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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! Continue reading “The Official NOC #CrossLines Reading List”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
Miss Saigon is a blockbuster musical in which a virginal underage prostitute falls in love with a white G.I., then shoots herself in the stomach so she can sing one last song with him with the hope that the white man will take their biracial child away from all the evil Vietnamese people to a better life in America. Jeff Yang challenged me to write a Zombie imagining of the characters 20 years after the end of the musical, wherein the Vietnamese woman, Kim, comes back as a zombie — and this short story is what I came up with.
Since The Nerds of Color is not the only awesome thing on the internet, we spent the weekend scouring the web for some of the most NOC-relevant links around. Here are five stories that have gotten the most buzz around the N.O.C. office.
“Yes, of course! I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, and I didn’t think anything of it. I love ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I love ‘Harry Potter’ — I love ‘Star Wars’! I hopped on the ‘Star Trek’ bandwagon late in life, I admit, with the new movies, but I loved them as well. I love all that stuff, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I want people to know: It’s okay to be a nerd!”
Admit it, y’all just fell in love again.
Jeff also gives us a little “Must Click” love at the bottom of the column. Thanks, Jeff!