A little over two weeks ago, I had the honor of leading a comics workshop with my SIUniverse partner Jerry Ma at the world renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Part of their annual Lunar New Year festival, Jerry and I helped small children and their families use inspiration from the museum’s rooms of Asian art to create their own superhero characters.
It has not been a great couple of weeks (years?) on the DC Films front.
After Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad failed to live up to most people’s expectations last summer, Warner Brothers looked like it was starting to right the DCEU ship. Triumphant teasers for Wonder Woman and Justice League made DC the talk of San Diego, and fans were stoked for directors like James Wan, Rick Famuyiwa, and Ben Affleck to lend their visions to DC supeheroes. Well, less than a year later, 60% of those directors have been dropped and now, Ben (maybe?) doesn’t even want to be Batman anymore. And in the most WTF move yet, Warner has approached an actual misogynst, anti-semitic racist to helm a movie with the initials S.S.!
But, taking a page from Vulture’s always awesome
A few weeks back, we posted about Greg Pak teasing the cover of Totally Awesome Hulk #15, in which Amadeus Cho — aka The Hulk — was joined by Ms. Marvel, Shang Chi, and Silk. Never before had so many Asian American superheroes been gathered on the cover of a mainstream comic book. I recently had a chance to preview the issue — which hits stands this Wednesday, January 25 — and I was actually moved to tears at how resonant it was to see these characters embody being unapologetically Asian American.
For the last eight years, my president was Black. More than that, he was a Black Nerd, a Nerd of Color, the Head Nerd in Charge. After today, we aren’t going to see the likes of someone sit in the Oval Office as intelligent or intellectually curious as Barack Obama. His record in office speaks for itself. Because of President Obama’s leadership, 20 million more Americans have health insurance, marriage equality is the law of the land, and nerds of color were finally represented in the White House.
Last week, Abrams Books finally released the highly anticipated graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic novel, Kindred. Created by our friends John Jennings and Damian Duffy — collectively known as J2D2, the book has already shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover graphic novels! To celebrate this momentous occasion, revisit my conversation with them recorded last summer during San Diego Comic-Con. The conversation is also available via podcast from Soundcloud (embedded below). Please remember to subscribe to Hard NOC Life on YouTube or iTunes and leave us a rating and review so folks can find us there! And don’t forget to get your own copy of Kindred.
President-elect Donald Trump has decided to go after Civil Rights movement icon — and national hero — Congressman John Lewis. The attack comes after Rep. Lewis told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he didn’t view Trump as a legitimate president due to Russia’s interference with the 2016 election. Lewis isn’t wrong, and it is more than hypocritical for the PEOTUS to lash out at people questioning his legitimacy since that’s what he has done to President Obama for the last five years. In the meantime, Twitter has clapped back at Trump, and many of Lewis’ colleagues in congress have pledged to boycott the inauguration. We want to help out by pointing our readers to Lewis’ award-winning graphic memoir trilogy, March. Let’s all pitch in to make his books #1 bestsellers on Amazon this Martin Luther King Day weekend.
When it’s all said and done, 2016 will be long remembered as the year everything (including American democracy) went to hell. Pop culture did not go unscathed either. We said goodbye to all of our heroes: Prince, Bowie, Ali, Phife, Kanye… and hello to the worst the internet could offer. From misogynist Ghostbusters haters to problematic faves, it was the year the ugly side of internet culture went mainstream. I mean, we literally elected an internet troll the leader of the free world.
Still, the geekosystem was able to produce a few silver linings in the massive dark cloud that was the last 12 months. Here are ten… or so.
Originally published at NBC Asian America
I am an avid toy collector, and every few years I like to take stock of the number of action figures that feature Asian American and Pacific Islander characters. When I started doing this in 2009, it was difficult coming up with enough figures to fill out a Top Five list. Fortunately, it has become much easier to populate these lists since AAPI visibility in pop culture has dramatically increased in the intervening years. In fact, I actually had a difficult time winnowing down this year’s list since there are so many AAPI action figures from which to choose! Moreover, nearly every slot on the list is populated by female characters, which hopefully puts to rest the fallacy that girls don’t buy action figures.
Originally posted at CAAMedia
When it’s all said and done, 2016 may go down as the year Hollywood finally recognized Asian Americans. At least that’s what actor Osric Chau hopes. The Canadian-born actor — best known to fans as Kevin Tran on The CW’s Supernatural and now as one of the stars of BBC America’s newest hit, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency — recently returned from Lisbon, Portugal where he was speaking on diversity in media as a part of Web Summit, one of the largest tech-focused conferences in the world.
In an environment dominated by innovation and technology, Chau realized society at large had to take on similar thinking. “We’re surrounded by thousands of companies that are really pushing our society forward and we have to do the same thing with tolerance,” Chau said. “It’s not just about ‘tolerating’ one another anymore; it’s about accepting people, making diversity a normal thing.”
Like the rest of the nation, I woke up this morning to an unfathomable reality. Despite our best efforts, the country has chosen hate and division. Those dystopian science-fiction novels don’t feel so far off anymore. Still, we at The Nerds of Color must soldier on. I’m doing that by participating in CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian’s pop-up Culture Lab on imagined futures this weekend in New York City. Though, to be honest, I’m having a difficult time imagining the present, much the less the future.