EXCLUSIVE: Veteran comic book executive Hank Kanalz is going from being the SVP Publishing Strategy and Support Services at DC Comics to being Head of Publishing at Immortal Studios to help build out their Wuxia storyverse.
Immortal Studios founder and CEO Peter Shiao made the announcement today that Kanalz will join the content studio which houses a contemporary Wuxia “storyverse” created from exclusive rights to the library of celebrated Wuxia author Shiao Yi, as well as Shiao’s own original content.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Wuxia is a Chinese martial arts fantasy genre. You learn something new every day!
Charged with scaling Immortal’s publishing operation, Kanalz brings over 30 years of experience in the comics and entertainment industry experience including 25 years at DC and WarnerMedia, specializing in content strategy and development, operations, acquisitions, and business development.
Kanalz, who is of Filipino descent, joins Immortal Studios as it is ramping up its comic book slate, having just released the second title in the Immortal Storyverse, Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen. Written by Shiao and adapted from the original novel by Yi, it follows a young man’s awakening into an ancient order of spiritual warriors. It will be followed by Assassin G, one of Yi’s most popular titles, adapted four times for television in Greater China, about a swordswoman trained to avenge all the wrongs committed against her master. The company launched in June 2020 with The Adept, an original comic book about a young woman who is given keys to an entire realm of secret training. Successful Kickstarter campaigns served as the launching pad for both The Adept and Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen.
“During this very transformative period – I believe Immortal Studios has not only a vast creative opportunity to bring forth a new vision to fans, but to offer up a multi-window comic service that starts with hardcore fan engagement and culminates in digital distribution on scale and all platform adaptations,” said Peter Shiao. “As we move forward with Immortal Studios’ mission to create a home for the timeless Wuxia genre with an interconnected storyverse of characters, I am excited to have Hank Kanalz on board to help us execute our strategy, bring together the various influences of the genre, authentically represent Asian faces and culture and awaken the hero in everyone.”
“I’m excited to be joining the team at Immortal Studios,” said Kanalz. “The time to bring wuxia concepts to the broader audience has come, even though they’ve been here for years. Comics has a long history in this space, and we plan on Immortal taking its place among some of the best comics told for a modern audience.”
The announcement of Kanalz’s new role comes ahead of the upcoming free, virtual summit “Amplifying AAPI Representation in Entertainment & Media” which will be hosted by Immortal Studios alongside the Los Angeles Times and NextShark and CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) on May 26.
LOS ANGELES, May 20, 2021 — Timed for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Immortal Studios together with media partners Los Angeles Times and NextShark and industry partner CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) today announced Amplifying AAPI Representation in Entertainment & Media (AAREM), a summit series to elevate the dialog around AAPI representation in film, television and pop culture. An extension of the recent focus on ending Anti-Asian violence, the Summit is scheduled for May 26.
As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month nears its end, the free virtual summit will feature Shaio as well as API creatives and leaders Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) Christina Kim (Kung Fu), Film scholar and filmmaker Celine Parreñas Shiizu, Kelly Hu (Finding ‘Ohana, The Scorpion King). Benny Luo, Founder, NextShark; Sewell Chang, editorial page editor Los Angeles Times, CAPE’s Co-Founder Wenda Fong, Executive Director Michelle Sugihara, Senator Mazie Hirono, Congressman Ted Lieu, Rotten Tomatoes Co-Founder Patrick Lee, Echelon Talent Management CEO Andrew Ooi, Marginal Mediaworks Founder/CEO Sanjay Sharma, Audible Head of Content Acquisition and Development Pat Shah, MSNBC’s Richard Lui and IW Group Chairman Bill Imada, and Political Advisor Bill Wong.
The summit will focus on the need and method for storytelling and depiction on an unprecedented scale to ensure that Asians are no longer trivialized, exoticized, excluded or stereotyped in the fashion that they have been in the past 150 years in global entertainment. The series of panels and fireside chats are all open to the public. The full schedule is available at aapisummit.com.