YI SOON SHIN: Warrior and Defender is the first arc of a three arc run about a 16th Century Korean Admiral. I discovered this indie book at Wizard World Nashville 2013. I purchased the book (in collected Hard Cover) and read it back at my hotel room the same night. This is the greatest historical comic I’ve ever read. The events and characters could be read about in a dry college text book, but through the magic of sequential art, you discover living, breathing characters and become an eye witness to some of the most interesting battles in Korea’s history.
Saavedra’s lettering with Timpano’s art and De Los Santos’ coloring bring Kompan’s amazing story telling to life. Onrie Kompan certainly understands what words to use to describe a scene. Instead of just flatly saying that the Koreans blew the Japanese out of the water with canons, he says “A ballad of destruction deafens the invaders. The orchestra of cannon fire lets the oppressors know that their occupation is finally being met with fierce resistance.” The perfect words to accompany explosive illustrations. The opening battle is certainly not where the actions ends either; the entire first arc is riddled with conflict, both physical and psychological. The vile Baron Seo is quickly revealed to be the villain of Shin’s story thus far. And what a terribly evil villain he is.
Like many independent books, Yi Soon Shin was a labor of love. It took Onrie Kompan a long time to assemble his team and get them moving in the right direction. The direction was ultimately given by David Anthony Kraft, the famed Marvel and DC writer. The influence of Len Strazewski cannot be understated. Mr. Strazewski is Kompan’s mentor from Columbia College Chicago and an accomplished comic author. His works include Starman, The Flash, Justice Society of America, and, one of my all-time favorites, Prime (for Malibu Comics). The collected Hard Cover
edition features over 30 pages of behind the story, interviews, and concept art. The single, Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender #1 as well as the start to the next arc, Yi Soon Shin: Fallen Avenger #1, can be purchased from Amazon right now.
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