Quentin Tarantino’s Bruce Lee Problem

Back in March, when the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s latest — and allegedly penultimate — movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, hit the internet, there was one scene that concerned anyone who wasn’t already a die hard Tarantino stan. In it, Brad Pitt’s character seemingly fights Mike Moh’s Bruce Lee to a standstill. Needless to say, I wasn’t encouraged.

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#AACC2017: Can Pop Culture Save the World?

Recorded live during the Asian American ComiCon Summit on Art, Action, and the Future.

Pop culture is literally the people’s culture. At a time when creative and diverse voices are both under attack, what can pop culture do to make social change?

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The Asian American ComiCon Presents: A Summit on Art, Action & the Future

In 2009, the Asian American ComiCon was held in New York City, bringing together Asian indie and mainstream comics creators for a historic gathering to celebrate the unique and flourishing graphic storytelling of our community. Now, eight years later, AACC is hosting its second event: a Summit on Art, Action and the Future. In a time where diversity and creativity are both under attack, the Summit will feature diverse creators talking about where we’re going next.

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Announcing New Frontiers Anthology Inspired by the Life of George Takei

The team behind the groundbreaking Asian American superhero anthologies Secret Identities and Shattered, in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum, have issued a Call for Submissions for New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei, an original graphic novel anthology that will serve as a companion volume to JANM’s historic exhibition of the same name (running through August 2017), which showcases Takei’s life and the cultural landscapes through which he has traveled. The anthology’s target publication date is July 2017.

Diverse creators with stories to share that speak to the themes and issues Takei has confronted in his life are encouraged to pitch them at the Submissions Form located at here before the pitch deadline of April 24, 2017. Relevant issues include, but are not limited to: unlawful incarceration, status as an “illegal” alien and the push for LGBTQ equality and civil rights for all, yellowface, whitewashing, media stereotypes, and the rise of digital culture and social media.

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‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is Exactly the Movie We Needed

Leaving the theater for Crazy Rich Asians, I couldn’t help but feel like all the articles and podcasts and panel discussions had somehow culminated in this one movie. I feel like I’ve been screaming from the rooftops for something just like this. Why did it have to take 25 years for this kind of major studio-backed all-Asian movie? In absolute truth, it’s not just good for an “Asian” film. It’s just plain good. And it is exactly what we needed.

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Casting Call Seeks Asian Teen for Titans

by Phil Yu | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

Want to play a superhero on TV? Note: you might have to be green. And I’m not talking about the Hulk.

Casting directors are currently searching high and low for an Asian teen to star in Titans, a live-action adaptation of DC Comics’ Teen Titans from Warner Bros. Television/DC Entertainment.

The open casting call from Rapaport/Baldasare Casting seeks a 13 to 15 year old Asian male to play the series regular role of “Jax,” who is described as “funny, self-deprecating and charming.”

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#AACC2017 and Failing to Get a Photo with Lewis Tan

To get to my failure, I should start with a childhood that took place in Los Angeles. Hawthorne, California is a small community situated in Southwest Los Angeles. With Inglewood to the north, Gardena to the east, Torrance to the south, and the glamorous beach communities to the west, it was basically the edge of working class/POC Los Angeles butting up against the elite.

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Michelle Yeoh is the Starship Captain We’ve Been Waiting For

by Phil Yu | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

Hell yes. Fellow Trekkies, rejoice. The first-look trailer for the new CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has dropped, and the latest foray into the final frontier looks pretty damn awesome, not least because of one badass looking starship captain in the form of one Michelle Yeoh. MICHELLE FRICKIN YEOH.

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#AACC2017: #AAIronFist – Bringing an Asian American Hero to Life

Recorded live during the Asian American ComiCon Summit on Art, Action, and the Future.

Marvel’s Iron Fist has generally been seen as a major disappointment — and it could’ve been so much more, if only Marvel and Netflix had embraced a not-so-radical rethinking of their martial artist hero as an Asian American. Some Asian American filmmakers actually brought their reimagined concepts for an Asian American Iron Fist to life, and they’ll share their short videos as part of a conversation with the creator of the #AAIRONFIST hashtag.

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Gold Open Celebrates API in Film with Inaugural Gold List

Gold Open, the Gold House-movement to push box office success for multicultural films, and CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) have launched their own list honoring the most outstanding Asian and Pacific Islander achievements in film called the Gold List.

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The Official NOC #CrossLines Reading List

This past weekend in Washington DC, the Smithsonian’s historic Arts & Industries building was home to the most important gathering of artists you have ever seen. The CrossLines pop-up culture lab on intersectionality brought together over 40 artists and scholars to explore race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability, etc.

I was fortunate enough to be invited and helped organize a Reading Lounge and live podcasts — while artist Matt Huynh painted a mural in real time the entire weekend. One of the questions I got asked the most was about the books we included, so after the jump you can find a complete list of books we had in the Lounge!
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Fresh Off the Boat by Artist Krishna Sadasivam

If you were one of the 14 million people that caught either of Wednesday night’s Fresh Off the Boat debut episodes, you know that the show — loosely based on the Eddie Huang memoir of the same name — has gotten off to a promising start. Let’s hope the other networks take notice and start truly broadcasting in color!

Now the show is finally out there for the world to see, we wrap up our special week-long tribute to Fresh Off the Boat  with this piece of star Hudson Yang as Eddie by PC Weenies creator and SIUniverse alum Krishna Sadasivam. Speaking of Hudson, be sure to read this heartfelt piece by his dad — and friend of the blog — Jeff Yang in the L.A. Times.

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R.I.P. Francis Tsai

Last night, the SIUniverse family was rocked when we learned we had lost one of our own. Francis Tsai, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010, passed away after a long battle with the disease — just one week after celebrating his 46th birthday. In 2009, Francis became part of the SIUniverse by illustrating the story “Taking Back Troy” in the first Secret Identities volume. Though ALS slowly took away his ability to draw with his hands, he never let the disease stop him from creating art. First, he trained himself to draw using his feet, and when that was taken from him, he pioneered special technology using his eyes to create art.

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Gold House Announces Annual A100 List of Influential Asians in American Culture

Just in time for AAPI Heritage Month, a collective of AAPI creatives and leaders, including  Bing Chen who I interviewed on the Southern Fried Asian podcast last year, known as Gold House have announced their second ever list of influential Asian and Asian American talent.

From actors and athletes to CEOs and political leaders, the A100 list demonstrates the role of the AAPI community in American society. Click here to check out the full list of 2019 honorees.

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Hooked on the Guardians of the Galaxy

The Nerds can’t stop talking about Guardians of the Galaxy! For this week’s Hard N.O.C. Life, the panel tackles the phenomenon that is Marvel Studios’ latest blockbuster success and what that means for the Distinguished Competition across the street.

Joining Keith on the panel are Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang (@originalspin), and former Jeopardy  champ Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) along with regular panelists N’Jaila Rhee (@blasianbytch) and Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria (@rscpokenword).

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Fresh Off the Boat: Television Karma

by Jeff Yang | Originally posted at Quartz

In 1994, exactly 20 years ago, ABC decided to pick up the pilot for comedian Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl, making it the first sitcom to put an Asian American family on network prime-time TV. The show was slammed by the press and rapidly faded in the ratings; after airing just 19 episodes, the decision was made to cancel it. In her book, Cho cited bad reviews from Asian American cultural critics as being a key reason for ABC’s lack of faith in the show, calling out one in particular — me.

Two decades have gone by, and no network has aired another Asian American family sitcom since. But this weekend, ironically, ABC officially picked up Fresh Off the Boat — a sitcom based on celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s New York Times bestselling memoir of growing up with his two brothers and immigrant parents as a hip-hop-loving outsider in suburban Orlando, Florida. Playing little Eddie: My son, Hudson Yang.

The irony — or is it karma? — in the situation led me and my friend, illustrator Louie Chin, to collaborate on this comic.

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Is AMC Finally Embracing Diversity This Fall?

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since Comic-Con started, but here we are in that post-Con daze, and I’m still recovering. While I might need some more time before getting back into regularly scheduled posting, I didn’t want to leave before I comment on a couple of the trailers that came out of SDCC. No, not this one or that one. Instead, I want to focus on the early looks that came out of the AMC presentations and how the network is kicking off the post-Don Draper era by seemingly embracing diversity in the casts of its newest shows.

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Marvels & Monsters: Yo, Is This Racist?

It’s an age-old question: does popular culture reflect mainstream perceptions, or is the mainstream influenced by the images it sees in popular culture? Jeff Yang, of Secret Identities and the Wall Street Journal, examines this question in the exhibit, Marvels & Monsters, now showing at the Japanese American National Museum.

Jeff
Exhibit curator Jeff Yang

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Remembering Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne McDuffie is one of the most important figures in the history of the comic book industry. Perhaps that’s hyperbole, but I don’t think so. I know that his work has left an indelible mark on me, and the world is a lesser place without him in it.

I didn’t know Dwayne McDuffie personally. I only met him once. Briefly. It was in San Diego in 2009. The fellas (Jerry Ma, Jeff Yang, Parry Shen) and I were at Comic-Con to promote Secret Identities. Dwayne was on a panel moderated by Jeff, and the five of us were able to chat for a bit afterwards.

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Secret Identities Revealed

Six years ago this month, five people gathered in a Brooklyn living room to pore through stacks of manuscripts and art portfolios in order to decide on what to include in a little project that would eventually go on to be known as Secret Identities.

To commemorate the occasion, Keith (@the_real_chow) welcomes his SIUniverse partners Jeff Yang (@originalspin), Jerry Ma (@epicprops), Jef Castro (@pointnquestion) — and a special cameo appearance by Parry Shen (@parryshen) — to reminisce about Secret Identities and Shattered

Look for SIUniverse to represent on both coasts next week as Keith and Jerry will be holding it down at New York Comic-Con (BOOTH 2010!) and Jeff will be in Los Angeles for the opening of Marvels and Monsters at the Japanese American National Museum.

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From Invisible to Inevitable: Why We Need Diverse Books

by Gene Yang

[Ed. note: Over the weekend, Gene delivered the following speech at the National Book Festival gala in Washington, DC.]

I’m a comic-book guy, so tonight I’d like to talk about another comic-book guy. Dwayne McDuffie was one of my favorite writers. When I was growing up, he was one of the few African Americans working in American comics. Dwayne worked primarily within the superhero genre. He got his start at Marvel Comics but eventually worked for almost every comic book publisher out there. He even branched out into television and wrote for popular cartoon series like Justice League and Ben 10.

Dwayne McDuffie is no longer with us, unfortunately. He passed away in 2011, at the age of 49. But within comics, his influence is still deeply felt.

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First Impressions: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

If you caught our Fall TV episode of “Hard NOC Life,” then you know how excited the Nerds are for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — which makes its premiere on ABC tonight at 8pm ET. (Coincidentally, today marks the blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 from Disney as well. Corporate synergy at its finest, folks!)

Fortunately, our friend — and honorary Nerd of Color — Jeff Yang scored himself a screener of tonight’s pilot episode and wanted to share his first impressions of the show. After the jump, check out his initial thoughts on the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic (Televised?) Universe, also posted at Medium.com.

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Gene Yang & Sonny Liew Preview The Shadow Hero

Later this year, First Second Books will be publishing The Shadow Hero from writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Sonny Liew. Back in November, we were fortunate enough to have Gene on Hard N.O.C. Life where he talked a bit about working with Sonny and their research into the Asian American origins of a forgotten Golden Age hero named the Green Turtle.

Though the book is still forthcoming, Gene and Sonny actually published a series of Shadow Hero strips in Shattered, the anthology of Asian American comics I co-edited with Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, and Jerry Ma in 2012. For the first time, however, Gene and Sonny are unveiling these strips in full color over at Tor.com (they were originally published in black & white in Shattered).

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