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.

Continue reading “AAPI Women are Awesome Action Figures”

Nothing’s Wrong with Pink and Purple Bricks: A Defense of LEGO Friends

A few months back, an imgur post about a girl who turned her LEGO Friends juice bar Christmas present into a giant mecha went viral. And the internet cheered. Stupid gendered-girl LEGOs get turned into awesome robot, was the typical response I saw tossed around.

And while the robot was indeed awesome, I couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy about all of the ridicule that was being hurled at the original LEGO set. You see, my own daughter also received a similar playset for Christmas. Should she be ashamed that she wanted (and actually liked) to build the “boring” girly thing instead of the “awesome” robot thing?

Continue reading “Nothing’s Wrong with Pink and Purple Bricks: A Defense of LEGO Friends”

Ghostbusters is Back and Ready to Believe You

It’s no secret that we’re huge Ghostbusters fans here at the N.O.C. It’s hard to believe that it’s been three decades since the movie first hit theaters. And to celebrate the occasion — and allow the kids who never got the chance to experience ghostbusting on the big screen, Sony Pictures is re-releasing the film in over 700 theaters across the country.

So before you fire up the Ecto-1 and head to your closest multiplex, here are some places to visit online to get you pumped for the flick.

Continue reading Ghostbusters is Back and Ready to Believe You”

Happy Batman Day

Today, comic shops and bookstores around the country are  celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. Though Detective Comics #27 was originally published in May of 1939, the folks at Warner Brothers and DC Comics have deemed July 23 as Batman Day. I guess since Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies always opened around this time, mid-July makes sense to officially honor the Dark Knight.

As you know, we here at The Nerds of Color are pretty involved Batfans. Hell, we just dedicated a whole week to the character at the end of June! If you want to browse through our coverage of the Caped Crusader, check out the Batman tag here.

Since Batman Day is also coinciding with San Diego Comic-Con this week, you can probably expect a bunch of news concerning our favorite superhero. In the meantime, check out some of the cool Bat stuff that’s already on the internet right now!

Continue reading “Happy Batman Day”

The LEGO Movie’s Lessons for Raising NOCs-In-Training

I took my 9- and 5-year-old daughters to see The LEGO Movie on the second day it was out, and all three of us loved it. It is a true family film, one that can be enjoyed by different age groups at different levels — kids will love the humor, the action, that song they won’t stop singing once they get home, and, hey, it’s LEGO, while their parents will appreciate all the references to the kits and playsets of their childhoods, the inside jokes (ones that stick in my mind include the bearded fantasy wizard confusion, needy Green Lantern, Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson playing parodies of their archetypal screen personas, and, of course, Batman and his song), and the amazingly detailed art and animation. It is also more subversive and heartwarming than you’d expect an hour-and-a-half-long corporate toy commercial could ever be.

Continue reading The LEGO Movie’s Lessons for Raising NOCs-In-Training”

Watching LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload

If you walk into our house, then head up the stairs, take a right at the top and walk through the door, you will find yourself in the lair of our #NOCsintraining (aka my girls’ room). From a quick glance around, you will deduce that there are Star Wars and Avengers bed sheets. Further examination of the room will reveal that LEGOs are also in abundance. And if you inspect their bookshelf, you will find comic books mostly from the Marvel Universe with a focus on the Avengers.

So yes, LEGO and Marvel nerds, we are. But my girls seem to take most interest in building LEGOs these days. Which I enjoy, too. So it was to our delight when we found out that Marvel and Lego decided to put out a series of, well, Marvel LEGO Super Heroes and titled it Maximum Overload. Since it was a Saturday evening, and it was on Netflix, and I had made popcorn, we watched it.

Continue reading “Watching LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload

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.

Continue reading “Comics are for Children”