“China’s history is rich with folktales and fables, most unknown to western readers,” writer Mike Richardson — who also happens to be Dark Horse’s president and founder — told THR when explaining the origins of the project. “One of the most popular is the story of the Nian monster, a legend that explains the origin of the Chinese New Year celebration — Nian is translated as New Year. When looking into the assorted versions of the tale, I realized the monster’s full story and motivation had never been told. I had been searching for a story to write that might appeal to all ages, and the story of Nian was exactly what I was looking for. I was able to incorporate several other Chinese legends into the tale, and I hope it will inspire young readers to investigate the actual legends themselves.”
The graphic novel is illustrated by Canadian artist Megan Huang, making her graphic novel debut with the title.
Jia and the Nian Monster will be released March 18 in comic book stores, with a March 31 release in bookstores. Until then, feast your eyes on the excerpt from the book’s opening below.