Orange is the New Black: Racebending Redheads

The ever-expanding DC Universe on The CW just got a little bigger. Relative newcomer Ciara Renee has been cast as Kendra Saunders, aka Hawkgirl, in the still-unnamed Flarrow spinoff that will also star Brandon Routh and Caity Lotz from Arrow and Victor Garber and Wentworth Miller from The Flash.

What’s unmistakable about this casting, though, is the fact that Hollywood producers have once again gone “ethnic” when casting a traditionally redheaded character from the comics. So I have to ask, has the pendulum swung too far? Is this too much of a good thing?

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An Interview with RUNLOVEKILL Writer Jonathan Tsuei

Jonathan Tsuei and artist Eric Canete will soon be gracing the nerd world with their new comic from Image, RUNLOVEKILL. I had the honor of reading the first issue and can report that it is an innovative, futuristic, action packed story with some elements that I would dare to compare with Aeon Flux.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to writer Jonathan Tsuei about the comic, character development, and his future projects.

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The Show of Shows: Being at Wrestlemania 31

The Granddaddy of them all. Wrestlemania.

I’ll start this off by stating how special this year’s ‘Mania was for me, mainly because my favorite wrestler ever, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, had such a huge imprint on the event.

Wrestlemania IV in 1988 took place in Atlantic City, NJ, not even 90 minutes from my childhood home in Philadelphia. We had plans to attend, but tickets were sold out, so the Spectrum — the local basketball stadium — had decided to open the stadium up and broadcast Wrestlemania on the JumboTron for a small fee. I was so excited, I had to go. My mother agreed and took my cousin Howie and me to South Philly for my first Wrestlemania moment. I bought a Macho Man poster, a foam finger, and a program.

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Interstellar: Lost in Space

Nolan had me for a moment, I was deep in space with his crew as they went through a worm hole; into the next galaxy for our new earth. After the film’s release, following tradition in the wake of a Nolan film; debates began. Physicists were referenced and America’s favorite smarty-arty Neil De Grasse Tyson weighed in. I had no problem with any of the alleged technical flaws of the film, I was more concerned with the brother. Matthew whats-his-name and the other Caucasoids left him in space for 23 years?

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What’s the Deal with the POC Characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

In a week where the Deadline Hollywood website shot itself in the foot for asking us to consider the poor white actors being denied work due to the current spate of “ethnic casting” for TV pilots and series, the ever-ongoing fight of POC actors to get more than table scraps is never far from mind. Despite the Bat Signal thrown up by Deadline to save whiteness in Hollywood, the fact remains that productions still routinely limit or shut out entirely actors of color from starring roles.

On Twitter this weekend the thread #whedonandrace critiqued Joss Whedon’s problematic depictions of black and other POC characters in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This discussion has been ongoing among fans of color since Buffy and Whedon became a name; it just happened that this time it spawned a hashtag. Soon the thread became a general critique of his handling of race, encompassing Whedon’s other TV series as well as his films, including the series he co-created with Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon for Marvel Studios,  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., at first glance, is diverse in its casting (at least of its secondary recurring cast members and guest stars; its regulars are largely white), the series reveals an unsettling pattern of how these characters of color are depicted.

Simply put, what’s the deal with POC (mainly black) characters being killed, maimed, or evil on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

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My Answers to an Oft Asked Question

I have been asked some variation of the following question more times than I can count: “Which comics or graphic novels would you recommend that are by people of color, or address people of color in a holistic way, and also books for people who may not ever read a comic or graphic novel?” This is a very hard question as there is just so much out there that is great. There are books that I have taught in my classes that are neck and neck with the books I’ve bought as gifts for people who I am trying to convert to our four-color ways. While the below list is in no way comprehensive, they are my go-to books for whenever I’m asked the question. Please feel free to add your own picks.

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A Ghost Among Zombies: The Curious Omission of Glenn of The Walking Dead

Years ago, before the TV show existed, a fellow Asian American comic nerd suggested I check out this series called The Walking Dead. I read through the first trade paperbacks and have kept reading, (admittedly begrudgingly the last couple of years) ever since. I was impressed that there was an Asian American male character, Glenn Rhee, a pizza delivery driver and weed dealer who seemed like a good hearted, normal kid.

When the show rolled around, I wasn’t feeling it at first, but I did like the actor they selected for Glenn, Steve Yeun. Of course, anyone paying attention to the show knows by now that Glenn is a fan favorite regardless of race and that the actor, Steve Yeun, is considered a hottie. Those of us Asian Americans on pop culture watch, of course, also appreciate the added layers: Asian American men are seldom portrayed as likeable, desirable guys in Western pop culture.

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Art Imitates Life: The Powerful Message of V for Vendetta

This month makes nine years since the release of the V for Vendetta film directed by James McTeigue, and, 27 years since the graphic novel was released by DC Comics in 1988. This November will also mark the 410th anniversary of Guy Fawkes Night in Great Britain. I thought I would honor these anniversaries by discussing the reasons for the creation, and powerful message, of V for Vendetta, which has been a staple of freedom and justice in the comic community since its publication.

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An Endorsement of Home: It’s Daughter Approved

In the immortal words of Jim Carrey: “How was your weekend?” For the new DreamWorks film, Home, it was a very good weekend indeed. As of this writing, Home has raked in $54 million and is the #1 movie in the U.S. — despite some naysayerspredictions. This is the studio’s highest non-sequel opening since 2009’s Monsters vs. Aliens. And it is daughter approved:

“Daddy. This movie is official.”

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From The Fast & The Furious To XXX

Like countless others, I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Furious 7.

April just can’t get here fast enough.

It’s hard to believe that this is the same crew from the original The Fast & The Furious movie. While Dom and his team were a band of ride or die street racers and hijackers then, they weren’t exactly trotting the globe, executing billion dollar heists and battling international terrorists.

With each sequel, Dom, his family, as well as the F&F mythos have evolved. Furious 6 and Furious 7 are very reminiscent of Vin Diesel’s 2002 film, XXX.

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