Remember When Fresh Off The Boat Had a Comic Book?
When you are in quarantine procedures, you find yourself finally with time to do those things you always wanted. Time to read a book. Or clean the house. Or finally cataloging those comic books. It was in that back log that I came across a one-shot issue devoted to the critically acclaimed ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat.
Wait-a-minute..?! Fresh Off The Boat had a comic book?
Fresh Off The Boat ran on ABC for 5 years from 2015-2020. The show was based on Chef Eddie Huang’s same-named memoir of growing up in 1990s Orlando as basically the only Asian family in the community. Newcomer Harrison Yang played the lead role of Eddie. The series also starred Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), Randall Park (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Eddie’s parents. Shazam‘s Ian Chen and Forrest Wheeler (Mortal Kombat) played brother Evan and Emery.
Essentially, the sitcom was about race, culture and eventually Eddie’s discovery of his love for food and cooking. So where does comic books fit in with Fresh Off The Boat?
In the May 2nd, 2017 episode titled ‘Pie Vs. Cake’ Eddie and Emory decide to create a comic book together in order to win a contest. However, the brothers have two completely different ideas for how the book should go. It results in the two going off on their own to make their comics and failing miserably. Eventually the bros hug it out and team-up to craft a super hero team based on their family.
Fresh Off The Boat aired on Friday nights. With ‘Pie Vs Cake’ debuting on the first Friday of the month, if a fan of comic books watched that episode when it aired new, that meant the next day, they’d be in for a treat. That’s because that year, Eddie and Emory’s comic book dreams became a reality for fans participating in Free Comic Book Day 2020.
The Legion of Dope-Itude Featuring Lazy Boy was a freebie tie-in to the series! How did I miss that? Looking back, I had to work that Saturday at the culinary school I used to teach at. So for FCBD 2017, I needed my wife to go to my LCS in my stead. And then 3 years passed before I opened the package of comics that my bride procured. Yeah, I got that far behind…
The sitcom aired it’s series finale just this February; much to my dismay. Actress Constance Wu threw such a tantrum of after a fifth season was announced by ABC that it caused a lot of tension on set. Her venom at being tied down to another year of sitcom filming was so vicious producers and cast felt that it was time for the Huang family to bid farewell to fans. Thus, this forgotten comic book was a welcome social distancing treat for a fan of Fresh Off The Boat such as myself.
Written this ‘Lost Episode’ is Gene Luen Yang and he’s more than qualified to pen this tale. Yang’s American Born Chinese parallel’s the Huang Family’s journey of assimilation into the American Dream. The cartoonist evokes the mannerisms and dialogue of the actors who play the characters perfectly.
The artwork by Jorge Corona (Feathers) wasn’t quite so perfect. Eddie and his parents were drawn pretty darn close to their live-action counterparts. Brother Emery sometimes looked like actor Forrest Wheeler. But little Evan’s scenes looked nothing like Ian Chen.
Now that I think more about, Jorge Corona’s work is very cartoony. It has a child-like element to it. Since this is supposed to look like the comic made by Eddie and Emory, I guess that explains some inconsistencies. If that’s the case, then I retract my criticism by half.
Still, the combined efforts of Gene Luen Yang and Jorge Corona was a great substitute for the real thing! I’m not sure why BOOM! Studios never made this one-shot into a series. But it’s not too late! With no new Fresh Off The Boat on television, why not bring back this creative duo to create more adventures of this Huang family? I’d be all into that! And I think fans of comics and the ground-breaking series would be too!
For more reviews, check out my blog: Madman With a Book.
The Forgotten Comic Book Pilot of the Ground-Breaking Sitcom