Shi (comics)

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Publication information
Publisher Crusade Comics
First appearance Razor Annual #1 (1993)
Created by William Tucci
In-story information
Alter ego Ana Ishikawa
Abilities Skilled martial artist

Shi is a fictional comic book character created by writer/illustrator William Tucci. She first appeared in Razor Annual #1 (1993), and has since appeared in books by a variety of publishers, most notably, Tucci's company, Crusade Comics. Shi is a young woman of mixed Japanese and American ancestry drafted into a modern-day "shadow war" between descendents of the infamous sohei warrior monks of medieval Japan. As the story is deeply rooted in Japanese history and mythology, "Shi" literally translates to death (死) in Japanese, and her signature weapon is the naginata.

The series is known for its scenes of stylized violence, and originated during an American comics publishing fad sometimes called "bad girl comics". The series often touches on spiritual issues, especially as they pertain to Ana's dual background in the traditions of the yamabushi warrior monks, and Christianity.

Publication history[edit]

Shi debuted in Razor Annual #1 published by London Nights Studio. The issue was written and drawn by William Tucci. Shi then appeared in her own series, Shi: The Way of the Warrior, which ran for 12 issues all published by Tucci's own Crusade Comics. The original 12 issues were later collected into three trade paperbacks and the whole series was collected in a Definitive Shi TPB (in black and white). The first series was followed by several limited mini-series: Shi: Senryaku (1995), Shi: Heaven and Earth (1997), and Shi: Akai (2001) by various publishers.

Shi has also appeared in several crossovers with characters from other publishers, including Lady Death,[volume & issue needed] Daredevil,[volume & issue needed] Vampirella[volume & issue needed] and Cyblade.[volume & issue needed]

Costume model Leah Rose became the sanctioned Shi cosplayer in 2013.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Shi is a young woman named Ana Ishikawa. Her father Shiro is a Japanese warrior and her mother Catherine is an American Catholic missionary. As a child, Ana witnessed the brutal murder of her father and brother at the hands of an upstart Yakuza thug named Masahiro Arashi. After this, she swore revenge on the Yakuza and set out to become one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Ana was trained by her grandfather Yoshitora in the martial arts. In order to disguise herself, she painted her face white in order to resemble Tora No Shi ("Tiger of Death"), a legendary female warrior of medieval Japan. Ana herself acquired the name "Shi" ("Death" in Japanese) for her ferocity and ruthlessness.

Bent on impressing the leaders of the Osaka crime syndicate, Arashi leaves a calling card with every murder he commits – a simple coin engraved with the kanji for death, Shi. Escaping the hitman, Ana is consequently spirited away and raised by Yoshitora amid the sacred temples of Kyoto. There Yoshitora secretly trains Ana in the ways of the Sohei so that she could seek out Arashi and avenge her family's honor.

Still clutching the coins left on the bodies of her brother and father, this vengeful obsession consumes Ana's very being as she completely gives herself to "Shi" - the living embodiment of Death, a demon who since childhood, has terrified while encouraging her in her crusade of vengeance.

However, Shi is soon confronted by her mother's Catholic teachings, and Ana's life soon becomes one of inner conflict between her programmed mission of revenge and the Christian faith she secretly harbors.

Eventually, her conscience forces her to rein in her bloodthirstiness; once her parent's killer Masahiro was finally sent to prison, Shi renounced killing and became the manager of a New York art gallery. From time to time she still takes on her Shi persona to aid the innocent.

It is this duality that rages in Ana's soul that will not permit her to totally succumb to the death demon that terrorizes her. In the end, it is Ana's faith and the ethereal visions of her Sohei ancestors that shepherd her along the Way of the Warrior. The series often touches on spiritual issues, especially as they pertain to Ana's dual background in the traditions of the yamabushi warrior monks, and Christianity.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Shi was trained by her grandfather to be a "sohei", a warrior of feudal Japan. As such, she is a skilled martial artist and swordsperson.


Through William Tucci's Crusade Fine Arts, Shi has been printed in four languages and has sold more than 4 million comic books and also grossed over 25 million dollars in prints, toys and other merchandise worldwide while garnering several international creative and printing awards.[citation needed]

A limited edition 1/6 scale figure was released by Executive Replicas in 2015.



  • Avengelyne/Shi
  • Image comics/GEN 13 - Number 13C
  • Cyblade/Shi and Shi/Cyblade - "The Battle For Independents" (1995)
  • Daredevil/Shi and Shi/Daredevil (1997)
  • Fallen Angel (IDW)/Shi (Fallen Angel v2 #17-19)
  • Grifter/Shi: Final Rites #1-2 (1996)
  • Razor & Shi Special (1994)
  • Lethargic Comics #12 (1994)
  • Shi/Vampirella
  • Vampirella/Shi
  • Vampirella #7-9 (features Shi)
  • Wolverine/Shi: Dark Night of Judgment (2000)
  • Tenth Muse/Shi: Bluewater One Shot (2007)
  • Jetta/Shi: Arrow Of Destiny (2008)


External links[edit]