Why is the series called Journey to the Middle Kingdom?
Simple! The two Chinese characters you use to write “China” are:
The first character means “middle” and the second character means “country” or “kingdom.” So there you have it, “Journey to the Middle Kingdom” is a journey to China. Specifically, to a world of China’s myths and legends, a celebration of magic and mystery. Let’s talk more about the first issue in the series:
Journey to the Middle Kingdom is a series of comics for all ages, a tale of 3 American teenagers who are flung back to the past to a world of Chinese folklore and magic. Their mission? Fix history and ensure that the past happens as it should. They are gifted 3 magical calligraphy brushes by the Jade Emperor. Whenever you use the brushes to write a Chinese character in the air, whatever you write, becomes real! We’re raising funds to print issue #1 of Journey to the Middle Kingdom entitled: “Legend of the White Snake Maiden.”
Issue #1: Legend of the White Snake Maiden
Michelle Jones is a young artist and average high school student. She has been having dreams of a strange woman, calling out to her from a pagoda. Her friend Jason sees a phoenix appear from out of nowhere, but he doesn’t tell his friend and young prodigy, Sabrina, about it for fear of appearing crazy. Who is the strange woman in the pagoda, and what does the phoenix want with Michelle and her friends? What is this magical world that seems to be encroaching into their otherwise normal lives?
Issue #1: Legend of the White Snake Maiden
Jason and the gang are off on their first adventure for the Jade Emperor, and they travel to the Kingdom of Yelang. The princess of Yelang was gifted in archery from a young age and was the sole heir to the throne. Her subjects expected great things from her, but one day her dreams became a nightmare. Her father remarried and an evil queen took power, forever changing the fate of the kingdom. Now Jason and the gang must figure out what happened to the princess, and how they can restore her to the throne.
Issue #2 The Princess of Yelang Part 1
The first issue is about the “Legend of the White Snake Maiden,” a very famous Chinese fairy tale that dates to the 14th century. It’s a tale of forbidden love, the supernatural, and the ties that bind us. The story goes a little something like this…
The White Snake Maiden meets Xu Xian at the Broken Bridge
A white snake spirit named Bai Suzhen wants to ascend to the heavens and become an immortal but falls in love with a human named Xu Xian. Love between spirits and humans is forbidden by the laws of nature. Yet, heaven remains silent as the two get married. A Buddhist monk, Fa Hai, confused by heaven’s silence, intervenes and traps the White Snake Maiden in Leifeng Pagoda, overlooking West Lake, sealing her away. Xiao Qing, the Green Snake Maiden, defeats Fa Hai, rescues the White Snake maiden from Leifeng Pagoda, restoring Bai Suzhen to her husband. At least, that’s the way the story should go…
Michelle’s visions of the White Snake Maiden
In the first issue, “Legend of the White Snake Maiden,” we meet our heroes as they go about their daily lives. Jason is playing basketball when he sees a fiery phoenix appear before him, only to disappear in an instant. He doesn’t mention it to his friend Sabrina when they meet, not wanting to sound crazy. Sabrina is psyched about their friend Michelle’s new artistic creation and wants to be the first to see it. Michelle shows them the painting, a portrait of a woman Michelle has been seeing in her dreams, trapped in a pagoda, calling out to her…
In each issue, the heroes get to take part in different Chinese folk stories, unraveling the mystery of how the story went wrong and how to make things right. Jason, the leader, will have to rediscover his roots while his friends, Michelle and Sabrina, will have to learn to write Chinese characters to make full use of their powers, all before time runs out.
You’ll enjoy the series if you also enjoy fairy tales and stories about world culture. Many Chinese stories and myths aren’t told in the West, and one of the goals of Journey to the Middle Kingdom is to tell these stories, with a little twist.
Not every day you see a mythical bird!
Who is this for?
Did you enjoy reading about Greek or Norse mythology as a kid? Are you a fan of the Never Ending Story? I was always a fan of myths and fantasy as a kid and read everything I could get my hands on from Hans Christian Andersen to stories about the Greek and Roman pantheons. When I started learning Chinese I quickly became fascinated at the rich storytelling and thought to myself “Why have I never heard of most of these stories?” If I hadn’t, I’m sure others haven’t either, and I wanted to fix that.
Jason Xia (夏志強)
Jason Xia was born in Qingdao, China and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was around 8 years old. He’s definitely a jock and loves to challenge himself by participating in sports of all kinds. Jason would spend hours at his grandfather’s curio where his grandmother would tell him fairy tales and his grandfather would make him practice reading and writing Chinese. His grandparents felt Jason might lose touch with his culture living in America. Jason is the leader of the group, but tends to be an “act first, ask questions later” kind of personality. The Jade Emperor chose to put the character “力”, which means strength, on Jason’s brush. His friends rely on his knowledge of Chinese language and culture, but it all depends as to whether or not Jason was actually listening to his grandfather…
Michelle Jones (米歇尔 琼斯)
Michelle Jones is Jason’s childhood friend and in many ways is the “heart” of the group. Michelle is an artist and showed talent when she was a young child. Michelle is being raised by a single mother, and while her mom works long hours Michelle spends her time engrossed in the worlds she creates with her paintbrush. Michelle feels some pressure to be a successful artist to make her mother happy. Michelle is highly perceptive and is especially sensitive to feelings and emotion. This is why the Jade Emperor chose the character “心” for Michelle, which means heart. Michelle began having dreams of a woman trapped in a pagoda, calling to her. Is this woman friend, or foe?
Sabrina Kennedy (薩布麗娜 肯尼迪)
Sabrina is most certainly the “brains” of the group. The daughter of an eccentric inventor, Sabrina was raised to believe that all problems have solutions. It just takes grit and smarts to find them. Sabrina became friends with Michelle out of her admiration for Michelle’s artistic ability, and she and Jason started off as enemies, but learned to respect each other’s talents and abilities and became fast friends. Sabrina usually takes the attitude of “wait and see”, wanting to analyze a situation before acting. This approach may put her and Jason at loggerheads, but they both want what’s best for the group. The Jade Emperor chose the character for wisdom, “智”, for Sabrina.
The comic is 48 pages with a beautiful full color interior. You’ll find special artwork in the print version that is not available on the website. Something special for the reader!
Here are some photos of the actual book, live and in living color:
For more about this series go to