Flesh & Steel
2016 sees the launch of Flesh & Steel, a high fantasy graphic novel written by first time Singaporean writer, Shaun Kang. Loosely inspired by the legend of the Golem of Prague, Flesh & Steel transports readers to a fantasy land torn apart by knights and cavaliers armed with rifles and shotguns on top of the usual swords and shields. The story arc follows the internal and external battles of Golem, a humanoid living weapon forged from steel, as he struggles to find acceptance amongst men amidst a storm of war and strife. When speaking about the inspiration for his first publication, the author had this to say: “I’ve always been intrigued by myths and legends. When I was a boy, I was drawn to stories of legendary heroes such as Hercules and Achilles more so than I was to any other type of tale. And what used to captivate me before still captivates me today. So that boy is still a part of me, but in a different, less recognizable form, because I see the world through different lenses now. In the same way, I hope to captivate and ignite the imagination of readers with the reinvention and retelling of familiar characters, but in never before seen forms in my stories."
And with a character as famous as the Golem, which legend has was created from clay by holy powers to defend a Jewish community from persecution, he could pretty much be fitted anywhere; as a cyborg guardian defending Earth from an alien attack, as a shamanistic animal created to protect a tribe from invading Conquistadors, or in this chosen story, as a walking suit of steel armor defending a Resistance faction from the iron fist of a young, cruel tyrant in medieval Europe.” The retelling of the story is not just cosmetic, as the plot focuses more on the untold humanity and emotional dilemmas a living weapon has to face given the purpose it was created for, an aspect little explored in the original legend that might draw similarities to other existential works, such as Frankenstein. Produced with the support of the Association of Comic Artists (Singapore) (ACAS) & Singapore National Arts Council, and published by Nice One Entertainment, Flesh & Steel breaks the conventional idea that Singaporeans usually write graphic novels filled with local flavour that perhaps only other Singaporeans will get. Painted against a largely European setting, the graphic novel aims to be something that will not only appeal to local audiences, but to international readers as well.