, ISBN 1-59796-149-3)
Ekin Cheng starred in a 1999 Hong Kong film titled A Man Called Hero directed by Andrew Lau. Although the plot differed largely from the original story, the film was popular and became the highest grossing Hong Kong film up to that time.
In 1990 Hong Kong's ATV produced and aired a 25 episodes television series based on the manhua. It was titled The Blood Sword and starred Kenny Ho, Law Chung-wah, Veronica Yip, Yeung Chak-lam, Esther Kwan, Eric Wan. A 20 episodes long prequel, The Blood Sword 2, was released a year later, with most of the cast members in the first season reprising their roles.
In 2005 Taiwanese producer Yang Peipei released a 40 episodes television series based on the manhua. It was titled The Legend of Hero and starred Peter Ho, Ady An, Lan Chenglong, Qin Lan, Zheng Guolin, Chen Guanlin, Liu Weihua, Li Li-chun, Feng Shaofeng in the leading roles.
A video game based on the manhua was produced by Acebrock. The game was initially scheduled to be released in both Chinese and English on the PC platform. Although the game shared the same English title as the film, it remained faithful to the original story as opposed to the changes introduced in the film. As of 2007, Acebrock fell through and the game existed in either scrap or beta form only.
- Wong, Wendy Siuyi.  (2001) Hong Kong Comics: A History of Manhua. Princeton Architectural Press. New York. ISBN 1-56898-269-0