GVN Talking Comics Interview: Peter Shiao, Immortal Studios founder, Entrepreneur and Creator of ‘Fa Sheng: Origins’ Now on Kickstarter

It is almost impossible to believe that one man could do as much as Peter Shiao has accomplished in his relative young life. A self-described “serial entrepreneur,’ Peter has created numerous businesses and innovative entertainment and media ventures between the East and West. Building bridges and entertaining millions in the process.  Through his various works, he has been extremely active in empowering underserved communities.

Shiao Yi

Peter continues his good work through Immortal Studios, bringing the unique stories of Wuxia to the world, just as his father, Shiao Yi did. He was a reknowned author in the Wuxia genre. Known for his impact on Chinese culture with his work having been adapted into film and television over 30 times, along with more than 60 published stories. In fact, Shiao Yi is the first Asian author to have a permanent collection at UCLA. Not to mention having been inducted into the Contemporary Chinese Writer’s Museum in Beijing.

Following the Legacy

With that kind of legacy, Peter Shiao has followed in his father’s footsteps in bringing East and West together with great stories. One of which is a character he created named Fa Sheng. Coming soon to Kickstarter, Immortal Studios brings Fa Sheng: Origins, written by Rylend Grant and with art by Dexter Wee. It is with this upcoming project in mind that we had the great opportunity to talk to the founder of Immortal Studios and creator of Fa Sheng, Peter Shiao.

GVN Talking Comics Interview: Peter Shiao

GVN: It is an honor to speak to you Peter and we really appreciate you giving us a few moments of your time.

PS: My pleasure.

Background

GVN: So, as is my norm, let’s talk a little bit about your background. That would normally consist of discussing the artists and creators who inspired you but, in your case, your father was obviously a huge influence in your interest in Wuxia and the stories it tells. If you would, could you talk a bit about your Father Shiao Yi and how his work impacted your love of literature, stories, and Wuxia in particular.

PS: Well, I think we are all deeply informed by our dinner table conversations during our formative years, and mine, as a result of my father’s unique profession as a Wuxia creator, has been around all the unique elements and ethos of Wuxia. He was singularly responsible for awakening within me this deep sense of social responsibility, that like the archetypal characters he created, I could and should spend my life in service of humanity – that it was a worthwhile goal for a lifetime. Being around him also gave me access to some of the finest elements of Chinese culture, which ultimately, is quite philosophical and spiritual from the inside out, and an appreciation for its power, beauty, wisdom and relevance, and how these elements really form the basis of Wuxia as a genre.

Building Bridges

GVN: It’s pretty obvious that you have spent a great deal of your time in creating avenues and building bridges between East and West. If you had to pin it down, what has inspired you in your many entrepreneurial efforts to bring people together of different cultures together as successfully as you have?

PS: As a person who literally grew up in both cultures, and who eventually became comfortable in both my American and Chinese selves after really exploring both sides, I arrived at a beautiful place where I no longer saw contradictions or dissonance, but balance, unity, endless freedom and synergy. At that point, I saw that I had a unique superpower that if used properly, could help bring the world together in a very really powerful way around some of the most critical challenges that are confronting the world today. I still believe that especially during these times.

Businesses as Offspring

GVN: This might be an impossible question to answer. But among your many businesses, projects, and outreaches to encourage East/West connectivity, which are you most proud of?

PS: As a serial entrepreneur I really think of all my undertakings as my children in a way, and you never really judge your children. I will say, however, that I consider everything that I have done up until this point a prolonged preparation for the work that we are doing at Immortal. I truly believe that we have an opportunity to do through culture what politics and economics alone have not been able to do.

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GVN: Through your Immortal Studios publishing house, you have embraced bringing the world of Wuxia and its inspirational and exciting tales of justice and protecting the downtrodden to new audiences. One of those titles, which is coming soon to Kickstarter is based on a character that you created, entitled Fa-Sheng: Origins. Could you tell us about the character and what the story entails?

Fa Sheng: Origins

PS: This is actually a deeply personal story for me. In creating the Fa Sheng origin story, I actually dug deep into my own ancestral heritage in Heze, China that was a home to the Boxer uprising (in fact, my own grandfather, who would inspire my father, was around during those days) to try to bring forth the complicated history between the East and West intertwined with the legends of Kung Fu into the forefront, through the eyes of a future master. And then to take this character through this painful and poignant part of history into the fold of the Shaolin temple, and eventually meet and become discipled by Bodhidharma, the founder of Shaolin Kung Fu, is simply such an awesome and ambitious journey that is just electrifying. I am still blown away myself, actually.

Writer Rylend Grant

GVN: You have partnered with talented writer Rylend Grant who is not only a screenwriter, author, and Ringo Award-winning comic book creator but is also an ordained Soto Zen Buddhist monk. Talk about being qualified. How did you select Rylend to steer the narrative of Fa-Sheng?

PS: As you know one of our key tenets is to bring authenticity and the original inspirations of Wuxia back into the fold, and this requires that we partner with creators who embody that not just with their words, but importantly, their lives and the choices they made. In Rylend we found a kindred spirit who understood what the journey was, because it was an internal journey that he’s had to travel, and was able to marry that to great creativity and craft.

Artist Dexter Wee

GVN: You also have talented artist Dexter Wee bringing Rylend’s words and your character to life. Same question. How did Dexter get brought on board?

PS: Rylend needs to be credited for bringing Dexter’s work to our attention. Once we heard about Dexter’s love of Wuxia films, especially the Once Upon a Time in China series by Jet Li, which is a great series that has a lot of the look and feel of Fa Sheng, it was a no brainer. Like Rylend, Dexter really just fit this series like a glove.

Coming to Kickstarter

GVN: As aforementioned, you are bringing Fa-Sheng: Origins to Kickstarter. Is this your first Kickstarter campaign and what can fans expect to find once the campaign is underway?

PS: As a company, Immortal Studios is committed to Kickstarter as an important activation platform for all of our works, and I am very proud to share that Fa Sheng is going to be our fourth Kickstarter campaign. What our Kickstarter backers will find that this is a great way to access a lot of goodies from artwork, covers, behind the scenes stories, get caught up on all of our other titles, and entry into the growing Immortal storyverse.

Other Offerings from Immortal Studios

GVN: I wish to thank you once again for your time, Peter. Before I let you go, do you have any other titles from Immortal Studios that you would like to bring to our readers attention?

PS: One of the things I created is a four pillar approach to bringing all of the various subgenres of Wuxia all together for the first time, and in addition to Fa Sheng, I would encourage everyone interested in what we are doing at Immortal to check out the “Adept” series where Fa Sheng is first introduced (albeit as an already enlightened being), and also “Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen” series which I wrote myself adapted from my favorite book from my father.

You can check out Fa Sheng: Origins Kickstarter campaign here. Also visit the Immortal Studios Website here.