ART imitates life in a new graphic novel populated entirely by real people, including a starring role for Cowley martial artist Jon Xue Zhang.

The actor and fight choreographer, who has appeared in Hollywood blockbuster Doctor Strange, as well as looked for love on ITV dating show hit Take Me Out, described the experience of posing for the all-Asian comic War Dogs as 'humbling' and 'a dream come true'.

The 29-year-old appears as 'Xue', a MI:5 agent dragged back into his triad past by an old friend, and everything from his fighting style, name and even the way he talks has found its way onto the page.

Dr Zhang said: "It was surreal the first time I saw myself drawn on the page. It's an incredible read though and there are so many subtle references and little things that you only pick up after reading it multiple times."

U.S creator Pete Hernandez III visited Oxford this weekend to finally meet Mr Zhang and one of his British co-stars Feizal Mowlabocus in person.

He said: "It came out of my love of Asian martial arts movies as a kid and British comedy.

The 47-year-old creator added: "I was so nervous before it came out. A Puerto Rican guy from Brooklyn writing about British Asians is a weird sell and I had no idea if there was any interest for it."

"I really wanted to draw Asians properly and as individuals because it's pretty much never done right in comics.

"It also really speeds up the process because you're not having to think about how something would look, you have the reference whenever you need it."

He praised the dedication of the cast to helping him realise his vision, especially Dr Zhang, saying: "Jon was amazing at getting me the images I needed. One time I messaged him asking for a picture of him holding a sword above his head. He was having a party but he still ran upstairs and I had the picture within minutes."

Mr Mowlabocus, 40, an actor who has worked on everything from Kingsman: The Golden Circle to the Jurassic World sequel, said there was a lot of excitement surrounding the project and he felt like 'a kid at Christmas' when he was asked to take part.

He said: "I'm always open to new opportunities in this profession but I never dreamed this would be something I would have the chance to do."

Since it went on sale this summer, however, there have been rave reviews for War Dogs, with many praising the authentically British dialogue.

The first part of the War Dogs story was released as a 70 page digital graphic novel in July, with 'at least' another two parts of the story to come, according to the writer.

He said: "My ultimate goal would be to take the characters up to 2035 and incorporate some sci-fi elements but it would have to be organic."

The graphic novel is available at