#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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#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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#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.

What this meant is that I’d had some familiarity with celebrity. Not with myself, mind, but, like most Angelenos, I’d run into famous people while out and about. My most hilarious sighting being Los Angeles Laker Luke Walton at a local Target, while I was shopping for a few things with my mother. My mom was incredibly upset that I did not tell her that the tall and maddeningly handsome Walton had just waltzed right by her with the grace of a ballerina (Walton did have decent footwork) and the obviousness of a panzer tank.

Needless to say, my life here should have prepared me for meeting Lewis Tan. It, however, did not.

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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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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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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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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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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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