AAPI Women are Awesome Action Figures

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.

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Diversity on Fire: Thoughts on the Return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.

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First Look at Gabriel Luna as Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

One of the most buzzed about pieces of information to emerge out of San Diego Comic-Con over the summer happened when Marvel dropped a surprise teaser that revealed — some might say “confirmed” — that Ghost Rider was making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this fall. And the All-New version of Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, is the one coming to the small screen. Now we know what Gabriel Luna is going to look like on the show.

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Could Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Become TV’s Diversest Show?

Four of these people are gone-zo. Can you guess which?

Okay. Here be much spoilerage.

Now that season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and that’s the last time I type that out) is over, I gots some identity-politickin’, pot-stirrin’, white-people-genocidin’ things to say.

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Art Imitating Life

The following events are true. The following events are not a joke. I really wish the following events were a punchline and not a sad reflection of our culture. You’ll see what I mean.

So in honor of tonight’s season finale of the Coulson/May Power Hour (known to some of you as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), I thought I’d do a special edition Throwback Tuesday.

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Racebending’s Super Asian America Comic-Con Panel

A week ago, I recounted my 48-hour adventure in San Diego. The main reason I was able to return to Comic-Con was an invitation to participate in what was, arguably, the hottest panel not in Hall H. Our friends at Racebending put together a star-studded line up of Asian American comic creators and actors that packed Room 29 of the convention center — bringing some of them to tears — and apparently turned away hundreds of attendees from getting in! Fortunately, the entire panel was caught on video, so if you couldn’t get in, or want to relive the experience, check it out after the jump!

[UPDATE: Those awesome kids at Racebending have not only uploaded the panel video, but they transcribed the whole thing too!]

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How to Comic-Con in Under 48 Hours

If you ever get the chance to attend Comic-Con International in San Diego, you should probably do the complete opposite of what I did. Namely, give yourself some time to travel and eat food. Other than that, my Comic-Con experience this year was probably the best time I’ve had at a convention in a long time! Big thanks to Marissa, Mike, and Dariane of Racebending for inviting me to the Super Asian America panel (more on that later!) and allowing me to come back to SDCC in the first place!

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Join the N.O.C. at Comic-Con in San Diego

Can you feel it in the air? It’s officially Comic-Con week, and we are happy to announce that for the first time ever, the N.O.C. will be in full effect in San Diego! In addition to seeing many of our guest contributors on panels and at booths during the show, we are also co-hosting a meet up with our friends at Black Girl Nerds on Saturday night! So check out everyone’s schedules and we’ll see you at the con!

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These Actresses are Not Asian or Pacific Islanders

Depending on where you stake your claim on the internet, there has been a lot of chatter about a movie that tanked at the box office1 and another one that isn’t due in theaters for at least another year. The thing that links these seemingly disparate films is that both thought casting white women as characters who are written as Asian American and Pacific Islander was a good idea.

Last night, the director of one of those films — Cameron Crowe — finally broke his silence and offered this explanation for why he cast Emma Stone (Amazing Spider-Man) as a character called Allison Ng:

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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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