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An inside look at Monkey Prince #1, the mash-up of Chinese mythology and classic DC superheroics

Monkey Prince #1 variant cover
Monkey Prince #1 variant cover (Image credit: Zu Orzu (DC))

One of DC's newest heroes, Monkey Prince, will get his own starring title kicking off on February 1, just in time to celebrate Lunar New Year, but too late apparently to stay off Batman's radar from the looks of a preview from inside the first issue.

Monkey Prince #1 cover (Image credit: DC)

The 12-issue limited series focuses on the eponymous Monkey Prince, AKA Marcus Sun, a shapeshifting hero with connections to characters from the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West, who debuted in the DC Universe back in May 2021's DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #1 anthology one-shot.

In fact, Marcus Sun is the son of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King and hero of the story Journey to the West. Oddly enough, despite being a hero himself, Marcus was raised by two villainous henchmen of the evil Doctor Sivana, and so carries some prejudice against the concept of 'superheroes' in the DC Universe.

Monkey Prince will be written by Gene Luen Yang 楊謹倫 with art from penciler/inker Bernard Chang 張伯納, colorist Sebastian Cheng 鍾偉傑, and edited by DC's Jessica Chen 陳穎珊. 

"There's a lot of overlap between the Monkey King and the American superhero genre," Yang says about the book. "They both are heroes, they're battling for the fate of the world, they're both dressed up in fancy, colorful costumes, and they both have these fantastical, superhuman powers. It felt good to bridge that gap between those two loves - American superheroes and the legend of the Monkey King."

Check out a preview of the debut issue:

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Monkey Prince #1

(Image credit: DC)
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Monkey Prince #1

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Monkey Prince #1

(Image credit: DC)

Chang has drawn the primary cover to Monkey Prince #1, with variant covers planned by Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau, Anand Radhakrishnan, Dustin Nguyen, Zao Dao, and Zu Orzu (a Things from Another World exclusive). Check out all of the variant covers revealed thusfar here:

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Monkey Prince #1 cover

(Image credit: DC)

Monkey Prince #1 variant covers

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Monkey Prince #1 cover

(Image credit: DC)
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Monkey Prince #1 cover

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Monkey Prince #1 cover

(Image credit: DC)
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Monkey Prince #1 variant cover

(Image credit: Zu Orzu (DC))

DC is also stepping up to celebrate the Lunar New Year with a special gold-trimmed lucky red envelope edition of Monkey Prince #1, which will be inserted into custom-printed Lunar New Year envelopes and distributed for sale as variant covers. DC has shared with us what these envelopes will look like.

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Monkey Prince #1

(Image credit: DC)
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Monkey Prince #1 red envelope

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Monkey Prince #1

(Image credit: DC)

"Chúc mừng năm mới!" the envelope's back inscription reads. "Happy Lunar New Year! We hope 2022 will bring you peace, prosperity, and good fortune! From your friends at DC Comics"

'Chúc mừng năm mới' is Vietnamese for 'Happy new year,' and used frequently in celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Red envelopes (known as 紅包, hóngbāo) are a traditional gift given (and received) every Lunar New Year. Customarily a gift (or just plain cash) is inside the envelope, but for many, the importance is in the envelope itself - as red symbolizes prosperity and good luck in Chinese and other East Asian cultures. 

The early adventures of Monkey Prince reveal he hates superheroes - read all about it

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)