Shanghai is a place, but it is so much more to English speakers.
If you know its secret, a single word can tell a story.
Plenty of words and phrases have stories that are dry and esoteric, lifetimes of functional labor as articles and important cogs in the gears of language. Others contain multitudes, words like “Stepford,” ”flotsam and jetsam,” and “shanghai.”
Shanghai is a place, but it is so much more to English speakers. So, when you see the first issue of “Shanghai Red” in your comic shop, if you know the secret history of the word, you will know just what you are getting into.
For those who don’t, let me fill you in. In the late 1800s the need for men to fill ship crews on vessels sailing from England and on the American West Coast was fast outpacing the number of willing applicants. To address this, ships employed men known as crimps to kidnap — usually after drugging their targets — and forcing them onto ships bound for the open seas.
It is suspected that the term “shanghaiing” came about because so many of these ships were bound for Shanghai or China in general.
The lives of these men were brutal as they were forced into servitude aboard dangerous ships they never intended to serve upon when they were torn from their homes and families. The practice endured well into the 20th century, and it took almost 50 years of legal work to make it illegal in the first place. That doesn’t mean the men who were forced into this life didn’t sometimes exact a justice of their own, and Joshua Hixson and Christopher Sebela have just such a story to tell in “Shanghai Red.”
Opening the first issue plunges readers into the world of shanghaiing sailors and crimping from …read more
Source:: New Jersey Real -Time Entertainment