Meet Kenan Kong, the Asian ‘New Super-Man’
DC Comics releases new details regarding the New 52 successor to Clark Kent’s Superman, Kenan Kong.
Writer Gene Luen Yang had the task of getting the right name and the right characteristics for the new Superman who’ll be running around the New 52 Universe in parallel with Superwoman. In his interview for DC Comics, Yang writes about the writing process for the Chinese Superman’s name.
One of my first tasks as the New Super-Man writer was to give our lead guy a secret identity, a Chinese civilian name.
I thought for a while and came up with these constraints:
1. The name would need to be a plausible Chinese name.
2. The name’s meaning should relate to the character’s journey in some way.
3. The English version of the Chinese name should be derived using Pinyin. There are different ways of Romanizing Chinese. A lot of what we see in American Chinatowns uses a system called Wade-Giles (or is “Wade-Giles-ish”). Pinyin is now the standard in Mainland China, so that’s what I want to use in the book.
4. The English version should have the initials K. K. I want to use this as a mnemonic device to help readers connect the new character to Clark Kent. I can’t use C. K. because there is no hard c in Pinyin. The Pinyin c is pronounced “ts,” like in “cats.”
5. The English version should be immediately pronounceable by American readers who haven’t studied Pinyin. This means I have to avoid certain letters like x (pronounced kind of like “sh” in Pinyin) and q (pronounced kind of like “ch”).
The writer added a few more details with the process which you can read HERE. Frankly speaking, there’s a bit of confusion for me with this new character, particularly why is he written with a hyphen on his name. For the longest time, it was “Superman” and now in news articles its suddenly Super-Man.NEW SUPER-MAN #1 by Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic will be available on July 13, 2016 in print and as a digital download.