Toxic Fandom

Shout out to Brandon Easton (Agent Carter TV series, M.A.S.K.,Vampire Hunter D comics, and the Brave New Souls documentary) for broaching this topic on his Facebook wall.

We are living in a truly golden age of nerdom. There are several superhero films out each year — the amount of films increase each subsequent year; damn near every night of the week you can watch a superhero, supernatural, paranormal, or spy-fi program, comics are everywhere, graphic novels are taught in the academy — our once exclusive (and highly ridiculed) club is, gasp, mainstream. Going mainstream comes with its own set of problems. But I want to focus on what I feel is the primary problem of this golden age: Toxic Fandom. Continue reading “Toxic Fandom”

SIUniverse Celebrates Lunar New Year at The Met in NYC

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.

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Battle Angel Alita Lead Role Once Again Devoid of Asian American Prospects

In 2015, Nerdist announced that the live-action adaptation of the famed Japanese anime had been revived by directors James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. Battle Angel Alita, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action manga/anime written by Yukito Kishiro, is set in the 26th century and follows the female cyborg Alita, as she trains to become the world’s most deadly assassin. The latest report from the Robert Rodriquez/Jame Cameron production reveals that the filmmakers have their top three actresses for the lead role: Maika Monroe, Zendaya (who is the front runner), and Rosa Salazar. In other words: more bad news for Asian American actresses.

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A Comic Fueled Thought Experiment

For as long as I can remember, one description of comics has prevailed: comic books are adolescent white boy power fantasies. If you look at the majority of the offerings, it would be kind of difficult to dispute this. Go to any comic shop and you will see a crowd of covers presenting overly muscled white men and impossibly voluptuous white women competently combating some evil, some threat that is just as anatomically disproportionate as the hero/ines are.

Comics, at first glance, are filtered through a firmly and profoundly white and male point of view. But this is a cursory view. If you dig, research, or explore beyond the DC/Marvel axis, this notion begins to lose its stickiness.

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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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Conception: Origins of a Nerd of Color

The gun fired and we were off to the races. I was one of the first to dive in the water without a moment’s hesitation; it was as if Denzel trained me himself. It was the early-mid 80s so “Eye of the Tiger” was quite possibly in rotation on the radio as I stroked ahead of the pack, feeling fresh and new, keeping my eyes on the arrows directing our path.

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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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Photo: Nick Grazin

Tunde Adebimpe Talks New Projects, Comics, and TV on the Radio

Originally posted on Hi Wildflower

Calling TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe a vocalist is a good start. Turns out, he’s a bona fide polymath. Actor, director, artist behind some snazzy comics are a few of the things he does as unnervingly as he sings. His voice weaves in and out of lush, lovelorn tunes with a veracity rare among chanteurs in this age. We ran into each other in Williamsburg on a day too cold for words. He graced us with an interview and amazing drawings that reveal his radiant imagination.

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It’s a Draw with Natalie Kim and Dean Haspiel

How do the best comedians and cartoonists do what they do? Check out our new twice-weekly collaboration with Natalie Kim to find out!

Today the Emmy award winning cartoonist Dean Haspiel joins Natalie to draw the TWO WORD SUGGESTION: PINEAPPLE MONSTER.

Check it out after the jump!

Continue reading It’s a Draw with Natalie Kim and Dean Haspiel”

Welcome to the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan

MsMarvel_Metamorphosis_HiWildflower The 16-year-old superhero has hit #1 on the digital comics charts, proving that readers around the globe want to see comic book heroes reflect the world we live in. We begin with Kamala’s origin story, Metamorphosis, the first of five tales of her superhero beginnings.

(BTW — hard copies are dope, but digital joints are $2.99! And the artwork by Adrian Alphona and coloring by Ian Herring are top notch, and it’s nice to see Marvel has gone all out to honor writer G. Willow Wilson’s vision for the series.)

The opening scene is one that’s close to my heart. We’re at a deli in Jersey City, where Kamala and her friend, the proud, beautiful Nakia, stop by their friend Bruno’s shift to smell the forbidden BLTs just within Kamala’s reach. I remember staring at pepperoni pizzas as a kid and being jealous as hell of my pork eater friends. And, any vegetarian will tell you — often the thing that breaks ’em down is bacon.

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Comics are for Children

ContagionI don’t remember the wonder anymore.

As a child, I did not collect comics weekly. At ten, I lacked the funds and access to a friendly neighborhood comic book shop. Travel to the closest store required leaving Black suburban safety, crossing highways and railroad tracks, and strolling through an alien White community three miles away to feed a Cable and Nightwing habit. No. Besides, graphic novels offered complete story arcs, so to read new comics I would cajole my mother into forking over twenty dollars American (not including sales tax) each time I wished to depart Waldenbooks in Chesapeake Square Mall with the Spider-Man Clone Saga, or Batman: Contagion.

I loved those comics. Time-travel maxiseries like 1991’s Time and Time Again hurled Superman though linear time, stretching the limits of invulnerability and relativity, while Elseworlds like Superman: Speeding Bullets questioned our familiarity with the World’s Finest origins by neatly merging their narratives. (That’s right: the Waynes find the rocket from Krypton, but Joe Chill still finds them. What’s not to like?) I’d spend long hours on a unrolled forest green foam mat in my backyard, broiling under unrepentant sun, inhaling freshly cut grass, reading voraciously. Dogs barked, mosquitoes feasted, friends and foes alike traded concussions on manicured gridirons, and a stack of dog-eared and comfortable trade paperbacks proved my only companions.

I retain those memories, but lost the passion. Details, not desire. I don’t read superheroes that way anymore. When you follow characters as a child, immaturity confers humanity. Reality and fiction did not blur in my mind; no manner of computer-aided pencils and India ink could make Wally West outrace Carl Lewis. But there was an innocence when I was young! Back then, comic characters shouted and ran and jumped and fought, they foiled the dastardly and protected the innocent, they managed corporations and wrote opinion columns and discovered unknown elements – they stole the texture of life, if not it’s flavor. They did things! Childhood aches – we constantly reach for increased freedom as children, without the patience to care about dangers we can’t fathom. For superheroes, danger is not relevant. Save the day, win the girl, defeat Darkseid – that matters.

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A Few Thoughts on Saga

If you aren’t already reading Saga there are a few things that I can assume about you without ever having to meet you.

1. You just straight up aren’t a comics person, or, if you are, you aren’t a good comics person. Or a good person. Or possibly even a person at all.

2. You’re sick of hearing about how good Saga is from all your friends who are comics people and how much you really need to pick up the first trade because it’s only $9.99 for six issues, and no you can’t borrow my copy because I’ll never get it back, come on, you know how you are.

3. You have some weird guilt thing about enjoyment, probably having to do with your deeply religious upbringing.

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Jim Gordon, DC’s Next Multimedia Star

Yesterday, FOX TV announced it is developing a new DC Comics-based drama for the 2014-2015 television season. Called Gotham, the show, created by The Mentalist‘s Bruno Heller, will focus on the exploits of Detective James Gordon and his early days in the Gotham City Police Department. Since this is an origin story for Gordon, Batman and his Rogues Gallery will not feature into it — though the announcement mentions Gotham’s colorful villains, I’m not sure how you include them if this is a pre-Batman time period. While I’m always down for more TV shows based on comics, I’m actually not sure what to think about this.

At least the show already has a theme song:

I’ve long been a proponent for a television series based on one of my favorite Batman books of all time, Gotham Central. The book reads like a crime procedural and spotlights a diverse cast of characters, including Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen, Maggie Sawyer, and Josie Mac. Unfortunately, the book’s initial run did not sell very well — probably because Commissioner Gordon and Batman, though their presence is felt throughout, were not the focus of the book — and the series ended after 40 issues. And though there were rumors of a potential Gotham Central television show in the early 2000s, it never materialized. Silver lining? We got Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy instead. So the idea of a show based on the Gotham police department isn’t a new one. How they shoehorn Jim Gordon’s origin into this remains to be seen.

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Wednesday Comics: The Art of Juan Ortiz

768577Since it’s Star Trek Week, there are a lot of Trek comics that I could have discussed for the Wednesday Comics column. From the original issues by Gold Key and Marvel in the 60s and 70s to the modern era comics published by IDW, the four-color world of comics has been as integral to the Star Trek mythology as the television and film franchises (that said, the comics — and novels — still exist strictly outside of “canon”). But rather than writing about that, I’d rather you head over to Comics Alliance and read Kevin Church‘s excellent rundown of every single Trek comic era since 1967.

Instead, I want to talk a little bit about a book that comes out today and should be on the bookshelves of every Trekkie/er reading this blog right now: Titan Books’ hardcover of Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz.

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